When Jay James, 30, stepped into that audition room, he didn’t realize it would change his life forever.
When he was 16 years old, he joined the Navy as a warfare specialist. But one day, while he was training, he injured his knee and had to go on leave to recover. He bought a guitar and sang to help him with his recovery. And he’s been singing since.
He auditioned on The X Factor UK to chase his musical dreams mostly because of his nine-month-old daughter.
During his auditions, his wife, daughter, and family were there to support him with his musical dream.
He received four yeses during his audition and was part of the Over 25 group.
He was mentored by Simon Cowell, along with Stevi Ritchie, Fleur East, Ben Haenow, Helen Fulthorpe, and Lizzy Pattinson.
He was performing well during the Bootcamp, where Simon Cowell swapped a seat for him so he can move on to the Judges’ Houses. He moved on to the live shows, despite the judges’ apprehensions about him, but he persevered. He continued to perform Sigma’s “Changing”, Adele’s “Skyfall”, Leona Lewis’ “Run”, Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, and a mash-up of Alicia Keys’ “Empire State Of Mind” and Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”.
He was eliminated when he received the lowest number of votes during Week 6 of the live shows.
But that is nowhere close to the end of his musical career – in fact, it was only the beginning!
Jay was disappointed but grateful.
“I feel really good. I feel sad, but I feel proud of myself for doing it… I’ve put everything into this competition and I’m really proud [of] that. I’m gutted, obviously, but I think everything happens for a reason and I’ve had an incredible experience,” Jay told axs.tv.
And he only has praises for The X-Factor UK.
“Working with these people has been genuinely amazing, I want to thank everyone,” Jay said.
Even his mentor, Simon Cowell, had great things to say about him and believes he will go a long way in his music career.
“When you get a chance to perform in front of millions of people, you’ve got a head start. People at least know who you are. They’re interested in you. Then, it’s down to what they can deliver themselves. I see good things ahead for [James]. The most important thing is it is a platform, and there is something you can take away from this. That’s a fantastic boost of confidence of someone like Jay.”
And since his exit from the show, things have been looking up for Jay and his musical career.
He now has released his own album and has toured with American R&B singer, Alexander O’Neal, in the UK.
The tour with Alexander O’Neal actually came about through the power of social media. Jay told Distract TV that he put out a tweet that he was releasing his album soon and he was going on tour. He asked on his tweet who his fans would like to see him tour with.
A lot of people tweeted their suggestions but there were a number of people who said one name, Alexander O’Neal.
One day he received a call from O’Neal’s manager and asked if he’d like to play a couple of shows with the R&B singer. One thing led to another and they asked Jay to join and open the UK leg of his tour.
But the best news of all, on July 1, 2019, The Overtones announced that they had a new singer in their group and it was Jay James!
“We met Jay nine years ago when we all performed on the charity record ‘Songs To Save A Life’ for The Samaritans, and our paths continuously crossed over the years,” Darren Everest told Smooth Radio. “When we thought about a new member joining the band he was the first, and only, name that came to mind.”
Jay was ecstatic to finally have gotten the breakthrough he’s worked hard for in his musical career.
“I’ve known the boys and been a fan for many years now and it has always been clear what they were all about – making great, timeless music, putting on incredible shows and enjoying life!” Jay said. “To now join the group is absolute magic and I cannot wait to stand beside Darren, Mike, and Mark in creating some more brilliant nights and continuing to make people smile, sing and dance for many moons to come.”
Before he auditioned on The X-Factor UK, he was so unsure of what to do.
“A few months ago, I was at home with my wife, thinking, ‘What am I going to do? How am I going to do this?’ Jay reflected.
Well, it looks like Jay definitely knows what he’s going to keep doing from now on.
Watch the video below to watch his emotional audition and what the judges had to say about it.
Jay is living proof to never give up on your dreams.
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