James Massone, 24, is an R&B singer/songwriter from Wakefield, Massachusetts, a small suburb located about 12 miles north of Boston. James started out his career singing and performing mostly at high school talent shows, plays, and small concerts. Having a love for singing and performing since as far back as he can remember, he credits his grandfather Geno (89), his father Jimmy, and brother Jason with helping him hone his craft over the years.
When not working for the family’s auto repair business or taking in a game for any one of Boston’s sports teams, he works on his vocals, performances and songwriting. Until just recently, James’ talent was appreciated by a relatively small following of friends and fans through videos uploaded to YouTube. While maintaining a wide range of singing abilities, James has regularly covered his favorite influences such as to name a few.
“The Voice” on NBC
In 2011, James participated in an audition for season two of NBC’s popular hit talent series “The Voice”, in which contestants have a chance to perform a blind audition for four team judges – who just happen to be some of the biggest names in Pop, Hip-hop/R&B, and Country including: Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, and country superstar Blake Shelton. Unlike American Idol, judges on The Voice base their decision on hearing the artist’s voice only. Whether you have what it takes to make it onto one of their 12 member teams and a chance to compete for a recording contract and $100,000.00 depends on if they like what they hear. Contestants lucky enough to have more than one judge turn their chair around for them then have the choice of selecting which team they would join and perhaps the chance of a lifetime to work alongside one of their mentors.
From a field of thousands who tried out, James was selected by NBC’s talent producers to travel from Boston to Los Angeles and perform in the blind audition, which aired on national television in March of this year. Performing Drake’s very popular “Find Your Love”, James worried none of the judges would pick him to advance to the next round. With his entire family nervously watching from backstage with host Carson Daly, James struggled to keep his emotions in check until seeing three out of the four judges (Aguilera, Green, and Shelton) turn their chairs around to pick James for their teams. “Man, you have soul” said Aguilera, confessing she had no idea what she was going to find when she turned her chair around. Shelton admired James’ ability to control his emotions until the end of his performance. Levine, the lone holdout, opted instead to let his fellow judges fight it out over James, who quickly asked with his Boston charm, “Adam, what happened with you?” After a heartfelt and humble thanks to all of the judges and people supporting him, it would be Team Cee-lo Green where James would land being dubbed “Lady Killer Number 2” by his coach and mentor and paving the way for James to work with some of his favorite artists, including R&B phenom, Ne-Yo.
Not surprisingly, James’ blind audition performance reached over one million hits on YouTube – an accomplishment James never imagined just a few short months back working at the family body shop and performing at talent shows and small venues.
After winning a “battle round” against fellow teammate Wade Brown in which the two performed a duet version of Cyndi Lauper’s mega hit “True Colors”, James prepared for his first live performance which put his fate in America’s hands. In April, James made his third appearance on The Voice’s live broadcast. Performing a solid cover of Norah Jones’ hit “Don’t Know Why”, James played to his strength – the women in the audience – easily earning himself the title as Season Two’s heartthrob. “What is going on with the ladies?” Carson Daly asked a grinning Massone after his performance that was marked by the screeches and screams of teenage audience members. With his fan base and judges alike responding with praise – including Blake Shelton who claimed he “almost threw his panties on the stage” – the performance trended worldwide on Twitter and quickly reached number 3 on the iTunes R&B Singles Charts. James received enough votes to be carried through to the next round.
Having made it to the Top 12 contestants, James was ultimately eliminated from the show after his fourth performance covering Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are.” In a controversial twist to the rules, the show instituted an instant elimination where coaches were forced to eliminate one team member after all contestants concluded their live performances that evening. Before America or James’ fans even had the opportunity to cast their votes, James learned that he didn’t make the cut to the Top 8 semi final round.
After his elimination, James was invited by his good friend Jermaine Paul (Season Two Winner) to join him and fellow contestants Pip Andrew and Jamaar Rogers in the show’s finale to perform the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” The performance received rave reviews.
James says that appearing on The Voice was a tremendous learning experience – win or lose. He had the chance to record and release studio versions of each of the songs performed, which are distributed and currently available through Apple’s iTunes. Each single has reached the top 20 on the iTunes R&B singles charts with “True Colors” and “Don’t Know Why” both charting in the Top 10. He also appeared and performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Now, with countless hours of rehearsals, preparation, and live television performances seen by millions under his belt, James eagerly looks forward to bringing his career to the next level having worked along side some of the industry’s top artists, performers, and musicians.
And…its only just the beginning.
Life After The Voice
In order to continue pursuing his music career, James currently splits his time between the Boston area, where his parents reside, and Los Angeles, where his brother Jason and sister Jillian live. James, who keeps in touch with his fellow Voice contestants and coach Cee-Lo Green, has begun to assemble a young, talented team of music industry, marketing and business professionals to help him plan and map out his next steps in what is sure to be a rapidly growing music career.
Stay tuned for upcoming announcements regarding James’ career as well as regular updates about his appearances and music.