What's love got to do with it?
Everything, according to James Whitney, Soul singer extraordinaire and was one of the childhood lead singers of the Whitney Family musical group. It was love songs that captured James' feelings so much that he had to express those feelings by singing and writing love songs himself.
At age 4, James was only four, when his mother was hanging clothes in the backyard and he started singing harmony to his Mother's lead. His Mother was amazed not only that he could sing, but that he had the "musical ears" to hear and sing harmony to any song that he heard.
"I used to press my ear against the family's radio, listening to the music with no distraction from the outside world...the Bass rumbling through my body...my soul...until one of my parents would pull me away..."Boy, you gonna go deaf if you don't move back! but I knew better. I was learning from all those songs".
As he grew older, James was
possessed by the desire to express himself through song...first by singing and then by
writing his own original materials. A friend and contemporary of Stevie Wonder,
(whom he met through his sister, Mary Lee Whitney who sang background on many of
Stevie's biggest hits,) James remembers singing together while riding in his convertible.
Another contemporary was Marvin Gaye, with whom James shared creating a music sound track for the movie
Chrome and Hot Leather.
James' early musical influences were; Bobby Blue Bland, Frankie Lymon, Little
Willie John and a non-descript Sanctified Church that he would listen to on Sundays
through the fence of one of his early homes. By age 12 James joined his brother's singing
group, the Parakeets who sang at College dances, nightclubs and Concerts. Next James
at age 14 formed the singing group The Monoreys, who followed the Club circuit in
Portland and Seattle. James helped to form the Harleguins with his sister Mary, Tony
Lytle, Henry Moore and Bill Diz.
Dreaming of California they headed to LA and eventually the name of the group
was changed to The Seven Souls, where other prominent musicians like Bob Welch,
(guitarist for Fleetwood Mac), Bobby Hunt, (keyboard player Fleetwood Mac) joined
In Los Angeles, James also wrote several songs for some of the top names in the
business: Michael Jackson and The Main Ingredient, featuring Cuba Gooding Sr. He
arranged background vocals for some of the songs by: Quiet Riot and opened for
Santana, Tower of Power, and Canned Heat to name a few..
After working the nightclub circuit in Los Angeles, in 1989, James found himself
in London, England. Hitting the ground running, James played nearly all the Pubs and
bars in and around London then was asked to perform at Ceasars as its host, the largest
club in London, seating 3,000 people. There, he was joined by the leading British and
On his return to the USA, James released his first album, “Let’s Fall In Love,” and is
working on his second album, a collection of standard New Old Schools Hits. He is also
working with several rap artists, providing the soulful hooks and vocals. James is
also working live gigs with Dick Wagner, the song writer/ guitarist from Alice Cooper and Lou Reed.