James began studying piano at the age of 7. At the age of 12, he began studying with Marilyn Engle. Under her guidance, James was a finalist in the RBC Concerto Competition, and competed in the Canadian Music Competition, Calgary Concerto Competition, and several Calgary Kiwanis Festivals (now the Calgary Performing Arts Festivals). He performed for artists such as Aleksandar Madžar, Pavel Kolesnikov and attended the ACMUIN (Académie Musicale Internationale Barbara Krakauer) in Provence, France, and the Coimbra World Piano Meeting in Portugal.

Having great interest in both engineering and music, he has completed a double majors program in Electrical Engineering and Piano Performance before continuing his studies in music, pursuing a Master’s degree in music performance. During his studies at the University of Calgary, James has been awarded with the Seymour Schulich Scholarship for Academic Excellence for 3 years as well as numerous scholarships from the Music division.