Boy you need to know: New Zealand singer-songwriter Mitch James

13 September 2018
By Fashion Quarterly


Twenty-three-year-old Mitch James’ journey has taken him from busking on the streets of Europe, to topping charts; performing to sold-out crowds, and now, his debut full-length album.

Due out on September 14, 2018, Mitch’s songs are personal; he writes from the heart and delivers with heart, one of the reasons he is touted as one of Kiwi music’s next big success stories. Ahead of his album release Miss FQ caught up with Mitch on all things career, life, female empowerment and more.

Find out why he’s a boy you need to know below:


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What’s your story? How did you get to where you are today?
Long story short, I went over to the UK to chase the dream – busking and playing shows – but it didn’t work out at all. I spent some time on the street, I went back, made some videos, got spotted and signed! I’ve released a few songs since then, and am about to release my debut album so life is good!

When did you know you wanted to work in the music industry?
I left an Ed Sheeran gig in 2012, waking out of the venue saying I am going to do this for the rest of my life.

How did you get started with the Sony?
I was putting videos up online when I was I Europe, one of them caught Sony’s eye, so I sent them some original songs I had written, they loved them, loved my attitude and decided to sign me. It all happened in a few months!

Where has this taken you?
Everywhere! Europe, Scandinavia, The USA, OZ to write and play shows. My personal favourite was opening for Ed – the man who inspired me to get going in the first place.

Do you have any advice for Miss FQ readers who want to get into careers like yours?
I’d imagine unshakeable perseverance and an unbreakable will would help anyone get further.


As you know, female empowerment is really topical right now and shows no signs of slowing. How important is female empowerment to you and why?
Growing up with two older sisters and a strong mother, and being on a record label where 85% of the team is female, it becomes second nature to be a feminist and believe in women’s empowerment. I love everything about women. My sister – who is my best friend – is an active feminist and I always enjoy talking to her about issues and hearing her honest views.

How do you define success?
Being happy. I am guilty of always wanting more and never settling. But I am grateful for my success and the fact I get to live my dreams.

What has been your greatest accomplishment or milestone to date?
In life, it would have to be overcoming clinical depression and PTSD. Nothing comes close really. In music – honestly, I don’t know! There has been so many amazing things happening and continuing to happen.

What are some challenges you’ve faced or had to overcome?
When I was a teenager I had intense mental health issues, then after school I was homeless and disconnected from my family, and more recently my mum got diagnosed with incurable cancer. When you make the active decision to stop looking at these things as weights on your shoulders, cut them loose and be grateful for every moment and everything you have – nothing is a challenge. Be grateful for what you do have and forget about everything else.


What motivates you?
Greatness, changing people’s lives – I want to have a greater impact than just being a generic music guy.

Do you have favourite quote or mantra to live by?
If you can see it in your mind, you will see it with your eyes. I am big on the law of attraction, (if you don’t know about it read ‘The Secret’ haha).

Which websites, blogs, podcasts, etc do you watch or listen to every day?
I mainly focus on my music – but fleetingly I’ll listen to a bit of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

How would you describe your style and what’s your favourite go-to outfit when you need to feel confident?
I’ve only really started taking pride in my appearance recently – I’m quite basic I guess haha. A nice t-shirt and some chinos – nothing outrageous!

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In arenas!

Photos: Supplied

Mitch James’ debut album out September 14, 2018… Pre-order it now

WATCH: Hilarious Miss FQ Girl Talk with Amy Shark

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