James was heavily influenced by The Beatles, The Who, and David Bowie to name a few. He was also influenced by his father who held a Ph.D in Music, played piano and organ, and was a professor at ASU. While growing up, James spent hours listening to such classical composers as J.S. Bach, and Tchaikovsky. He also studied classical guitar, music theory, and music history while attending ASU. As he performed around Phoenix he became involved with some excellent local jazz musicians who exposed him to the music of bass player Stanley Clarke, and such jazz-fusion musicians as Al DiMeola and John McLaughlin. With these diverse musical influences, and because he ultimately remains true to his rock and pop roots, James' songwriting incorporates the catchiness and steadiness of rock and pop, but is uniquely mixed with just enough differing chordal inversions, bass lines and rhythms to set the music aside from what is usually perceived as mainstream.