Tour a fond farewell for James


SINGER-SONGWRITER Graeme James is heading abroad to pursue his music career – but not before he says goodbye.

Originally from Wellington, James is touring New Zealand to farewell local fans, with performances coming up in Queenstown and Wanaka.

“We thought we’d just give it one last hurrah before that happens,” he said.

The Wish You Well Tour also celebrates his latest single Wish You Well, which was released at the end of September.

It is the second single release after he signed a record deal with international label Nettwerk.

“The reception’s been really, really positive, so I’m stoked.”

James said it felt amazing to be offered the deal – especially since it came out of the blue.

“The CEO of the label heard my music on Spotify and sent me an email saying ‘are you keen?’ and it turns out that I was,” he laughed.

“It was a pretty big moment and I’m really blessed to have had that happen.”

He described his music as broadly folk, but said the southern shows would be pretty up tempo.

“The live shows have a bit more hooting and hollering – lots of dancing, lots of foot stomping and just a generally pretty energetic time.”

Performing as a “one-man-band”, James said he used a loop station to layer violin, guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin, and a bit of beat boxing.

He started out as a classical violin player, but gave it up before leaving high school. Although he didn’t pick up the violin for a long time, James said he eventually began busking.

During this time he released two covers albums before releasing an album of original tracks, News From Nowhere, which was nominated for Folk Album of the Year at the New Zealand Music Awards this year.

He drew inspiration for his original music from a whole range of sources.

“I try to draw from a whole range of sources I think. My favourite artists are the ones who have songs about a whole lot of different things.

“The stuff that connects with me personally is songs written from a whole range of human experiences, so I try to do that myself.”

And after about five years of being a full-time musician, James said it was “probably time to give it a bash overseas”.

He would likely be based in the Netherlands, with gigs lined up in the United States and Europe. However, he would be coming back to New Zealand and Australia regularly for shows.

“It’s nice to have a good excuse for coming back to catch up with friends and family and just hang out.”

Graeme James, Sherwood, Queenstown, Thursday, November 23, and Gin and Raspberry Boutique Bar, Wanaka, Friday, November 24. Tickets available from

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