Warwick Schoolboy’s rise to fame goes global

James Taylor-Watts.
James Taylor-Watts.

A Barford teenager’s extraordinary musical talent landed him a record deal when he was just 17 - and now he is performing on an international tour to mass audiences.

Former Warwick School pupil James Taylor-Watts - who goes by the stage name James TW - is the opening act for Canadian artist Shawn Mendes’ world tour, which kicked off in Cologne on Saturday and covers dates all over Europe, followed by a tour across the USA and Canada.

The 18-year-old’s biggest venue will be in Toronto to 18,000 people - but James is no stranger to big crowds, having performed for 6,000 at Radio City in New York last year, just a month after being signed to Island Records.

His mum Sarah, who runs a costume consultancy for Warwick Castle and Coombe Abbey, recognises that this may be a lot to take in for such a young lad, but she describes her son as “old soul”. She said: “He has maturity beyond his years.

“James is not inhibited, regardless of numbers. He is just a natural performer.

What is interesting about James is that it’s not just that he can sing, but he is also musically gifted.

“He has had no guitar or piano lessons, but he plays the piano and electric guitar. He learnt by watching clips on YouTube and by ear.”

Sarah recalls how James’ passion for music was born: “My husband Richard used to play in a ‘Mid-life wedding band’. When James was ten, there was one day when the drummer in Richard’s band was unwell, so James stepped in.

“It has been a rollercoaster. When he was a little boy, I must admit, I never thought that we would be where we are now.”

James left school to pursue his dream after completing his AS levels in psychology, business and music, and Warwick School has been supportive, describing his soulful voice as “outstanding”.

James’ new EP, First Impressions, was released last Friday. www.jamestw.com

Follow his tour online at @JamesTWmusic