Tyler James (English musician)

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Tyler James
Birth nameKenneth Gordon
Born (1982-01-05) 5 January 1982 (age 42)
London, England
Years active
  • 2001–2005
  • 2012–present

Kenneth Gordon (born 5 January 1982),[1] better known by his stage name Tyler James, is an English singer and songwriter signed to Island Records.[2]

James's debut single, "Why Do I Do?", made an appearance on the UK Singles Chart in 2004, peaking at number 25.[3] His debut studio album, The Unlikely Lad, was released digitally through Island Records on 29 August 2005.[4]

In 2012 James appeared as a contestant on the first series of The Voice UK, making it through to the live final of the show, eventually finishing as the joint runner-up behind series winner Leanne Mitchell.[5] Following his success on The Voice UK, James released his second album, A Place I Go, which peaked at number 47 on the UK Albums Chart.[6]

Music career[edit]

2001–2005: The Unlikely Lad[edit]

After guesting house on the underground R&B track "Wilder" by Stargate in 2001, which became a nightclub favourite in London, James got his first taste of celebrity. In 2002, after touring around the UK's bars, pubs and clubs; evolving his sound and performance, James had garnered enough reputation to be hailed as "The British answer to Justin Timberlake" by The Face magazine, whilst NME hailed him as "one to watch".[citation needed]

Tyler James was signed to Island Records in 2003 after they heard a demo tape featuring his future debut single, "Why Do I Do?". The reggae flavoured song made the 'A' playlist on BBC Radio 2, and entered the UK Singles Chart at No. 25.[7] In early 2004, James toured the UK with best friend Amy Winehouse.[8]

In early 2005, James toured with Natasha Bedingfield[9] and in the spring of 2005, his second single "Foolish" was released, which reached No. 16 on the UK chart.[7] The success of the song saw his first appearance on BBC Television's Top of the Pops. July 2005, James' third single was released. Originally a No. 1 hit for White Town in, James covered "Your Woman". "Your Woman" reached No. 60, whilst his album The Unlikely Lad was released as a digital download in August 2005. The album includes three songs co-written with Amy Winehouse, who also features on the track "Best for Me".

In August 2005, James was supposed to perform at the V Festival, but cancelled due to 'unforeseeable circumstances'.[10] Later that year he toured with McFly,[11] but due to the disappointing chart performance of "Your Woman", James was dropped by Island Records and his debut album was only released digitally at the time. The album was later released on CD on 2 July 2012, following his success on The Voice.[12] The album later peaked at number 34 on the UK Album Downloads Chart in June 2012.[13]

2012–: The Voice UK, A Place I Go and My Amy: The Life We Shared[edit]

In 2012, James auditioned for The Voice UK, appearing in the third of four 'Blind Audition' shows. With coaches will.i.am, Jessie J, Tom Jones and Danny O'Donoghue, James initially performed the track "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding. The performance was met with a positive reception from both Jessie J and will.i.am, though it was the latter who opted to have James on his team.[14] During the show's 'Battle Rounds', James was pitted against 25-year-old Heshima Thompson, winning the performance of "Yeah 3x" by Chris Brown and advancing to the live shows.[15] During the first live show, James performed the James Vincent McMorrow version of "Higher Love" by Stevie Winwood,[16] and was saved by judge will.i.am.[17] In the third live show, James performed Terence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name".[18] The performance saw James land in the bottom three alongside Joelle Moses and Frances Wood, though his place in the semi-final was awarded by coach will.i.am.[19] In the semi-final, James performed Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" – and was voted into the final by the public over fellow contestant Jaz Ellington; joining Bo Bruce, Leanne Mitchell and Vince Kidd from Team Danny, Team Tom and Team Jessie respectively.[20] In the final, James performed three tracks: "I'll Be There" (The Jackson 5), "OMG" (Usher) with will.i.am and "Higher Love" (James Vincent McMorrow) for a second time.[21] Alongside singer Bo Bruce, James was announced as the series' runner-up behind Leanne Mitchell.[5]


Performed Song Original Artist Result
Blind Audition "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" Otis Redding Default Team Will
Battle Rounds "Yeah 3x" (against Heshima Thompson) Chris Brown Winner
Week 1 "Higher Love" Steve Winwood Safe
Week 3 "Sign Your Name" Terence Trent D'Arby Safe
Semi-final "Bohemian Rhapsody" Queen Safe
Final "I'll Be There" The Jackson 5 3rd Place
"OMG" (with will.i.am) Usher & will.i.am
"Higher Love" Steve Winwood

On Monday 10 December 2012 Tyler achieved a lifelong ambition by featuring on the Ken Bruce show on Radio 2. The segment of the show is "Tracks of My Years" where the guest is usually a legend of the popular music world and they choose two tracks each day of the show that have huge meaning to themselves.

It was confirmed in July 2012 that James had signed a new joint record deal with Island Records and Universal Music Group and had begun work on his second studio album.[2] James then announced in August that the album's lead single, "Single Tear", would be released in the United Kingdom on 7 October;[22] with the album A Place I Go following on 29 October. James confirmed he had worked with various producers and songwriters for A Place I Go, including The Voice coach will.i.am, Fraser T Smith and Guy Chambers who wrote and produced "Single Tear".[22] The album charted at number 47 on the UK Albums Chart.[6]

In 2015, James starred in the documentary film, Amy that was released in theatres on 3 July about his late friend Amy Winehouse. In 2021, he published My Amy: The Life We Shared , a memoir of his relationship with Winehouse.[23]

Personal life[edit]

James grew up in the Canning Town area of London and moved to Camden Town with Amy Winehouse in his late teens where they lived together until her death. James met Winehouse at the age of 13 when they both trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.


Studio albums[edit]



  • My Amy: The Life We Shared (2021)


  1. ^ "Tyler James – Celebrity News – Digital Spy". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b "The Voice star, Tyler James, signs new record deal". BBC. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  3. ^ "The Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Tyler James – The Unlikely Lad (UK Edition) – Digital Download". iTunes. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Leanne Mitchell wins The Voice UK". Digital Spy. 2 June 2012.
  6. ^ a b "TYLER JAMES | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 279. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ "Tyler James Interview". BBC. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Tyler James touring with Natasha Bedingfield". Popdirt. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Tyler James cancels V Festival". Virtual Festivals. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  11. ^ Langdon, Nicole (11 August 2005). "McFly go wild at The Kent Music Festival 2005". BBC. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Amy Winehouse's pop star friend Tyler James auditions for The Voice". Metro. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Tyler James > UK Charts". Official Charts. 21 April 2024. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  14. ^ "The Voice UK, Blind Auditions: Week 3". imediamonkey. 7 April 2012. Archived from the original on 21 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Tyler James emerges victorious in The Voice UK battle rounds". tellymix. 21 April 2012.
  16. ^ "The Voice UK live show song choices revealed". Digital Spy. 27 April 2012.
  17. ^ "Sam Buttery and Sophie Griffin first to leave competition". Digital Spy. 29 April 2012.
  18. ^ "Jessie J propositions Tyler James after 'Sign Your Name' performance". unrealitytv. 12 May 2012. Archived from the original on 17 May 2012.
  19. ^ "The Voice UK results: Jaz Ellington and Tyler James through to the semi-final". huffingtonpost. 13 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Leanne, Tyler, Bo and Vince make The Voice UK final". BBC. 28 May 2012.
  21. ^ "The Voice UK – Final songlist revealed". Digital Spy. 2 June 2012.
  22. ^ a b "Tyler James talks new single and album". Digital Spy. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  23. ^ Carpenter, Louise. "My life with Amy Winehouse, by her best friend Tyler James".