Nathaniel James Harold Speas, known as Nate James, (born 15 September
1979, Lakenheath) is a British soul singer-songwriter. James released
his debut soul album Set the Tone in 2005 which won him two MOBO Nominations
for Best Newcomer and Best R&B Artist. He released on his Frofunk
imprint via Independent Labels around the world and became one of the
most successful independent soul recording artists globally. James
has sold over 200,000 albums and he has had airplay hits in both Europe
and Japan. He won the Festivalbar in 2006. The Festivalbar is
an Italian singing competition that takes place in the most important
Italian squares such as the Piazza del Duomo Milan. He released his
second album Kingdom Falls in 2006. In February 2008 James and his
band performed on the BBC show Later... with Jools Holland. In 2007
James won Urban Music Awards Best Album (Kingdom Falls) and Best Neo-Soul
Artist. James has joint UK/US citizenship as he was born on a U.
S. Air Force base in England to an American father.
As a recognised songwriter, he was signed by Universal Publishing in 2004,
prior to him releasing any material as a performer. Unlike many young artists
he did not sign away the copyright in his recordings in the fast pursuit of
fame. He owns his own music videos and does his own A&R, James released
on his own Frofunk imprint via various deals with Independent Labels around
the world. In so doing James has become one of the most successful independent
soul recording artists globally. James sold over 200,000 albums and enjoyed
sizable airplay hits across mainland Europe and Japan.
 Set The Tone (2005-2007)
James released his debut album, Set The Tone in 2005 which is heavily influenced
by soul artists such as Marvin Gaye, Prince and Stevie Wonder. It subsequently
won James widespread critical acclaim and two MOBO nominations for Best Newcomer
and Best R&B Artist. His album, written mostly by James, covers a range
of music influences; from the bassy R&B of Set The Tone, the upbeat pop
of Universal, the retro soul of The Message, the classic ballad sound of Justify
Me to the rocky vibe in I'll Decline. There is also a duet with Dawn Robinson
of En Vogue.
James has also worked with several noted co-writers that included David Brant
(Mis-Teeq, Liberty X, Jamie Scott), Eg White (Adele's Chasing Pavements) on
Universal, David Sneddon (Hurts's Illuminated), Wonderland (band), Dave Gibson)
on The Message, Andreas S. Jensen (Writer of Armand Van Heldens: MyMyMy), Peter-John
Vettese (Annie Lennox: Walking On Broken Glass), Jamie Hartman (Will Young's
All Time Love) on Justify Me and Emily Friendship (Sarah Connor's: You're the
James has sold out numerous live shows at the Jazz Café in London and
at other venues across the UK. His headline gig at Shepherds Bush Empire had
to be rescheduled due to the 7 July 2005 London bombings but went ahead in
October 2005. Nate and his band also performed at Fruitstock 2005. He has had
success in both Europe and Japan. He won the Festivalbar in Italy in 2006.
The Festivalbar is an Italian singing competition that takes place in the most
important Italian squares during summer, such as the Piazza del Duomo, Milan.
 Kingdom Falls (2007-2008)
The recording of James' second album Kingdom Falls was entirely self-funded
out of the profits from his debut album. The album features a live orchestra
on many tracks and more studio-based production than that featured on his first
album Set The Tone. The album title track Kingdom Falls was influenced by James's
experiences on a charity mission to Rwanda in 2006, where he witnessed a mix
of joy and sadness, seeing the country and its many orphans recovering from
the atrocities committed during the genocide of 1994. The album was mixed in
Los Angeles by grammy winning Outkast collaborator Neal H Pogue and was released
first in Japan and subsequently in the UK & Italy. In 2007 James won Urban
Music Awards Best Album (Kingdom Falls) and Best Neo-Soul Artist.
In February 2008 James and his band performed two tracks from the album on
the BBC show Later... with Jools Holland - Choke and Back To You.
In Spring 2008 James embarked on his first tour of North America and played
live shows in New York, Toronto, San Diego, & Los Angeles. On 4 July 2008
James headlined the outdoor stage of the Montreal Jazz Fest, performing to
an audience of over 120,000 in the Quebec city.
 Revival (2009)
In between writing sessions for his next album, James recorded a selection
of cover versions. These were released as Revival on 30 March 2009. The album
was produced solely by the producer of James's Set The Tone album David Brant.
 SugaSmak! (2010)
In 2010 James formed the group SugaSmak! which consisted of Nate as the lead
vocalist (now dubbed 'SugaJack') and Matt Gooderson of indie outfit Infadels
('Clyma'). Boasting a new ElectroSoul sound, the duo's debut single We Are
was released through the small London independent "Better Get Records" on
November 22, 2010. Their debut album is set for release in 2011.
Set The Tone
Release Date: 8 August 2005, re-released 12 June 2006
UK Chart peak: #11 (UK R&B)
IMPALA Sales Certification: Gold (30,000)
Worldwide sales: 125,000 (according to artist myspace)
Singles: "Set The Tone", "Universal", "The Message" / "Get
This Right", "Pretend", "Justify Me".
Release Date: 18 June 2007
Singles: "Kingdom Falls", "High Times", "Choke" / "Back
Release Date: 30 March 2009
Singles: "Because I Love You"
2007: "Funkdefining EP"
2005: "Set The Tone" #69 (UK), #11 (UK Indie), #17 (UK RnB)
2005: "Universal" #72 (UK), #6 (UK Indie), #3 (JAP Airplay)
2005: "The Message" / "Get This Right" #4 (Italia Airplay)
2006: "Pretend" (Download Only Single packaged with b-side 'Cut A
2006: "Justify Me" Top 5 (Belgium Airplay), Top 20 (Italia Airplay)
2007: "Back To You" Top 10 (JAP International Airplay)
2007: "Kingdom Falls"
2007: "High Times"
2008: "Choke" / "Back to You"
2009: "Because I Love You"
2010: "We Are (SugaSmak!)"
2005: Poker Pets featuring Nate James - "Lovin' You" #43 (UK)
2005: Natalie Williams featuring Nate James - "Conversation"
2006: Sway feat. Nate James "Still On My Own"
2006: Pe'z v Nate James - "Live For The Groove EP" Top 40 (JAP sales
2007: Paolo Meneguzzi & Nate James 'Music' / 'Musica' Top 30 (Italia Airplay)
 Also features on
2004: Shapeshifters "Lola's Theme" #1 (UK single)
Funkdefining is featured in the Hollywood movies Run, Fat Boy, Run and How
to Lose Friends & Alienate People
2005: MOBO AWARD Best Newcomer nominee
2005: MOBO AWARD Best R&B Artist nominee
2005: CHANNEL U Best of British nominee
2005: SCREEN NATION AWARDS Best Video nominee
2006: MOBO AWARD Best UK Male nominee
2006: BT DIGITAL MUSIC AWARDS Best Urban Artist
2006: FESTIVALBAR Best International Artist WINNER!
2007: URBAN MUSIC AWARDS Best Album (Kingdom Falls)
2007: URBAN MUSIC AWARDS Best Neo-Soul Artist WINNER!