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James Paton
Drummer & Singer


In Short/'To The Point' About Me...

I'm a Jazz/Soul/Hip Hop singer-songwriter and professional drummer, born in Bristol, raised in Felton and Blagdon, Chew Valley.

When I perform solo, I sing and play piano and use a live looper to layer beat-boxing and harmonies to create a big one-man sound.

Some of my songs are based on Love, Lust, Loss and Relationships. Often, they are based merely on a feeling or are born out of a sudden impulse of music in my head.

My biggest musical influences include Amy Winehouse, Jose James, J Dilla, D'Angelo, A Tribe Called Quest, Bob Marley, Sarah Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis.

When I write and perform, I like to think you can here most, if not all of these guys up in there somewhere....

As A Drummer...

I've been playing drums for 12/13 years professionally and I still play with the likes of Jazz/Funk Saxophonist and Bristol's Music Ambassador, James Morton, Guitarist and Solo Artist Guy Calhoun (The Good The Bad & The Funk) and my live Hip hop project, DeCyphers on monthly Monday evenings at The Canteen.

A Bit More In Depth About Me...

I’m a drummer and singer songwriter born in Bristol and raised in Chew Valley. I’m now in Central Bristol, singing as a solo artist and sideman, drumming for a myriad of different projects, including my own!

I’ve been playing drums for over 11 years and singing for almost as long. I’d describe my own music as Jazz/Soul/Hip Hop.

Some of my biggest influences have to be Amy Winehouse, D’Angelo & J-Dilla to name just a few.

At the moment, I play drums for DeCyphers Hip Hop band on the first Monday of every month at The Canteen.

I play drums for The Steam Trio, a straight ahead jazz (bop) band that me and a friend run and use to host a monthly jazz jam at The Steam Crane on every third Wednesday.

I sometimes play drums for James Morton, Funk/Jazz sax player and Bristol’s music Ambassador.

I also sometimes drum for The Good, The Bad & The Funk ,which is a Funky/Jazz/Boogaloo trio including Mr Dan ‘Pinstripe’ Moore on Organ and Mr Guy Calhoun on Electric Guitar and Vocals.

In 2013 I had the honor and privilege of drumming for the great Mr Carl Orr at Kuala Lumpur International Jazz Festival, on my birthday weekend. Best Birthday ever! Sorry mum… Actually, we crashed a Pee Wee Ellis concert down the road from my house for my 18th and he joined us for cake afterwards… 2nd best birthday ever…

In the past two years I have played drums for two signed artists of a similar ilk. I held the drum throne for Javeon on his UK tour supporting Clean Bandit last summer including dates at Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Bristol’s Love Saves The Day Festival.

This year, I took to the tubs once more for Geovarn, a recent Sony Signing and took part in his campaign embarking as a newly signed artist playing a number of shows in London including ILUVLIVE at Under The Bridge, Chelsea.

Going back a bit, I played drums in The Suitables. An eight-piece Ska/Reggae/Hip hop band. Together we gained management and mentor guidance from Gorillaz/Blur/Thin Lizzie’s management. Through this team we recorded at Damon Albarn’s studio in London and played Glastonbury BBC Introducing and The Rabbit Hole Stage. The band hasn’t played together for some 5-6 years, but a reunion gig has been talked about on a number of occasions and it's sure to happen one day soon!

I’ve been writing my own material slowly but surely for the past few years and I’m now gigging regularly as a solo artist playing Keys, Singing, Beat-boxing and layering harmonies using a loop station all in real time.

I hit the Bristol Jazz jams wherever possible and I love to get up and drum and/or sing a few jazz standards in between pints of Cider or a glass of red.

I’ve recently recruited some of my very favorite Bristol based musicians to form my very own backing band to take my solo project to the next level. Without wishing to ‘blow my own trumpet’ I’d say these guys are arguably some of the best musicians this country has to offer.

I play regularly all around Bristol including places like The Steam Crane on North Street, The Canteen on Stokes Croft and No.1 Harbourside in the City Centre, by the boats!

I busk a lot around Bristol too in between gigs, mainly in the City Centre, Broad-Mead and Clifton.

I’m really starting to push my own stuff out there and this July 2015 marks my debut performance as a front man in my very own band on 16th July at The Steam Crane for my new live music night, ‘James’s’. My band and I will be playing my original material mixed with some covers and arrangements. All Jazz/Soul/Hip Hop type-vibe.

Here’s to tomorrow, whatever it may bring…


1st FEB 2017
YO! So... been a while. I got a manager, went to LA, wrote some songs, learnt I had lots of work and development to do, decided to move back home and build a home studio in my old bedroom and record my first EP, which I've now DONE!

I'm going to be adding some Guitar on it with my friend Charlie Allen next week. I'm currently trying to decide if it needs two more songs (thinking the two I wrote in LA, they're a similar story) and whether the drums need re-recording (I think I like em...)

Being back at home I've had more time to practice drums and singing again as well as get back on the fitness in a really consistent manner so, YES! I now want to write more regularly and develop my songwriting and my SOUND! So that's underway...

Going to be on the hunt for a producer/beat maker with experience in electronic music, programming, sequencing & triggering and obviously, MPC techniques! If you're reading the and that's you or someone you know, shout me. (DM, Email, FB blah blah blah)

I just did my first YouTube cover in AAAAAAAges and uploaded it and got it mixed by the marvellous, Will Reeves ( Going to be working with Will a lot more. Go check it out: and if you like it, please LIKE it (and share it)

So yeah, here we are! Message me with any thoughts, comments, what you'd like to see/hear from me or anything related. I love to hear from people.

Also, lets not leave it so long next time, hey?

Alright, PEACE! X

Feb 1st 2015
Not heard anything from ‘Glastonbury Emerging’ yet, but fingers crossed! I wanna see the Foos!

Saw my hero, D’Angelo at the O2 in Birmingham this month. Absolutely blew me away. Dee sounds like he does on the record and more, such an awe-inspiring performer. His BAND the Vanguard! Oh my goodness! Chris Dave, Pino, Jesse Johnson… need I say more? I particularly enjoyed the backing vocalists actually. The two dudes to the left were really getting into the vibe and having a proper boogie. They sounded dope too. Managed to bump into one of them afterwards. Was nice to express my gratitude face to face and seal the deal with a good handshake.

First gig with Geovarn went well at Under The Bridge on Thursday. Met some lovely new people and what a wicked venue. Would love to play there one day!

Finally got my first demo recorded; three new originals and one cover. Going to carry on writing and start putting tunes together for my first EP. I want to produce it all myself. I’ve managed to gather just about enough gear to do a decent job now I think. Just need to brush up a bit on my production skills, hello YouTube tutorials!

My First solo gig went well as mentioned before and I’ve got four or so dates lined up in Bristol and Bath for some more support slots with Saskia Maxwell. Check my Gig Dates section for details. I’ll be posting about them soon on my Facebook and Twitter pages too.

Couple of my originals are now up on Sound Cloud for your listening pleasure along with some YouTube videos that I’d love people to check out!

Had a go at Busking for the first time today and absolutely loved it. Going to invest in a power pack and a loop pedal to take care of the beats because I can’t wait to get out there and do some more! Got some pretty heavy verbal abuse from a pretty grotty looking dude in a wheel chair, brandishing a penny whistle, which was character building to say the least. All good fun though!

See you on the scene! Here’s to the next month. What you SAYING March?!

4th February 2015
So that was the busiest January, probably of my life so far.

The first live Hip Hop Cypher this year (DeCyphers) down at The Canteen, Bristol was one of the busiest yet, which certainly bodes well for the future, given this was a Monday night in early January!

I had my first ever solo gig down at The Canteen. It was great fun. So good to see so many friends, many of whom I've not seen for a while! It included my debut at rapping live. I think I remembered all the lyrics, which is good. Good job it was such a familiar crowd, they were very forgiving.

Time to hit some proper gigs where I don't know a sole and I get heckled and someone throws up and gets blood on me. Thats a proper gig. Especially if the blood comes from you whilst playing really hard. That'd be hard on a piano though, they're not very abrasive. Better get some live drums in there...

Speaking of drums, I had an audition to be the drummer to back a new artist on Sony a couple of weeks back. I had a recall audition this Monday which, seemed to go really well and I got the gig!
So, I'm excited to be playing with Geovarn James and a really great band of talented musicians, on a couple of dates over the next couple of months. Not sure If I can disclose much more than that as of yet, but shall keep updating on whats happening!

I uploaded some of my stuff online recently and a friend mentioned me to a great Drum n Bass producer she knows from Glastonbury, now London based, Nathan Loko of Ram Records. I'm set to be working with him over the next month, possibly to feature on one or two tracks, which is exciting stuff!

On top of all that, I entered the Glastonbury Emerging talent competition this year. I'm not expecting to get a call as its very early days, but it'd be very nice!

So, think thats everything! Safe for dropping by and having a quick skim through!
Catch you soon,

January 13th 2015
Since my last post 'Groove-ist' has become 'DeCyphers' and we've done 7 shows at Bristol's Canteen. We're a live Hip Hop Trio, in which I play drums and do a bit of singing. Last night (Jan 12th, 2015) was one of the busiest yet, which is very encouraging for a Monday night in early January!

I've been busy writing more of my own stuff and I'm preparing for my first solo gig. On January 29th I'll be supporting the enchanting Ms Saskia Maxwell at Bristol’s No.1 Harbourside, in the City Centre next to the Watershed.

Saskia moved to Bristol late 2014 and we met when she came down and sang at my monthly jazz residency at The Steam Crane on North St, Bristol.

She put her own wonderful spin on Lullaby of Birdland, playing her beautiful Kif Wood custom electro/acoustic guitar, one of a couple given to her by the man himself!

Seeing Saskia live at the Fleece & Firkin later in the year playing her own stuff blew both me and the audience away. I was delighted when she later invited me to support at No.1 Harbourside. We'll each be doing our own set but are also planning a few collaborations that night.

In other circles, I've been playing a few gigs under James Paton & Friends along side a handful of Bristol's absolute finest musicians. James Morton, now Bristol’s Musical Ambassador on Alto Sax, Dan Waldman on Electric Guitar, who much to my delight, moved back from London to Bristol having spent around ten years in the States playing and hanging with some of my musical idols, who just so happen to be his good mates... And Johnny Henderson. A man who is constantly in demand and happily brings a full Hammond B3 & Lesley Speaker to every gig he can.

Needless to say playing with these guys is a joy and an honour as well as a great lesson, every gig. I filmed and recorded some of our latest performance together, just before Christmas and I'll be uploading some clips to my YouTube channel in the next week or so.

So here's to a new year, a fresh start. I've already got my self some new photos courtesy of the incredible Mr Louis Smith, which you can now see embedded in my website. The full album is on my FaceBook page:

My Brother has just launched his own live music channel for acts and artists in Bristol and he'll be interviewing me and recording a couple of my original tunes in the next two weeks. Check out his page for details:

Cheers everybody. I hope you can make it down to The No.1 Harbourside gig on Thursday 29th January, . Come say hi if you do!

James X

What I've Been Up To... (07 April 2014)
I've been very busy since moving into Bristol almost three months ago, working predominantly with a new young Bass player on the Bristol scene going by the name of Ben Tunnicliffe. Together we've been setting up a couple of projects for both work and pleasure. The first of which, was a live Hip Hop project, currently under the name 'GROOVE-iST' but set to undergo a name change imminently. I'll be uploading some videos of our sessions together soon and we've already had some incredible feedback and response from right across the globe! We focus mainly on classic american Hip Hop as well as some fresh new artists on the scene today including Falside and EOM. Check back for more on this later, or check us out on YouTube under GROOVE-iST and let me know what you think! We'll be writing our own stuff soon too so stay tuned.

We're also working on an exciting live act to start gigging on the local Bristol scene very soon, more to come on that later!

In other news, I've been working away on my own material, whilst I gig some of my favourite cover songs with some local musicians under the name of 'JPs'. My new solo project will be on the way very soon and I'm very excited to show you all what Ive got going on. I've some really exciting ideas for a really fresh new project. You'll just have to stay close for more news. In the mean time, I'll be uploading some clips of me performing some cool new covers by some of my favourite artists in the next coming weeks.

Check out my 'Gigs' section for my up and coming performances, some very exciting stuff on the way! In the mean time, keep supporting live music and enjoy what ever your doing!

Peace & love, JP X

07 April 2014
Hi and welcome to my new website! Today feels like the first official open day, as I've finally been able to get a few of last finishing touches done and dusted. So hear we are, I'm James Paton and on this website you'll find all there is to know about me and my music, both as a Drummer and Singer and as an Artist. I'll keep you up to date with all thats going on and Invite you to join me along the way on my musical journey, if you so wish! So come on in, it's going to be a blast!

18th March
New Website up and running.

Stay tuned for more updates.


10-04-2014 @ 21:30
Clifton Triangle, Bristol
11-04-2014 @ 23:00
Bristol, Harbourside
25-04-2014 @ 21:30
Park Street, Bristol
27-04-2014 @ 20:30
Chipping Sodbury
03-05-2014 @ 21:00
Gloucester Rd. Bristol
The Stillery, 18 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 9NX
Press Club, 47 Whitcomb Street London WC2H 7DH


Drum Kit:

Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute Drums
Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute, Birch Custom & Vintage 60s Ludwig 400 Snare Drums


Zildjian K Dark, K Constantinople, K Custom, Avedis and A Custom Cymbals.


Vic Firth F1 and Peter Erskine Signature Ride Sticks.


AKG & Shure Mics


Protection Racket Cases


James Paton


James is currently available as a drum tutor and has ample experience in private tuition, group workshops and as an in house tutor for his local music shop.

Most recently, James has been teaching large groups aged between 4 and 14. He has also worked with students in their 70s, so no one is too young or too old.

James is fully CRB checked, has a 1st class BMus Hons degree in music performance on drums and has passed Grade Eight with distinction, in conjunction with Trinity/Guildhall's Drum Kit Examinations.

Whether you are just starting out or are in need of some further guidance I will be able to help.

Feel free to contact me via this website or any of the contact information provided for any further details or to make a booking.


:: Fern Ford - Drummer ::
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