GITC Artist/Advocate – Tony James
Growing up amid the melodies and rhythms of everyday Manhattan, Tony’s passion for music formed early. He studied cello and voice as a boy, drums and percussion as a teen, and guitar in later years. At 15, he earned admission to New York’s High School of Music & Art (the Fame school), learning music theory and performance. After classes, Tony polished his skills onstage by playing with various bands in legendary New York nightclubs like the Ritz and CBGB’s.
After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, the world’s premier institution for contemporary music study, Tony’s professional career was launched in 1987. He quickly became one of New York’s most sought after drummers and percussionists.
Tony’s career includes work with Cyndi Lauper, Billy Squier, Dave Koz, Brenda K. Starr (w/Mariah Carey), Coolio, Lenny Kravitz, PM Dawn, Charles & Eddie, Noel, David Yazbek, Roger Gillen, Darden Smith, and Jeffrey Gaines. As an artist, Tony co-founded MAGGIE’S DREAM, which recorded two albums for Capitol Records. With its blend of urban funk and hard rock, Maggie’s Dream was hailed as a movement ahead of its time. Adding dance and theater to his portfolio, Tony earned a role as part of the original American cast of the off-Broadway show STOMP in 1994.
As Composer & Musical Director for the play RAKSHA’S CHILD, Tony won special recognition by the New York Times.
From 1998-2005, Tony starred in the Emmy-nominated and three- time Parent’s Choice Award winning Disney Channel series, OUT OF THE BOX!. He and co-star Vivian Bayubay played caregivers to a cast of ethnically diverse children, helping them explore ordinary life through music, art and dramatic play. His numerous TV musical performances include appearances on Roseanne, The Tonight Show, and the Jerry Lewis Telethon.
Tony can also be heard on a daily basis as the voice of Sprout™, PBS’ network for children. Tony endorses Dean Markley strings; Ultrasone headphones; Remo world percussion; RhythmTech percussion; SabianCymbals; and IK Multimedia software.