James Holt is a Manchester singer/songwriter and former trainee practitioner at Brighter Sound. James took part in Brighter Sound’s Chaos to Order at Manchester Central Library and has performed at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Music for Youth Proms. He currently facilitates Sing City, our songwriting sessions and live nights for songwriters, composers, performers and producers aged 13-18, alongside Natalie McCool and Phill Howley.


James Holt’s Spotify Playlist

The Boxer – Simon & Garfunkel

Quite possibly the finest song ever written.

I Promise – Radiohead

Hard to believe this new track from Radiohead was left from their legendary OK Computer album. I heard it for the first time when it came out and haven’t stopped listening to it – impassioned vocals…

Dance Me To The End Of Love – Madeleine Peyroux

A song for the romantics. It’s a beautiful interpretation of the genius of Leonard Cohen.

3WW – alt-J

This song is so unusual and mysterious that I can’t help listening to it again and again. It sounds very contemporary but strangely archaic, almost like an electro-folk cover of a Gregorian chant.

Secret Heart – Ron Sexsmith

Heartbreaking songwriting.

Generation Why – Weyes Blood

Imagine a sarcastic Karen Carpenter experimenting in 60s psychedelia.

Black Mirror – Arcade Fire

I love the relentless drive and pulse in this song. Great band.

When You Know Why You’re Happy – Mary Margaret O’Hara

I discovered Mary Margaret O’Hara last year from an article in the Guardian. I adore the passion in her voice and songwriting.

The Thanks I Get – Wilco

A fantastic, old-fashioned rock tune.

Save The Last Dance For Me – The Drifters

I love hearing the stories that inspire certain songs. Doc Pomus, the writer of ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’, found a wedding invitation one night and recollected a memory from his own wedding: watching his brother Raoul dance with his new wife while he, who had polio, sat in his wheelchair. Doc stayed up all night to write the song on the back of the invitation and his last contributions of the evening were the words: “save the last dance for me”.