James Wesley Cleans Up His Act in ‘Jackson Hole’
James Wesley is enjoying a quick ride up the charts with his debut single, 'Jackson Hole.' But while it may seem like he's on the fast track to stardom, the Kansas-born singer insists he has more than paid his dues.
Singing from the tender age of three, James first decided to try and make a living from his talent while still in college. Unfortunately, the income wasn't as big as he had hoped. "My earliest start was in an old Best Western on the west side of Independence, Kansas." James tells The Boot. "I was going to college at the time and I thought that maybe I could get a job not too far from the college, make a few bucks."
Playing every Saturday night, James was paid 50 dollars, before expenses. "First couple weeks, I rented the equipment, it was forty-five bucks. I made a whopping five bucks, ten bucks that week!" Still, the memory makes him laugh. "It was so much fun," he says. "You have to have a starting point somewhere."
That starting point included not only singing at a local hotel, but also cleaning bathrooms. Moving to Eureka Springs, Ark., James quickly found himself doing anything he could to make ends meet. "I met my wife in Eureka. Her family had a country-music variety show, and I worked there for quite a few years. My brother-in-law and I, he took care of cleaning the theater, and I took care of cleaning everything on the outside ... I would clean the bathrooms. I'd pick up the trash in the parking lots, and change the bulbs, repair the wood that was rotten. I did everything."
In addition to maintenance, James also performed in the show and ran his own landscaping business on the side. It was, he admits, a grueling time. "My wife and kids would come to the show at night, but I didn't get to see much of them during the day. If you want to get anywhere, I believe you have to work hard."
It was that work ethic that ultimately fueled his decision to follow his dream and move to Nashville. "I didn't want regret," he explains. "I didn't want to look back three years, five years from now and go, 'What if? What if I would have moved? Where would I be right now?' And I look at that right now and it's like, 'Wow, I'd still be cleaning bathrooms!"
Signed to Broken Bow Records (home of Jason Aldean), James is hard at work on an album that is due to hit stores later this year.