A man is shaped by the life he has lived and the role models that offer inspiration to his life. James' family (especially his father) provided the foundation to which has given him life's rules to live by. Life lessons taught by James' father, shaped him into the man he is and unknowingly, his voice.
James Anthony was born in Miami, FL as James Anthony Dempsey in 1959 while his father and uncles worked as Masons in the construction industry and lived there until he was 5 years old until moving back to Queens, NY (Astoria) where he lived until 1968 (James was 8 years old). James' Grandfather Dempsey was WWII Veteran and was the Treasurer of the Bricklayers Union during the 60s & 70s. In 1968, James' family, Uncles, Aunt and cousins relocated from New York to the desert of Las Vegas, Nevada where James started music classes that year. James father, uncles and aunt entered the gaming industry and worked with individuals that showed them the ropes. They befriended many influential people within the old regime of Vegas and thus began to develop and change the way Las Vegas handled tourism and filling the hotels and casinos with family owned, Las Vegas Travel and the technology of that time for training the gamblers.
James' uncle Dale Dempsey conceived, manufactured and placed 21 and Craps video training video machines in many of the casinos during the 70s called M&D Video Systems Corporation of Las Vegas (reference newspaper article).
James' Uncle Dale also opened and owned Las Vegas Travel during the mid-80s and James' father Jack (pictured right with James' mother Mary in blue at the Cal-Neva Lodge), helped his brother Dale with marketing to develop the company. Together, they changed the way tourism was handled in Las Vegas during the 70s, 80s and early 90s. Working together, they provided people for the hotel/casino industry to fill the rooms, restaurants and to gamble. One by one, the hotels/casinos came on board with our family's way of bringing in gamblers to Nevada Casinos from around the USA, and thus the Gambling Junkets were born.
Some of the hotels included the Flamingo (my uncle Dale Dempsey created the Flamingo Fling and is still a vacation package today). Las Vegas Travel also provided for the Stardust, CalNeva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, the Hilton Hotel, the Sands and many others. In fact, James was given a Cal-Neva Gold Card when he was 19 years old and anything with a signature. They even set James up in Frank Sinatra's room when James would visit. (as long as Frank wasn't staying there at the time). The flight into the Lake Tahoe Airport was like riding over the top of a roller coaster when it crested the mountains.
1973: James entered high school and was swooped up by the choir teacher, Mr. Clark Black, as a baritone/bass singer within the varsity & male choirs throughout his four years at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas. In the mid-‘70s, James was a bit of a scrapper and didn't like bullies pickin' on the underdog and at 6' 2" tall and 220 lbs, he understood what it took to survive in a tough gambling town at a young age. James' Irish/Italian family and relatives enjoyed the groove of Vegas' action and surrounded him with constant big band and soulful sounds of Sinatra, Elvis, Dino, Tom Jones, Bobby Darin, Doris Day and as a teenager, Earth Wind and Fire, Al Green, Ohio Players, Jackson Five, Average White Band, Billy Paul and so on, thus exposing James to some of the best music ever written and all of this right at his front door. This cat's got it in his blood and man does he deliver!
1978: James joined the US Navy where he proudly and honorably served our country for 4 1/2 years with A-7 Squadron VA-122 based in Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, CA., VA-122 Det. Fallon, NV and throughout the U.S. and Aircraft Carriers for training. He was Honorably discharged in 1982 and then completed 2 years reserves.
1982-1984: James returned to Las Vegas where he auditioned and was accepted as the last drummer for the established band called Roadhouse to which they opened concerts and performed to support their albums. Roadhouse principals retired in 1984 and later
inducted into the LV Rock Hall of Fame in 2013.
1984-1989: James relocated to Los Angeles to begin a tough music career and although there were many ups and downs, James began a successful music career as a session drummer/percussionist and backup singer. James also continued to perform in various showrooms in Las Vegas throughout his career and his credits include working with various record labels including RCA Records, booking agencies including the national GMA Agency as a national touring artist and voice over talent.
(pictured right on tour circa 1985)
1991: James finally hung up his sticks and eventually purchased a Florida based corporation where he and his wife would have and raise a family. August of 2004, James was in the wrong place a bolt of lightning hit a tree near James and presented him with partial paralysis on his left side. This partially affected James speech due to tongue weakness from the electrocution causing which thankfully was a temporary neurological disruption from the brain. In 2005 after months of physical rehab and seeing his speech therapist, James regained 100% mobility and speech. James sold his corporation that year and would travel as a business consultant/trainer throughout the United States only to feel the music itch coming back.
2011: James decided to return to music to perform the music he missed and now needed, that was the jazz standards. As a businessman, James researched the industry for a few years so as to understand the industry's changes, after his 25-year break, and didn't like what he learned, heard and saw. Time had taken its toll on James' drumming chops, but he still had his voice. James never considered himself a real vocalist until the response to his recordings. For fun, James decided to record 6 songs as a last testament to his life in music, made copies and marked them with a black marker to share with his family and friends and that's when things changed. His father, Jack, had asked James to record some of his favorite Sinatra torch song arrangements and was very happy because he knew that James had a unique voice. Father and son worked and shared thoughts and song choices and bonded like never before.
2012: James' family ways and music upbringing in Vegas as a professional drummer had unknowingly given this blue-eyed Saggitarian phenomenal natural phrasing. With encouragement from his family and friends, James entered a Sinatra Idol contest in Frank Sinatra's hometown of Hoboken NJ. Even though James is not an impersonator, not only did he win, he received the only perfect score from all 5 judges. This presented James with prizes, a performance agreement and returned him to the studio, which James sorely missed after a 25-year absence. This win ultimately brought James back into the music business and to the stage. After 2 years of performing as a vocalist in theatres, supper clubs and corporate events, James felt the need to further develop his voice and decided to take off for over two years for professional vocal training, beginning Dec 2014.
2015 and 2016: Sadly, James' father passed January 12th, 2015. In honor of his father, James made the decision to continue his trek and began working with Opera and Vocal Coaches over the next 2 years so as to strengthen his vocal ability, breath control and expand his range to gain proper vocal technique. This began with training from International Opera Vocalist Amanda Fish within the Washington, DC area and finished with American Idol coach, Per Bristow and his vocal school. After over two years of rigorous and disciplined vocal exercises, James is now in complete control of his voice.
August 2015, James receives a call from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and offered a contract to perform for our U.S. Congress with his swing big band on Capitol Hill to provide Las Vegas style entertainment and sing the songs of Frank Sinatra. He is immediately a smash hit on the Hill and in June 2016, James was requested to perform on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Senate Members who heard James the year before, James accepted. In honor of his father, James performs known and unique not well-known song arrangements of Frank Sinatra, R&B and Jazz Blues songs from the Great American Songbook. James' father would have been proud.
2017: James debuts and performs in Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget in the showroom, February on and was well received by the ticket holders and other vocalists alike. Wayne Newton states that James has such a unique voice and compares it to have similar traits and delivery as Sinatra.
James is now working with high-level industry professionals to arrange and rearrange new music. Friend Johnny Colianni (pianist to the late Mel Torme' and Les Paul), performed together and the pair met together in New York City to discuss future events and a new arrangement for a fabulous dynamic 22-26 piece big band song with strings. The melody and lyrics were written by Terry and Mike Graves (father and son). Terry Graves formally of Capitol Records and Mike Graves formally of Warner Bros set the tone for the song but James and Johnny turned it into a magical arrangement with beautiful dynamics throughout the song and is now complete and ready to enter the recording studio soon.
James Anthony is one of the last real Torch Singers to perform the classic saloon style torch songs with phrasing that will touch your emotions and will perform the beautiful ballads and Broadway songs that will touch your heart with his warm baritone voice.
James now resides in the Washington, DC area and continues to work with nationally acclaimed artists and the finest musicians and performers across the USA. Folks, please join the mailing list and we will send an email blast when we are in your area.
If have questions and/or if you are a performance venue needing more information, please send an email to JDempsey@LoveItProductions.com
Las Vegas 2017 With Wayne Newton and Andrea Tyler
To live is to feel! To perform is to feel life!