James Hurt, born on May 8, 1967 in Memphis, Tennessee in the historic Orange Mound Community, credits his mom for his early exposure to blues, jazz, and soul music. James became dedicated to the drums by age twelve. At age fifteen, James auditioned as a percussionist and was accepted into Watkins Overton High School of the Creative and Performing Arts. At age sixteen James did his first session as a recording engineer. Musically, James is genre bender who approaches music as a journey in sound.
Though James studied percussion while attending TSU, his harmony, counterpoint, form and analysis and applied piano instructor Dr. Donald Barrett, Oberlin Conservatory Alumnus, attempted to switch his focus to piano. Barrett exposed him to the classical piano literature of Bartok, Prokofiev, Ginastera, Liszt, Chopin, Gershwin, Legeti, and Rachmaninoff. James graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master of Science Degree in Computer-Based Music Education yet was determined to pursue creative music further.