Fox was born in Cardiff and grew up in Gilfach, Bargoed, in the Rhymney Valley, a former mining community in south-east Wales. Inspired by his musician father, Richard, Fox took piano lessons from the age of six, and later taught himself to play guitar, the drums, harmonica and mandolin.
Fox is a passionate supporter of The Bluebirds, Cardiff City. He regularly turns out for The Bluebirds' charity teams, and played in both of the Legend Matches which marked the team's last game at Ninian Park and first game at the Cardiff City stadium.
Fox's professional musical career began at age 15, when along with elder brother Dean he toured the South Wales working man's clubs circuit, in various Rock Bands, After leaving school, he worked for twelve years as a singer on cruise ships and in pubs and clubs, both under his real name and the stage name Nick James. During this period with his brother Dean he wrote his first song, "Miners' Town", about Gilfach.
In 2000, he formed the boy band Force 5 with his friend Kevin Simm. They worked mainly on Blackpool's Golden Mile, before breaking up when Simm joined Liberty X. Simm's management company Hyperactive signed him as a solo artist, and also a backing singer and guitarist for other artists. He went on to support Liberty X, Ultra, Worlds Apart and Wet Wet Wet, and also undertook tours of entertainment for the Armed Forces in Bosnia, Afghanistan and the Falkland Islands.
In 2003, he took part in the BBC's Fame Academy and took the stage name James Fox. He came fifth, but the experience presented him with new career opportunities.
Since then, Fox has represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest, toured the United States and United Kingdom with musical theatre and as a solo artist. He has also had two Top 20 hits, his Eurovision entry "Hold Onto Our Love", and "Bluebirds Flying High" in 2008.
Fox's first notable solo achievement as a musical artist was representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 with the song "Hold Onto Our Love" – which also featured his brother Dean on drums, It reached number 13 in the UK chart. He finished 16th out of 24 finalists with 29 points. Terry Wogan, Cheryl Baker, Fox and his mother all complained that the voting had been biased.
Following his performance of "Hold Onto Our Love" on BBC's Making Your Mind Up programme in April 2004, Fox was invited by Wayne David MP to sing the UK's Eurovision entry live at the House of Commons, and also to perform at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office 'Meet the Neighbours' Festival. He was also invited to sing live at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff. He and his brother, accompanied by session musicians performed the song twice on Top of the Pops 30 April and 7 May.
In 2004, Fox went on to play Judas in the Bill Kenwright touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar to good reviews. Consequently, Tim Rice recommended him for the lead role in the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp musical Movin' Out in America. Fox won the role, and made his début on Broadway on 6 April 2005. He later joined the North American touring production of Movin' Out.
In March 2006, Fox returned to the UK to take up the role of "Piano Man" in the European première of Movin' Out in The West End at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
Billy Joel said, via a live video link-up at the press launch at Ronnie Scott's jazz club, "I'm particularly pleased that the incredibly talented James Fox will be returning to home turf; he has been wowing audiences here, and he's going to continue to do so there."
Between October 2006 and January 2007, Fox rejoined the American tour of Movin' Out, taking time off to return to the UK for a series of gigs. After this, he returned to the UK on a permanent basis.
In July 2010, Fox took the role of Freddie "The American" Trumper in the 2010–2011 UK touring production of the Andersson/Rice/Ulveaus musical Chess, opening in Newcastle.
Fox has performed his original songs across the United Kingdom and the United States of America, including The Bedford at The Canal Room New York and The Regal Room in London, as well as in his home town.
He performed Stereophonics' "Have a Nice Day" at the BBC Wales Children in Need charity concert in Merthyr Tydfil in 2004. In 2005, he co-hosted and performed at BBC Wales Children in Need "Party for Pudsey" concert in Wrexham. In 2006, he performed Billy Joel's "Movin' Out" at the Breathing Life Awards for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which was also screened live on British television.
He has also supported a number of artists. These include Lulu, Wet Wet Wet, Natasha Bedingfield, Clare Teal, Honey Ryder and Will Young
On 18 May 2007, he performed at The Natural History Museum London as the support act for Tina Turner at the Bedrock Ball, a charity gala evening in aid of Cauldwell Children. The event marked Turner's return to live performance after a seven-year absence.
He has performed live for British troops on active service in Afghanistan, Bosnia, The Falkland Islands and Iraq on more than 160 occasions since 2000, as well as undertaking many charity performances. In recognition of this, he was invited to perform twice at the Royal British Legion Remembrance Day Festival at the Royal Albert Hall, in the presence of the Queen.
On the first occasion, he also presented a film highlighting the work of the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) for the Combined Services Entertainment (CSE) before singing Oasis' Don't Look Back in Anger
On the second occasion, he performed Anthem and was joined by the Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins for his last verse, and he also accompanied Chris de Burgh on electric guitar in the festival's closing hymn.
In May 2010, Fox joined The Bonfires as keyboard player and backing vocalist. The band have performed at The Toybox, The Regal Room, The Bedford and the Isle of Wight Festival.
In April 2012, Fox Joined Tenors of Rock, a heavy metal band composed of seven musical theatre performers covering classic rock songs in a heavy metal-choral styling. On 28 June 2012, the group played a gig at The Scotch; it was to be the only gig Fox played with them, quitting in that July because of other work commitments.
On 29 September 2012 Fox took over the shared role of Paul McCartney in The Beatles tribute show Let it Be at The Prince of Wales Theatre in London's West End. The show opened to mixed reviews.
On 24 October 2012, Fox formally launched his single "Landlocked" with a live performance, its profits going to The Royal British legion's annual Poppy Appeal. He was joined on stage by Jon Green on rhythm guitar at the Poppy Appeal Launch gig in Trafalgar Square.
In June 2013, Fox opened the Beatles themed tribute show Let It Be on Broadway. Fox was the poster boy, starting in the promotional video singing Let It Be in the style of Paul McCartney, and on sides of a New York City greyhound bus. Like the West End production the show opened to mixed reviews and closed six weeks into its proposed four-month run. Fox returned to the West End production before quitting in October 2013 after 12 months in the role to "Return to making my music, it's been fun, but I want my life back."
James returned to 'Let it Be' in the West End in 2014, playing Paul McCartney until the run finished on 20 September 2014
In 2003, Fox duetted and played on the co-written track, "In Your Smile" which appeared on Alistair Griffin's début album Bring It On
In 2004, Fox recorded "Hold Onto Our Love", "Needing You" and "Something About Her" which were released across two CD singles.
In 2005, Fox, with Katherine Jenkins, Andy Scott-Lee, Stuart Cable and a host of other Welsh celebrities, recorded a cover version of The Carpenters' "Close To You" the promotional video for the song it was later used as an indent by BBC Wales before programmes
In 2007 he released Six String, a six-track EP of original songs.
He wrote "Bluebirds Flying High" which became the official Cardiff City Football Club single for the 2008 FA Cup Final.
In 2008, "Higher" the lead single from Fox's debut album Rocking Chairs And Lemonade was released on his own Plastic Tomato label and on iTunes. The single later became snooker ace Mark Williams entrance music from the 2010 World Snooker Championship onwards. The album included the tracks from Six String, and five other original tunes.
Between October 2008 and January 2009, Fox co-wrote and recorded several tracks with Lucie Silvas for inclusion on her third studio album.
In 2009 he released Say What You Like on the Plastic Tomato label. In 2010 he recorded tracks released on sound cloud with The Bonfires. The following year, he re-recorded "Bluebirds Flying High" to mark Cardiff City reaching the Championship Play-off final at Wembley.
In 2012 he started work on his third solo album Everything But Here, taking time out to record a track on a project playing tribute to the music of Progressive Rock legend Eric Woolfson
In 2012 Fox recorded the demo for the track 'Fight The Fight' which was later recorded by Michael Ball.
in April Fox featured on a six track limited edition promo CD by The Tenors of Rock taking the lead vocals on three of the tracks
In June, he recorded "Landlocked", written by Fox himself with Pete Hobbs and Sir Tim Rice. On 12 September Landlocked was announced as the Official Poppy Appeal Single for The Royal British Legion. On 21 October, "Landlocked" was released and Fox formally launched the track with a live performance joined by Jon Green on rhythm guitar at the Poppy Appeal Launch in Trafalgar Square on 24 October.
In 2013, Fox recorded and posted on YouTube a demo version of the track he'd written to celebrate Cardiff City FC's promotion to The English Premier League after a gap of 51 years. 'Back Where We Belong'
One track by Fox appeared on each of the official Fame Academy compilation albums, Fame Academy: Bee Gees Special (Polydor, August 2003) and Fame Academy – The Finalists (Polydor, October 2003).
Tracks by Fox also appeared on The Ultimate Eurovision Party (May 2008).
"Hold Onto Our Love", the official UK Eurovision entry for 2004, was released as a CD single in April 2004 on the Sony label. It reached No. 13 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 7 in the Welsh music charts. The single also contained the original tracks "Needing You" and "Something About Her".
"Bluebirds Flying High", the official FA Cup final song of Cardiff City F.C. was released on 5 May 2008 on the Plastic Tomato label and iTunes. The single attained the number one spot in the UK national indie singles chart and the Welsh singles chart.
"Higher" written by Fox, Mads Hauge and Phil Thornalley was released on 22 October 2008, as the lead single from the album Rocking Chairs and Lemonade.
"Say What You Like", the second single from Rocking Chairs and Lemonade, was released on 27 April 2009. The single reached number No. 16 in the UK national indie singles chart. "Bluebirds Flying High" (playoff final remix) was released on 17 May 2010 as a free download.
"Landlocked" co-written by Fox with Sir Tim Rice became Official 2012 Poppy Appeal Single for The Royal British Legion released on 21 October 2012.
In December 2007 a six track CD of original songs entitled Six String (iTunes) was released independently by Plastic Tomato.
Rocking Chairs And Lemonade was released via iTunes and on CD on 10 November 2008. It included the six tracks from Six String plus five other tracks. As well as songwriting, Fox played most of the instruments including guitar, piano, synthesiser, mandolin, bass, harmonica and drums. The album received good reviews and being compared to Take That and The Killers.
In June 2012 TOR by 'Tenors of Rock' was given a limited release, packaged as a collectors edition promo CD, Fox sang lead on three of the tracks; Sweet Prayer of Mine, Tears in Heaven and Desperado.