In 2009, Walsh began recording his first solo album, working with American songwriter and singer Suzanne Vega, and making his first film collaboration with Powder.
Including his work with Starsailor, he has sold over three million albums globally.
Born in Wigan, Walsh grew up in Chorley where he attended St Michel's CE School. He started playing the piano at the age of 12, and by the time he was 14 he wrote his own songs; he enjoyed listening to artists like The Charlatans, Oasis, and Jeff Buckley. A shy and lonely personality, he looked for artists that had, or have, an influence on the musicians of his generation.
Eventually he was attracted to artists and bands such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, and The Beatles. Walsh was so impressed by the music of Tim Buckley, that he decided to name his own band after the title of Buckley's 1970 album Starsailor. He met fellow band members, James Stelfox and Ben Byrne, when he studied music at the Leigh campus of Wigan and Leigh College in Wigan.
Starsailor members Ben Byrne and James Stelfox had played together in bands in Warrington. One day, when their vocalist did not turn up, Walsh asked them if he could sit in with them and sing for this rehearsal. This was the first incarnation of Starsailor as a band. Walsh decided to play the guitars for the band after the "frustration over not finding a musician right for the group".
On 31 March 2009 The Sun announced that Walsh will appear in the movie adaptation of controversial rock and roll novel Powder by Kevin Sampson. He will play the role of the singer of The Grams. On 3 April 2009, Starsailor's website administrator, confirmed part of the information stating that "James had been in talks with the Powder author about providing the vocals for the actor in the film" and else adding that "James himself won't be acting or appearing, but might provide the vocals for the songs in the film". The film will be released in Autumn 2011, after a premiere on 19 May.
In 2009, he started recording his first solo album, working with American songwriter and singer Suzanne Vega. His first solo EP, Live at the Top of the World was recorded in Tromsø with a chamber orchestra from Norway, and was released in November 2010. He has also contributed to a mini-album Robotic Heart Foundation by Nikolaj Torp Larsson and Andreas Olson, after he met them at a studio when working on a film. Larsson and Olson have continued to work with Walsh on his debut album, which is expected to be released in 2011.
In 2010 Walsh has worked together with Belgian band Andes on the song "één dag meer" ("One More Day").
During June 2011, Walsh supported Simple Minds on their "Greatest Hits Forest Tour".
In April 2015, Walsh supported Mike and the Mechanics on their "The Hits" tour.
In the middle of 2002, there was a feud between Noel Gallagher of Oasis and James Walsh (who was initially musically inspired by the sound of Oasis). Gallagher had called the Starsailor singer a "cock" in an interview for NME magazine; something denied by the accused. However, when Walsh confronted Gallagher at the T in the Park festival in 2002, Gallagher claimed that, if he said it, then it must be true. Noel's brother Liam got involved, allegedly squaring up to Walsh on the same day. In live shows following this, most notably at the 2002 V Festival, the Starsailor frontman announced "it is nice to be good, and good to be nice". Gallagher went on to declare that the incident was "the most fun Walsh has had in his life". The feud was resolved at Glastonbury in 2004.
Walsh has been married to Lisa McNamee since 2003. They have a daughter, Niamh (born 9 August 2002) and a son, Cillian James (born 30 June 2008).
He is a supporter of Liverpool F.C. and used to play concerts for the other supporters and leave comments about the development of the team in his Myspace and Twitter.Live at the Top of the World EP (2010)
Time Is Nigh EP (2013)
Turning Point (2014)
"Love Will Never Let You Down" (2014) (Eddie Thoneick and Abel Ramos featuring James Walsh)