Professional musician, songwriter, publisher & producer James, has played guitar since he was 12 years old. He graduated from the Academy Of Contemporary Music, wrote songs, and performed all over the world – before falling into yachting, completely by chance.
The Islander Magazine’s editor, Jens, a musician and music lover himself, was tipped by a fellow yachtie about James “Stretch” Williams. “White Collars Making Dollars” sounds like a song that Franz Ferdinand forgot to write and it was clear to Jens and the Islander Team that Stretch is the real deal. We then learned that we as a community can help James getting on the biggest festival stages of the UK this summer simply by following his account. And if we can help a fellow yachtie, why wouldn’t we? So go to Spotify and follow James Stretch!
Mia Naprta talked to James and he confided from which rough seas some of his song lyrics originated:
James met some yachties in Gran Canaria who were sailing to St Lucia when he had just finished touring with a band. He didn’t want to leave the sunshine and go back to the UK, so he ended up on a boat where the mast snapped in the middle of the Atlantic! Faced with this disaster, James quickly decided that sailing was not his cup of tea!
“I had more disaster experience in 3,000 nautical miles sailing than most have in a lifetime!”
He did stay in the industry, however, working as a sales manager, a commercial director, and finally a yacht media manager.
“A lot of my best relationships remain with people in the superyacht industry and I’ll forever be grateful for their love and support.”
James has released an album, “A Life on a Line”. This is the first to contain his own material. His style is a mixture of raw and distinctively energetic guitar -which comes across on the title track and “White Collars making Dollars”-, along with piano ballads, of which there are a few on the album. James’ influences are as eclectic as his style; from The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin; Guns‘n´Roses and AC/DC; to the likes of Phil Collins and Lady Gaga.
“Inspiration for songs came from a lot of the issues with addiction and lifestyle I had to overcome after 20 years of touring and yachting!”
Preparing for my chat with James, I listened to his music and was struck by some of his very blunt lyrics, especially in the title track “A Life on a Line”. Without giving too much away, I believe that many of us yachties can identify with “blowing steam out of the 9 to 5 grind”.
James found inspiration for his songs in the issues with addiction and lifestyle he had to overcome after 20 years of touring and yachting. He became a parent and didn’t get to see his daughter; “I was working things out, thinking about the relationships I broke, the trust I lost and the people that still had faith in me”, he explains. So, he poured many of his personal struggles into some great music.
Ultimately, James hopes to “write songs people relate to and that help them get through good times, bad times and sad times”. More immediately, he is trying to appear at as many music festivals as possible. He is lined up to play three in the UK this summer – one of them being The Isle of Wight, while the other two cannot be named till the official line-up is publically announced (watch this space!). He would love to play any music festivals in the Balearics too – Mallorca Live would be great!
“I can assure you, it’s quite a buzz when you watch 20,000 people know all the words to something you’ve written and sing it back – no amount of money can buy the feeling that gives you, and how nice it is for your soul knowing you’ve given so many others something they relate to and have engaged with!”
To make any of this happen, we need help from you, The Islander Magazine readers! Let’s support a fellow yachtie and cheer him on at festivals near and far!
Please follow James Stretch on Spotify, listen to his music and buy his album!
Mobile: +44 7880 203 407
Management company: We are Wolfpack Records Ltd
Photos: Personal archive
Album Cover: Mai Ling Wong
Text: Mia Naprta / James Stretch Williams
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