Who is Michael James? The Story Behind His Journey to Country Music

Who is Michael James? The singer-songwriter joined us to chat about his journey to country music. Get to know the rising star here…


Michael James // Photo credit: Holden Barder

Quick Facts:

Full Name – Michael James Dupkin
Birthdate – 06/08/1999
Hometown – Massapequa, New York
Current City – Nashville, Tennessee
Musical Influences – Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, Bon Jovi, Anne Wilson
Current Single – “Good News” (as of date of article 7/8/24)

The Beginning:

As a New York-based company, we always love highlighting the rising talent that the tri-state area brings. Today’s spotlight article, Michael James is a country music singer-songwriter, who grew up on the south shore of Long Island, a place that’s close to our heart. We chatted with the singer about his upbringing, his journey to country music, and his new album that’s out now!

“I grew up in Massapequa on Long Island, on the south shore. My life was kind of always finding ourselves at the beach somehow. That’s why I loved that beachy, country sound when I found country music,” began James. “I also loved classic rock CD’s that my parents had in their closet. We’d listen to Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses. I was about thirteen when my dad took me to a Kenny Chesney concert, because he had just started getting into country. I honestly had no idea what to expect or who that guy even was, but once I saw him play at MetLife Stadium with Tim McGraw, Jake Owen, and Grace Potter, it was an instant spark of like. That’s exactly what I want to do. I don’t know how to do that or where to go to do that, but entertaining people on stage is what I wanted to do.”

James became obsessed with country music after that show. He resonated with that ‘beach-country’ sound that artists like Chesney, Jake Owen, and later Zac Brown Band and Florida Georgia Line do so well. “I’m not going to fake being a cowboy or a farmer, I didn’t grow up country, country, like people in Texas or Oklahoma, but there’s a style of country we can all relate to, just growing up in that environment on a beach. I just write what I know,” he shared.

The Turning Point:

Despite loving country music and knowing that it was his true calling, James hesitated to lean into it. “It was always in the back of my mind. I kind of went through middle school, high school, and even early college just being that fan. I knew in the back of my mind that I really wanted to be on stage, but I had such stage fright.”

He admired his brother who would sing covers and play guitar during open-mic nights in his college years. This led James to purchasing a guitar of his own. “I am the kind of person that goes all in, so I knew I was all in once I bought that guitar. However, I wasn’t going to say it out loud because I knew my parents would definitely shut it down right off the bat, because I wasn’t that good in the beginning. I knew it was going to take over my life and with time and practice, the songs started getting better.”

Armed with a guitar in hand, James used YouTube to teach himself how to play and write songs. “I started playing around Long Island a little bit. I would play backyard parties and post videos online, and I started to get good reactions,” he shared. Adding, “I think having the reactions to the music and the support starting to grow, that just gave me confidence to take it full time.”

Then two and a half years ago, James made the move to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue his dream.


Flash forward to today, James is writing and recording music in Nashville. He recently released his brand new project, a record called Good News, which features ten songs, including the title track and “God Bless My Mama.”

“The record is really my life over the past few years. I always wanted to be true and write what I was living, I never wanted to be fake, and it took me a while to figure out who I was and what songs I wanted to write. My life these past few years have just been a journey of faith, and I wanted to do it in a country aspect. It really is my everyday life, my faith and how it’s grown, and what I’ve come to know, and all the lessons I learned over the last few years,” shared the singer. “I can’t really fake who I am.”

Good News perfectly blends the singer-songwriter’s coastal lifestyle and love of country music with his faith. While “God Bless My Mama” is an ode to his mother and mother’s everywhere, “Good News,” is the song that was inspired by that interesting blending of genres. “It does definitely sit right between those two genres, country and Christian, and that’s the song I’m most excited for, and that’s why I titled the album after that.”

Another standout on the project, a song called, “Everything” shows off a different side of the budding artist. “This song called, “Everything” is like a live show song, and I love live shows. That’s what I really focus my writing on when I’m in writing rooms. I think how can we write a song that people relate to and has energy for a live show. I like upbeat stuff, I like energy. How do we bring the energy into the room right now, so that song is definitely one I would bring up on stage, and it’s just a wholesome live song to the core.”

Fans can anticipate James playing these songs out at a live show sometime soon. Stay tuned and keep your eyes and ears peeled for shows by heading to James’ website here.


Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news and announcements about future Michael James releases.

To keep up with Michael James follow him on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Michael James’ music is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.