JAMES Cottrial could walk through the centre of his home town of Stratford unnoticed – but it would be a different story in Vienna.
That is because the born and bred Stratfordian shot to fame in Austria after winning the country’s version of The Voice.
The 29 year-old former King Edward VI pupil went from obscurity to stardom after winning the hugely popular talent contest back in 2009.
And James has not looked back since having scored nine hits in the Austrian charts, recorded two albums, performed in front of thousands, and even supported superstar Bryan Adams.
James, who is preparing for a homecoming gig at No.1 Shakespeare Street on Friday February 27, told The Observer how his Austrian stardom came about.
The guitar-playing singer-songwriter always dreamed of a career in music but while at KES he suffered a crisis of confidence, which led him to focus on his German studies – not that he was to know then what impact the move would have on his music.
Having undertaken a German degree at Nottingham University, it was while studying abroad in the final year that James found himself busking on the streets of Vienna and entered auditions for The Voice.
James said: “I had nothing to lose and just thought I should show them what I can do. I never expected to go as far as I did. Everything since that moment has been a dream for me.”
His debut self-penned single Unbreakable went straight to the top of the Austrian charts and stayed in the top 40 for six months.
James returns to Stratford – where his family still live – as part of his UK tour.
He said: “It’s going to be very special. Returning home is an incredible moment for me.
“I’ve waited so long to be able to bring all my experience home with me and play to an audience which is very close to my heart, including my family who will be there cheering me on.
“Some of the crowd may not even know who I am or what I’ve done, but I’m sure a lot of people can relate to my music and I love that feeling of connecting with an audience with songs I have written myself.”
James will be releasing an album in the UK in May, and hopes to repeat his Austrian success on home soil.
Tickets to the Stratford gig are £5 in advance (£6 on the door) with an 8.45pm start. Visit www.shakespearestreet.co.uk for more details.
With massive success abroad, James is now hoping to impress
back home. (s)
A face among the crowd in his home town of Stratford, but a well-known one on the streets of Vienna. (s)