32 YEARS OLD
Office job by day, singer by night. That's been financial analyst James McNally's life for the past 10 years. Now he's ready to throw the office job away. Gigging on weekends, then back to the office on a Monday morning was difficult.
"I found it really hard, switching it on and off, going from different worlds," he says. James grew up performing - at Newton's High School for the Performing Arts.He was writing and recording songs at 15 on a four-track recorder. Music was all encompassing - he spent
time as part of the "schools spectacular" program, singing in front of huge crowds at NRL Grand Finals and the 2000 Sydney Olympics and performing with such artists as Human Nature and Vanessa Amorosi.
In 2008, he tried out for Australian Idol, but was coping with his mother's illness and didn't progress in the competition. Now, he's ready to give it another go. "It really wasn't the right time for me," James says. "I'm such a different person now, so the struggles and issues came at the right time. "Coming into a competition a bit older and wiser is really lovely and I'm enjoying it. "And I want to be here a little bit longer than 15 minutes."
James' favourite artists range from Tina Turner to India Arie, Oleta Adams, Beyonce and Lady Gaga. He hopes the audience will appreciate his unique voice. "My biggest strength is my 'Unexpected Factor'. I won't do any vocal the same way twice. Everyday I get older, I realise how special that is."
Check out our exclusive interview with James McNally:Congratulations on making it to the top 12, how does it feel?
Surreal and overwhelming. I'm so grateful too.What's been the most rewarding part of the journey so far?
Going to Ireland and meeting James McNally.And the toughest part?
Not seeing the beautiful people that refuel me when I'm tired.When did you start performing and what spurred you on to apply for the show?
Around 12 years old. I really wanted to see how trying out without pressure would feel like.Have you bonded with any of the other contestants? What's brought you together?
I bonded with everyone and I'm closest to Amanda, so much so that she's just taken over writing this for me because my handwriting is so bad. What a friend!Who's your favorite judge and why?
Ronan because I thihnk he really connects with the sound of my voice and can bring a lot to the table regarding my performance skillsWhich artist inspires you and why?
Music is mood. There are so many artists that inspire me. But for nostalgic reasons ie my childhood, Tina Turner!Why do you have the x factor?
I don't think Australia has ever heard a voice like mine.So fast forward in time. You are the x factor winner. Describe what happens next?
I release the songs I've written since I was 16.