Matthews, a native of Lakeland, Florida is a Graduate Piano Performance Major at Belmont University. Despite many hardships after spending his first year of college being homeless, Matthews endured and has achieved numerous prizes in piano competitions including Honorable Mention in the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, and a Medal of Musical Excellence from the City of New York, given after his first Carnegie Hall debut in April of 2014. James has been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, People Magazine, NPR and BBC World News and has performed solo nationwide being known for his dramatic romantic music performances. In 2015 Matthews returned to Carnegie Hall for an encore performance with the music of Franz Liszt. The New York Post quotes Matthews as being a “Rising Star!” and he is inspirational to many for his faith-based determination in Christ and his love for music.