Kiwi folk singer Graeme James used to sleep in his car while busking Wellington's city streets.

"By the surprising generosity of complete strangers throwing coins in the case I somehow managed to survive."

Today, after years of performing pop covers, the Kiwi singer releases his debut album, News From Nowhere.

It's been a long road for James, who learnt to play the violin at age 7. After his dreams of becoming a classical concert violinist were dashed by shoulder problems, he picked up a slew of new instruments.

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In 2010 James bought his first loop pedal, which allowed him to become a one-man-band - and that's when he decided to take his talents to the streets.

"Busking was a natural fit," he says. "There were no required prerequisites. I didn't need start-up money or a fan base. I could just give it a crack and see what happened."

Not only did busking lead James to where he is today, but it also helped him meet the love of his life.

Unable to leave his instruments during one of his first ever busking sessions on Cuba St, James was stuck until an old friend happened to walk past with a group of people.

"I mentioned that if there were any musicians amongst the group they were free to play the instruments. When I came back this girl was playing my guitar and singing and so I picked up the violin and joined in.

'Busking was a natural fit. There were no required prerequisites. I didn't need start-up money or a fan base. I could just give it a crack and see what happened.'
'Busking was a natural fit. There were no required prerequisites. I didn't need start-up money or a fan base. I could just give it a crack and see what happened.'

"We ended up exchanging numbers and a year and a half later I asked her to marry me. But the first thing we ever did together was play a song."

His talented wife Zoe - who has her own band Fairlie - is now James' manager and joins him on News From Nowhere in a beautiful duet.

Formed by a backbone of song ideas created while busking on the street, the record features James' 2015 single Alive and his most recent release One + One.

Inspired by artist U2, Josh Garrels and Sufjan Stevens, News From Nowhere is infused with a folk, alt-pop sound.

This month, he's set to take News From Nowhere on a nationwide tour, kicking off in Christchurch on September 30 and reaching Auckland on October 22, before heading to Australia.

James will also be performing at summer festivals across the ditch and back home, including New Year's festival Rhythm and Alps, before he sets his sights on Europe next year.

For more information about News From Nowhere and Graeme James' upcoming tour, visit graemejamesmusic.com.