BOLTON singer songwriter James Holt is getting used to making friends in high places.

Legendary producer Brian Eno and Abbey Road engineer Frank Arkwright are just two industry figures who are fans of the 27-year-old’s music and after listening to Holt’’s new single Little Green Light it’s easy to see why.

“It feels like a big explosion at the moment with lots of things happening,” said James. “As well as the single I’ve got a headline show at the Deaf Institute in Manchester.”

Describing the lyrical themes of Little Green Light, James said, “Lyrically, it explores the fading glow of the American Dream from an outsiders perspective and is influenced by The Great Gatsby.

“It traces the early-American ideals of freedom of opportunity, which encouraged many to emigrate there in the early 20th century, to the fulfilled dream of the moon landing. It’s a love song to America really.”

James’ musical achievements are all the more impressive considering he was diagnosed with bilateral moderate-to-severe hearing loss at the age of four and has since worked to overcome his disability by graduating with a first class honours degree and MA in Music Composition at the University of Salford.

“What first got me into music was my nan’s old piano in her house,” said the former Rivington and Blackrod pupil. “Every time I went round there I’d bash on it so my parents persuaded her to move it to our house and that was my first taste of music.

“I was born deaf but I was only really diagnosed when I was four. I wear hearing aids in both ears which are provided by Starkey Hearing Technologies in Stockport and over the course of my lifetime I’ve seen the technology progress so much that today they are digital and I can hear certain frequencies that are more common in music. I have long hair so it covers them so most people don’t realise I’m deaf but I know it’s an unusual thing.”

A huge Beatles fan, James wears his influences on his sleeve with a look and style that is unquestionably retro.

“I was 16 or 17 when I first started writing songs and I was aiming to write songs like them,” he said. “I adopted the way they looked too. Whenever I go to gigs and people ask me what my music sounds like I always say take a look at me! I’ll be wearing a paisley shirt and it’s pretty obvious!”

As for the future, James has some clear aims: “More shows and more singles,” he laughed. “Next year I’d like to release an album on vinyl. I’ve released CDs but it’s just not the same is it?”

James plays Manchester’s Deaf Institute on Friday, October 4. Little Green Light is available to stream on Soundcloud.