South Windsor Teen Wins New England RADAR Music Award

Originally published on

Local singer/songwriter James MacPherson was one of three talented young performers who won the 2016 New England RADAR (Rising Artist Detection and Recognition) Award on February 27, 2016, at a competition at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston.

The competition, sponsored by, attracted 2,000 young regional artists, but only nine finalists were chosen to perform in Boston for a panel of judges, as well as host Charlie Farren from FARRENHEIT and The Joe Perry Project. The top three — James MacPherson, Rodolfo Arteaga, and the band Playing With Fire — were chosen as the “RADAR Class of 2016.” As a RADAR award winner, James will be participating in a year-long honor including performances, coaching and marketing opportunities, and a chance to give back to his community.

Singer/songwriter judge Sarah Barrios, also a Connecticut musician and past RADAR award winner, said she was “looking for a songwriter that not only brings presence, rawness and soul to their music, but also has interesting lyrics and interesting chord progressions — that’s a really important package. I thought James did a fantastic job encompassing all of that.”, founded by writer Laura Lamere, is a non-profit organization that strives to identify and promote musicians under 21 who are making music of uncommon quality and promise. Their mission is to provide young musicians with accessible learning opportunities that drive artistic growth and empower self-expression.

James has been passionate about music since his childhood, writing soulful songs that belied his years and mastering an array of instruments. His parents, also musicians, encouraged his natural abilities: He was playing bass guitar by age 8, soon after began guitar lessons and as a preteen was already performing and recording his songs in his home recording studio.

At 13, James made his professional debut on ukulele, performing an original song for hundreds of people at a local benefit concert honoring his first musical mentor, Steve Shore. At 16, he was interviewed by Erika Arias and Logan Byrnes and performed live on CT’s Fox News in advance of his Wapping Fair performance. James has now recorded more than 30 original songs and has an impressive list of past performances throughout New York and New England, at festivals, clubs, theme parks, and many live music venues.

He is also lead singer and guitarist for the Connecticut band Bonsai Trees, a high-energy rock trio currently performing around the Northeast to promote their latest EP, “Live Free and Die,” a follow-up to their critically-acclaimed debut CD “Minimalist.” James is the primary songwriter for the band, which also includes drummer and back-up singer Nick Sokol and bassist Sean Millane. Their music has a wide appeal and resembles bands such as The Black Keys, Green Day, Nirvana, and The Strokes. Bonsai Trees is currently recording their next CD.

James will be performing both as a soloist and with Bonsai Trees on the RADAR Awards tour.

For up to date information, follow James and Bonsai Trees:
James’ Website:
Instagram: @bonsaijames
Bonsai Trees Website:
Twitter and Instagram: @bonsaitreesband




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s