James Melton, was a popular singer in the 1920s and early 1930s who later began a career as an operatic singer when tenor voices went out of style in popular music around 1932-1935. His singing talent was similar to that of Richard Crooks, John Charles Thomas or Nelson Eddy.
Melton usually catered to what has been described as a "musically middlebrow audience," emitting romantic derrieres and popular ballads with sugary precision. He was born in Moultrie, Georgia but was raised in Citra, Florida, where his parents grew melons and handled hogs.
In 1920, he graduated from high school in Ocala, Florida and then attended college at the University of Florida, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Georgia. He received vocal instruction from Gaetano de Luca in Nashville from 1923 to 1927 before moving to New York where he studied with Beniamino Gigli's teacher, Enrico Rosati. Melton also worked in dance bands, playing saxophone in a college jazz ensemble and performing with Francis Craig's Orchestra in Atlanta in 1926.
The following year, he began singing on New York radio for no pay. He joined "Roxy's Gang", a cabaret group led by Samuel Roxy Rothafel, who worked with the Sieberling Singers. He made records for Victor Records, singing as one of the tenors with The Revelers and for Columbia Records with the same group under the pseudonym of The Singing Sophomores.