James Lawson originates from New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada. He attended high school at Waterloo Oxford D.S.S. in Baden. James began his acting career at a young age, performing lead roles in school and community plays and musicals. He performed with local musical groups The Community Players and Kitchen Waterloo Musical Productions. James would also perform music alongside the punk band The Dupes for five years, playing bass guitar and singing throughout the Ontario club scene. He later continued his career with special talent parts in both film and television in Torinto and Vancouver, Canada. He began playing the local pub scene in Whistler, BC, Canada and in 2008 released a solo album, Our World's Heartbeat. His voice drew indefinite attention. Lawson later released a second album the next year entitled The Better Far Away, in which he paired up with musician and producer John Wiebe. James would portray a Jail Guard in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, credited for this role.