The 27-year-old singer/songwriter has ditched his traditional guitar style from his debut LP 'The Chaos and the Calm' in favour of the more pop-oriented tracks, 'Wild Love' and 'Pink Lemonade', on his follow-up 'Electric Light'.
And the 'Hold Back The River' hitmaker even chopped his long hair short and lost his trademark Fedora hat for his transformation.
Explaining why he's gone in a new direction to the latest issue of Clash magazine, James said: ''Ed and Taylor have almost treated each release like they're trying to break themselves again as an artist on the world's stage.
''So I'm treating this like that. Not just because I've lived this for a while now, and I'm still living it, and that feels like the smartest move.''
James recently admitted he is pleased his fans don't recognise him on his new single.
He said of 'Wild Love': ''I like that people don't immediately realise it's me. And it's true I have been listening to a lot of Frank Ocean recently. But also Bowie, so much Bowie, and LCD Soundsystem, Blondie, Lorde, Prince, Chance the Rapper, Drake. I suppose I didn't pay too much attention to all this sort of music when I was the version of me that made the first album, but I do now.''
While he's conscious his fans might have wanted him to make more records that sound like his debut album, he believes it's important he puts his own interests first.
He said: ''I make music to please my fans, of course, but I also make music for myself. Every artist does, ultimately.''
James says he wanted to dramatically changed his look too, just like his idols, the late David Bowie and Michael Jackson.
He said: ''When you make a certain sound and look your thing, it makes it all the more impactful to drop that and start with a new thing.
''So I cut my hair off and lost the hat. It felt only natural to me to tear that canvas down and put a new one up.
''That's where so many of my favourite artists, from Bowie to Michael Jackson, they were chameleons and liked to reinvent themselves.''
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