Jim was born and raised in Singapore.

He began formal study of  the pianoforte in 1962 at age five, studying with Victor Doggett Music Studios in Singapore until Age 18. Jim looks back at that period with much fondness for Mr. Doggett whose mentorship instilled in him a deep appreciation as well as a critical ear for great music. Also pursued classical guitar studies with Mr. Harry Martinez from 1968-1972.

At age 16, he was accepted to Singapore's (and Southeast Asia's) premier choral organization, the Singapore Youth Choir and later the Singapore Youth Choir Ensemble. He was part of the group that won first place in the Youth Choir competition in the Langollen International Music Eisteddford in Langollen, Wales (1974). Remained in the choir till 1978. Whilst in the military, Jim served in the Singapore Armed Forces Music and Drama Company (a troupe of singers, dancers, actors and instrumentalists similar to the USO) for 1 1/2 years. During the 70's, he participated in hundreds of live performances and made many TV and radio appearances.

Jim moved to the US in 1980 to study Computer Engineering in Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne Indiana. Upon graduation, he moved to Midland, Texas where he worked in the oil patch for 7 years. Moved to Houston to join Compaq Computer Corp in early 1991.

He first read about the Chapman Stick in a Guitar Player interview with Emmett Chapman in the '70's and was intrigued. Later on, while still in college, saw a Stick while on a road trip around southern California and just had to have one. Visited Emmett at his home in Laurel Canyon. The demo that Emmett gave made enough of an impression that Jim quickly sold off his hitherto prized Gibson ES335 guitar to purchase his first Stick.

Jim spent the 80's and much of the 90's musically inert. Education, career, marriage and fatherhood took precedence. The Stick lay in the spare bedroom closet for much of the time, to be taken out only a couple of times a year.

In the late 90's, with interest rekindled by joining the internet Stick mailing list, Stickwire, Jim began the initially slow process of learning the Stick. Attending several weekend Stick seminars and countless hours of diligent study, he found himself making strides in learning this somewhat enigmatic instrument.

He began playing open mikes in the late 90's (long before he was ready) to gain experience, as well as add the impetus to push the boundaries of his playing ability. Long a believer in the motivational aspects of public humiliation, Jim will get on stage with no idea what he will play until he begins. Much of what he plays tends to be improvised anyway, so what the hey?

These days, Jim has developed a small following for his eclectic approach to this still novel instrument. He has entertained at several area venues including J.P. Hops House, the Crooked Ferrett, the Vintage Bar, McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Cosmos Cafe etc. as well as at numerous private parties.

Copyright © 2006 Jim M Kam, All rights reserved. Chapman Stick is a registered Trademark of Stick Enterprises