James Melton, a popular singer in the 1920s and early 1930s, later began a career as an operatic singer when tenor voices went out of style in popular music around 1932â€“35. His singing talent was similar to that of Richard Crooks, John Charles Thomas or Nelson Eddy.
Melton usually catered to popular music fans, singing romantic songs and popular ballads in a sweet style. 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.