Education and early life
James is a graduate of Kempner High School in Sugar Land, Texas, and attended Cal State Northridge. He was a choir director at Higher Dimension Church in SW Houston, TX. Higher Dimension church was organized on January 23, 1999 at Judy Bush Elementary School. Under the leadership of Pastor Terrance Johnson, Higher D has grown from 29 members in 1999 to more than 12,000 with 10 operative lead ministries and a host of sub-ministries that cater the needs of kids, youth, men, women, couples and singles.
James Fortune & FIYA’s highly anticipated debut CD, "You Survived" was released in September 2004. He was honored at the 19th annual ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards for his hit single "You Survived" off the same album. "You Survived" also peaked as the No. 2 most played Gospel song in the country and has remained in the Top 7 for the last 3 years. The radio single, "God Can" features Micah Stampley and upcoming gospel artist Zacardi Cortez. James Fortune received a 2006 ASCAP Writers Award for "You Survived" alongside some of music’s finest like L.L. Cool J., Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin and J. Moss. FIYA has been nominated four years in a row for the Texas Gospel Youth & Young Adult Choir of the year. They have been featured on Eric Carrington’s album, "Soar".
FIYA has been blessed to open up for various artists such as, John P. Kee, Kim Burrell, Stevie Wonder, Mary Mary, Donald Lawrence, Albertina Walker, Fred Hammond, Tye Tribbett & G.A. and many others. FIYA made their mark in the gospel arena when they participated in the "One Church Tour" with some other gospel greats such as Kurt Carr and the Kurt Carr Singers, RiZen, Smokie Norful, and Vickie Yohe.
James Fortune and F.I.Y.A.'s second project on Black Smoke Music World Wide (formerly World Wide), "The Transformation", was released January 22, 2008. The first single "I Trust You" is dominating Gospel radio with 25 weeks straight at No. 1 and counting. Because of its crossover appeal, "I Trust You" was No. 30 on Urban AC charts and No. 1 at WLIB in New York City.
In 2012, James was nominated for two Grammy awards for Best Gospel Album of the Year and Best Gospel Song of Year, and topped Billboard's "Best of 2012 Gospel Songs/Artists List".  In 2014, James Fortune released his first Live CD titled "Live Through It".
On an BET episode of "Lift Every Voice" host CoCo Brother, James Fortune is interviewed and reveals the history behind writing the hit song "I Trust You." In 2014, Fortune and FIYA released their first live recording, "Live Through It." The album was recorded in Atlanta, Georgia in front of an audience of 5,000 people.
In 2013, James Fortune became the evening host on 1190 AM WLIB, which was acquired by Emmis Communications in February 2014. He is on-air Mondays through Fridays from 7pm to 9pm.
In 2003 James Fortune pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child and received six years deferred adjudication. According to a civil lawsuit, Fortune burned his stepson leaving the boy disfigured with severe burns over nearly 50% of the child's body. In October 2014, Fortune was arrested in Fort Bend County, TX after a heated dispute with his wife, Cheryl Fortune, and was charged with aggravated assault of a family member. Fortune was later released on $20,000 bail.
- You Survived (2004)
- The Transformation (2007)
- Encore (2010)
- I Believe: Live (2010)
- Identity (2012)
- Grace Gift (2012)
- Live Through It (2014)
- Dear Future Me (2017)
- "ASCAP Nominations".
- "Billboard Gospel Albums Charts".
- "Album review: ‘Live Through It’ by James Fortune, FIYA." The Underground. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Damali Keith (June 26, 2012). "Popular gospel singer taken to court". Archived from the original on December 5, 2014.
- "Gospel singer James Fortune sued for alleged child abuse". theGrio.