James in Eurovision song success - but only in Estonia

Internet fame: James 'Bagatel' Healless
Internet fame: James 'Bagatel' Healless

A Chorley dad has become an unlikely celebrity in a small European country, after notching up nearly 15,000 hits on YouTube.

James Healless, 52, who uses the stage name ‘James Bagatel’, wants to launch a singing career, and has turned to the popular Eurovision Song Contest for inspiration.

The dad-of-five uploaded footage of his rendition of Estonia’s entry, Rockefeller Street, on the video-sharing website last week, and now has 14,802 hits.

James, who lives in Stansted Road, said: “I think it’s great that my performance is so popular, and people have been commenting that it’s even better than the version performed by the singer for Eurovision.

“I’ve appeared on news websites in Estonia, and have been contacted by someone from a TV show to interview me.

“I’m really surprised by it all.”

It took James just three days to create the video sensation, and he’s now attracted a cult following in the small country near Finland.

He’s aiming to promote his own album through the innovative move, and chose to cover the song performed by artist Getter Jaani to establish a large audience.

“I’m just catching a wave,” he said. “A lot of people love Eurovision, and I think 95 per cent of my fans are from Estonia.

“I had about 4,000 hits in the first 24 hours, which is fantastic.

“It’s amazing how many views you can get from targeting the right people.”

At first, he put ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ in the title of his videos, but realised the current trend was for the European singing competition.

He said: “I chose the song Rockefeller Street because it suits my style, not necessarily because I was supporting Estonia.

“I play the guitar and sing, and I’m focusing on my music full-time at the moment.”

James has five sons ranging from age nine to 15, and he and his wife, who he’s separated from, have travelled all over the world.

“I’ve lived in the Caribbean, South Africa, Spain and America,” he said. “I worked on my music, but also dabbled in antiques to make money.

“I’ve been in Chorley for five years now, and have no plans to move again - unless I make a fortune from this!”

He added: “My next plan is to hopefully write songs for the Eurovision Song Contest next year.”

To find out more about James, search for ‘James Bagatel’ on YouTube.