James Otto grew up in Ft. Louis, a U.S. Army base in rural Washington State. Although he messed around with the saxophone and fiddle at a young age, he really wanted to play guitar. When he moved in with his father at the age of 13, his wish was granted. After his father showed him a few chords, Otto couldn't put his guitar down and like many American boys with guitars, he began to play the instrument in his bedroom along with his Van Halen records. But unlike most young rockers, Otto was also drawn to country music. After exhausting all his rock albums, he learned how to strum with a more graceful finesse by playing along with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings records. In high school he gave up playing football when the rocking twang of the Kentucky Headhunters and Travis Tritt inspired him to devote his life to music. After a two-year stint in the Navy and paying some dues by playing in a few cover bands, Otto realized that he had to move to Nashville if he wanted to play country music his way. He surrounded himself with the best writers' circles that Music City had to offer. He soon recorded an album that fell into the hands of Shania Twain, and it wasn't long before Otto was signed to Mercury Nashville and opening for Twain on her 2003 tour. In 2008, Otto released his sophomore effort, Sunset Man, which housed the No. 1 single "Just Got Started Lovin' You."