From Salford drug dealer and addict to now going for a charity Christmas number one, James ‘Shinny’ Davenport has had a pretty eventful life.
The 40-year-old, who describes himself as formerly ‘wild’ yet recently tamed, was addicted to every drug out there, from acid to heroin.
The father-of-two spoke of how he had ruined every Christmas with his family up until now because of his alcohol and drug abuse, and a revelation in rehab spelled the end of his self-harming ways.
Here’s Christmas Number 1 by Shinny…
While in rehab at Manchester’s Smithfields detox centre, James wrote ‘Christmas Number 1’ fully clean and with a message of hope.
Last December, purely fuelled by people power and social media, Shinny managed to get to number 24 in the UK music charts, supporting Robbie Williams at the Manchester Arena.
The video for the single was produced by renowned film and TV director Chris Green. It was incredibly popular and featured Bez, Tina Malone, Jody Latham and stars from Hollyoaks.
Despite receiving limited airplay, the single peaked at number 24 in the run up to Christmas and twenty percent of the proceeds were donated to MacMillan.
Oh hi kids it’s me again ??? for me it’s all about honesty and being open about how your really feeling.! Massive thanks for today @ilovemanchester unity is key ? in my perfect world all us human beings would be a more united humble & loving species.! Call me bonkers but at least I’m honest & bonkers ??? click @ilovemanchester @jamesshinnyd twitter for full link ???❤️✊? #shinny #recovery #honesty #positivity #humility #family #love ❤️
Speaking to UNILAD, James said:
The Christmas Number 1 is a message of hope saying never give up the fight never give up on yourself never give up with your loved ones.
No matter what there’s always a way through the dark times of your life and sometimes all we have to do is swallow our pride and ask for help and say we’re not okay.
The Christmas number one for me is me and my family. That’s my number one, and every single Christmas, every year, I’ve ruined it through drug abuse and alcoholism.
At the end of the day, I thought that’s what I was. But I really learned about myself through rehab and detox. I attend about five meetings a week from CA, DA, NA, AA. I work through a 12-step programme that teaches me to be honest, humble, not a cheat, not to use ever again and on the 1st December I was six months clean.
It’s been the toughest time of my life with the drugs, I nearly died many times, waking up in hospital beds, just destroying my family. Two families I’ve broken up, and by the skin of my teeth I was able to keep the kids, but it was the final point when the mum said it was the final straw.
It’s some of the darkest times, I wouldn’t expect anyone to understand. It’s like self harm for me when I pick up. I did well last year with nine months clean and I thought I’d be able to drink again. I tried in January in Cyprus for my 40th birthday and it took me four months to come back.
Next time round I might not take it back because I’m an addict through and through, not just with drugs and drink, everything. Every type of addiction, I’ve got it.
Rampage Jackson has sent Shinny his support:
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The backing that Shinny has from celebrities is uncanny. His Instagram is flooded with video messages of support from the likes of Jermain Defoe, Rampage Jackson, Gary Lineker, Jamie Lomas, Jools Holland, Marcel from Love Island, Dick and Dom, and many many others.
As has Jermain Defoe:
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Last year, during the huge campaign to promote the single, Shinny started an online group and was surprised by the popularity of the group (over 110,000 members). He labelled the broadcasts The Shinny Show Live, and they covered the very real struggles with sobriety and his struggle with alcohol abuse.
Through his Facebook page, Shinny promotes his music and hosts a weekly show dedicated to recovery, anxiety and depression called PMA (Positive Mental Attitude).
Speaking to UNILAD about his dark times, Shinny said:
I was suicidal, I was empty, I had lost everything. I was a functioning alcoholic. I always had it in my head it was the drugs would get me, but it was the alcohol. I drank throughout the night, I’d have seizures where I’d be begging my girlfriend to go to all night garages and get me gin because I was having a fit. I was basically like an old man saying ‘I need a drink’.
I’ve been arrested a lot of times, but because I’m an addict, I’m very good at manipulating situations, manipulating police, my mother even. I still find myself doing it to people.
He’s not interested in making money from this venture, Shinny is a self-described ‘man of the people’ and will release another single on New Year’s Day to raise money for Manchester’s homeless.
It is a subject he is extremely passionate about as many members of his group sessions have had first-hand experience of homelessness. The single is a cover of Heroes by David Bowie, and Joy Division legend Peter Hook is one of the musicians that have already confirmed to play on it.
Following on from the success of Christmas Number 1, Chris Green has again agreed to direct the video. The influential online group ‘I Love Manchester’ are among several community organisations that are giving full sponsorship and support to the track.
Shinny is aiming for number one (as the name of the track suggests), and you could either line the pockets of the music industry big bosses, or back this Salford lad in getting the top spot and giving all profits to seriously ill children through Wipe Your Tears.