James Ingram

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James Ingram
James Imgram 1998.jpg
Ingram in 1998
James Edward Ingram

(1952-02-16)February 16, 1952
DiedJanuary 29, 2019(2019-01-29) (aged 66)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
OccupationMusician, songwriter, record producer, actor
Years active1973–2019
Debra Robinson (m. 1975)
Musical career
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresR&B, pop, soul
Instrumentsvocals, keyboards
LabelsQwest, Intering
Associated actsRay Charles, Quincy Jones, Michael McDonald, Anita Baker, Michael Jackson, Nancy Wilson

James Edward Ingram (February 16, 1952 – January 29, 2019)[1][2] was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and instrumentalist. He was a two-time Grammy Award-winner and a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Original Song. Since beginning his career in 1973, Ingram had charted eight Top 40 hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart from the early 1980s until the early 1990s, as well as thirteen top 40 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In addition, he charted 20 hits on the Adult Contemporary chart (including two number-ones). He had two number-one singles on the Hot 100: the first, a duet with fellow R&B artist Patti Austin, 1982's "Baby, Come to Me" topped the U.S. pop chart in 1983; "I Don't Have the Heart", which became his second number-one in 1990 was his only number-one as a solo artist.

In between these hits, he also recorded the song "Somewhere Out There" with fellow recording artist Linda Ronstadt for the animated film An American Tail. The song and the music video both became gigantic hits. Ingram co-wrote "The Day I Fall in Love", from the motion picture Beethoven's 2nd (1993), and singer Patty Smyth's "Look What Love Has Done", from the motion picture Junior (1994), which earned him nominations for Best Original Song from the Oscars, Golden Globes, and Grammy Awards in 1994 and 1995.


Early life[edit]

Ingram was born in Akron, Ohio, where he attended Akron's East High School and received a track scholarship to the University of Akron.[3] Subsequently he moved to Los Angeles and played with the band Revelation Funk, which made an appearance in the Rudy Ray Moore film Dolemite. He also later played keyboards for Ray Charles before becoming famous. James Ingram received his first publishing deal with 20th Century Fox publishing company, which is where he sang the $50 demo for "Just Once".[4]


Ingram provided the vocals to "Just Once"[5] and "One Hundred Ways"[6] on Quincy Jones's 1981 album The Dude, which earned Ingram triple Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist.[7] "One Hundred Ways" won him the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his work. On December 11, 1981, Ingram appeared as a guest on the Canadian comedy series SCTV (which aired on NBC), singing "Just Once".[8] Ingram's debut album, It's Your Night, was released in 1983 and included the ballad "There's No Easy Way".[4] He worked with other notable artists such as Donna Summer, Ray Charles, Anita Baker, Viktor Lazlo, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole, and Kenny Rogers. In October 1990, he scored a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with the love ballad "I Don't Have the Heart",[9] from his It's Real album.

In 1984, Ingram received three additional Grammy nominations: "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" (his second duet with recording artist Patti Austin), for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals; the US Top 10 single, "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" for Michael Jackson, which Ingram and Quincy Jones co-wrote, for Best R&B Song; and the track "Party Animal" for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. In early 1985, he was nominated for his debut album (It's Your Night) for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, and for its single, "Yah Mo B There" (a duet with fellow R&B musician Michael McDonald), for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group, and won the latter.[4][10][11]

Ingram is perhaps best known for his hit collaborations with other vocalists. He scored a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 chart in February 1983 with Patti Austin on the duet "Baby, Come to Me",[12] a song made popular on TV's General Hospital. A second Austin–Ingram duet, "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?", was featured in the movie Best Friends (1982) and earned an Oscar nomination.[13] In 1984, he teamed up with Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes for the Top 40 ballad "What About Me?"[4] In 1985, Ingram won a Grammy Award for "Yah Mo B There", a duet with Michael McDonald, and participated in the charity single "We Are the World".[4]

Ingram teamed with American vocalist Linda Ronstadt and had a top ten hit in the U.S. and the U.K. in 1987[14] with "Somewhere Out There", the theme from the animated feature film An American Tail. The song was awarded the 1987 Grammy Award for Song of the Year. It also received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. It was one of the last million-selling Gold-certified 45 RPM singles to be issued by the RIAA.[15][16][17]

In the 1990s, Ingram's highest-profile team-up came again with Quincy Jones, on the song "The Secret Garden". This song also featured vocals by Barry White, El DeBarge, and Al B. Sure!.[18][19] Soundtrack songs were popular for Ingram in the 1990s. From the movie Sarafina! came "One More Time", and from City Slickers came "Where Did My Heart Go?" In 1991, he and Melissa Manchester performed the song "The Brightest Star" in the animated Christmas film Precious Moments Timmy's Gift. In 1993, they performed the song again in the film's sequel Precious Moments Timmy's Special Delivery. Ingram's 1994 composition "The Day I Fall in Love", a duet with Dolly Parton, was the theme song for the movie Beethoven's 2nd and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.[20][21] Ingram and Parton performed the song live on the Oscar broadcast. In 1997, he and Carnie Wilson co-wrote the song "Our Time Has Come" and lent it to the animated film Cats Don't Dance.[4][11][10]

During the summer of 2004, Ingram participated in the U.S. television reality show Celebrity Duets as a duet partner. The show combined professional vocalists, of various musical genres, with entertainers of different backgrounds in a weekly elimination competition.[22] In 2006, Ingram and neo-soul singer Angie Stone teamed up on "My People".[23] In 2011, Ingram joined Cliff Richard's list of special guest performers on his Soulicious Tour performing at various UK venues during November.[24] He sang two songs from the album with Richard, as well a solo of "Just Once".[25] In 2012, Ingram appeared as himself in the ABC television show Suburgatory, in the episode "The Motherload".[26] Also in 2012, he was a guest vocalist at Debbie Allen's October 13 live show at the corner of Crenshaw Blvd. and Martin Luther King Blvd. celebrating the arrival of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, singing R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly".[27][28][29]


James Ingram died on January 29, 2019, after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 66.[30][31][32]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Chart positions Certifications[33] Record label
US[34] US
1983 It's Your Night 46 10 25 RIAA: Gold Qwest/Warner Bros.
1986 Never Felt So Good 123 37 72
1989 It's Real 117 44
1993 Always You 74
2008 Stand 63 18 Intering
"—" denotes the album failed to chart, was not released, or was not certified

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Chart positions[34][35] Certifications[33] Record label
1991 Greatest Hits: The Power of Great Music 168 RIAA: Gold Qwest/Warner Bros.
1999 Forever More (Love Songs, Hits & Duets) 165 94 Private Music
"—" denotes the album failed to chart, was not released, or was not certified


Year Title Chart positions Certifications[33] Album
US[38] US
1981 "Just Once" (with Quincy Jones) 17 11 7 The Dude
"One Hundred Ways" (with Quincy Jones) 14 10 5
1982 "Baby, Come to Me" (with Patti Austin) 1 9 1 11 RIAA: Gold Every Home Should Have One
1983 "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" (with Patti Austin) 45 6 5 It's Your Night
"Party Animal" 21
"Yah Mo B There" (with Michael McDonald) 19 5 12
1984 "There's No Easy Way" 58 14 7
"She Loves Me (The Best That I Can)" 59 19
"What About Me?" (with Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes) 15 57 1 92 What About Me?
1985 "It's Your Night" 25 It's Your Night
1985 "America (The Dream Goes On)" (with John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra) Boston Pops: America, The Dream Goes On
1986 "Always" 27 Never Felt So Good
"I Just Can't Let Go" (with David Pack & Michael McDonald) 13 Anywhere You Go
"Never Felt So Good" 86 Never Felt So Good
"Somewhere Out There" (with Linda Ronstadt) 2 4 8 RIAA: Gold An American Tail
1987 "Better Way" 66 Beverly Hills Cop II
1989 "It's Real" 8 83 It's Real
"I Wanna Come Back" 18
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man" 30
1990 "The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)" (with Quincy Jones feat. Al B. Sure!, El DeBarge and Barry White) 31 1 26 67 Back on the Block
"I Don't Have the Heart" 1 53 2 It's Real
"When Was the Last Time the Music Made You Cry" 81 29
1991 "Where Did My Heart Go" 23 City Slickers
"Get Ready" 59 The Greatest Hits: The Power of Great Music
1993 "Someone Like You" 34 Always You
1994 "The Day I Fall in Love" (with Dolly Parton) 36 64 Beethoven's 2nd
"I Don't Want to Be Alone for Christmas (Unless I'm Alone with You)" A Very Merry Chipmunk
1995 "When You Love Someone" (with Anita Baker) 71 39 Forget Paris
1998 "Give Me Forever (I Do)" (with John Tesh) 66 5 Pure Movies
1999 "Forever More (I'll Be the One)" (with John Tesh) 12 One World
"—" denotes the single failed to chart or was not released

Other appearances[edit]

Year Song Album Artist
1982 "Mystery of Love"[41] Donna Summer Donna Summer
1985 "We Are the World"[4] We Are the World USA for Africa
1992 "One More Time" Sarafina! Original Soundtrack[42]
1994 "Just Once" (live version) Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume III[43]
1997 "Wish You Were Here"[44] If I Had My Way Nancy Wilson
1997 "Our Time Has Come"[45] Cats Don't Dance with Carnie Wilson
1999 "What U Give U Get Back"[46] Eye II Eye Scorpions
2000 "What About Me?"[4] Kenny Rogers & Friends Kenny Rogers
2001 "One Gift" In the Spirit: A Christmas Album[47] Michael McDonald
2001 "If You Really Need Me Now"[48] On the Way to Love Patti Austin


Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Ingram has won two Grammy Awards out of fourteen nominations.[50]

Year Nominated work Category Result
1982 James Ingram Best New Artist Nominated
"Just Once" Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
"One Hundred Ways" Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Won
1984 "How You Do Keep the Music Playing?" (with Patti Austin) Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Nominated
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" Best R&B Song (songwriting with Quincy Jones) Nominated
"Party Animal" Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Nominated
1985 "Yah Mo B There" (with Michael McDonald) Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Won
Best R&B Song (songwriting with Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton and Michael McDonald) Nominated
It's Your Night Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Nominated
1988 "Somewhere Out There" (with Linda Ronstadt) Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Nominated
1991 "I Don't Have the Heart" Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
"The Secret Garden" (with Al B. Sure, El DeBarge and Barry White) Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Nominated
1995 "The Day I Fall in Love" Best Song Written for Visual Media (songwriting with Cliff Magness and Carole Bayer Sager) Nominated
1996 "When You Love Someone" (with Anita Baker) Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Nominated

Academy Award nominations[edit]

Golden Globe Award nominations[edit]

  • 1994: Best Original Song for "The Day I Fall in Love" (shared with Cliff Magness and Carole Bayer Sager)[52]
  • 1995: Best Original Song for "Look What Love Has Done" (shared with Carole Bayer Sager, James Newton Howard, and Patty Smyth)[53]


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  29. ^ Rod, Pyle. "Newly Opened Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhibit Thrills California Crowds". Space.com. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
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External links[edit]