Singer and songwriter James Ingram passed today at age 66 from brain cancer. Debbie Allen, who is a longtime friend Ingrams’s announced his passing on Twitter. Ingram’s voice blazed through some of the most popular pop and R&B song of the ’80s and ’90s as a solo singer and collaborator. The singer started his life in Akron, Ohio and later relocated to Los Angeles where he and his brother Philip, who was a founder of the band SWITCH, started their music careers. He was keyboard player who had played for Ray Charles until Quincy Jones called him about a demo he sang of the song “Just Once.” Ingram emerged as a singer on Quincy Jones’ The Dude album with “Just Once” and “One Hundred Ways” the latter of which he earned a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance. His first recognized duet was “Baby, Come To Me” with Patti Austin and then a year later in 1983 he won another Grammy for “Yah Mo B There” with Michael McDonald. Ingram’s voice could be full and soulful and just as quickly go into a very underrated falsetto range. Jones presented Ingram’s vocal strength once again on the Quiet Storm classic “The Secret Garden.” Their decades-long collaborations also extended to songwriting and together they co-wrote “P.Y.T.(Pretty Young Thing) for Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir. He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity. I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name.❤️ pic.twitter.com/TDJfpbbJWa
— Debbie Allen (@msdebbieallen) January 29, 2019
By the late ’80s, Ingram started becoming known for his work on soundtracks which began with the duet “Somewhere Out There” with Linda Ronstadt from the animated film An American Tail. The song won two Grammy awards for Song Of The Year and Best Song Written Specifically For A Motion Picture or television. In the ’90s, he had more soundtrack hits with Melissa Manchester, Dolly Parton and Carnie Wilson. He received two Oscar nominations for “The Day I Fell In Love” from Beethoven’s Second and “Look What Love Has Done” from the movie Junior.
Ingram’s last solo album, Stand (In The Light) was released in 2008.
There are no words to convey how much my ❤️ aches with the news of the passing of my baby brother, James Ingram. With that soulful, whisky sounding voice, James was simply magical. He was, & always will be, beyond compare. Rest In Peace my baby bro…You’ll be in my ❤️ forever pic.twitter.com/oZtA9h8uZR
— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) January 29, 2019