Music icon, multi-Grammy-winner, and back-to-back Oscar nominee JAMES INGRAM inspires and touches the hearts of millions of listeners worldwide through his abundant gifts as a singer, performer, songwriter, composer, arranger, and producer.
In 2009 Ingram returned to his roots with the release of his first complete inspirational CD, the much-anticipated Stand (in the Light). Inspired by the plight of the Hurricane Katrina victims, Stand features new works and “Yah Mo Be There” – his legendary, Grammy-winning 1983 collaboration with Michael McDonald – and is a natural advancement in a career grounded in faith; blessed with the influence and mentorship of some of the seminal forces in American music history, including Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Stevie Wonder; and shaped and molded by Quincy Jones.
The Akron, Ohio, native went from playing local bars with Revelation Funk to Los Angeles, where he landed the types of gigs that most aspiring musicians only dream about: singing background vocals and playing piano for Ray Charles’ recording studio sessions; recording studio sessions and playing keyboards behind the Coasters for Dick Clark; and recording background vocals for his mentor, Marvin Gaye.
Then fate brought Ingram together with Quincy Jones and to a pivotal breakthrough in his career. Up to this point, Ingram had not yet surfaced as a solo artist, but after a chance listen to Ingram’s demo of “Just Once,” Jones quickly chose Ingram to perform both “Just Once” and “One Hundred Ways” on Jones’ upcoming album, The Dude. Released in 1980, The Dude was a multi-platinum international success and resulted in three Grammy nominations for Ingram: Best New Artist, Best Pop Male Vocal, and Best R&B Vocal for “One Hundred Ways,” for which he won his first Grammy.
After this stunning debut, Ingram’s much-anticipated 1983 solo album, It’s Your Night, surpassed industry expectations. Ingram’s talents as a songwriter and performer were tapped by some of the most celebrated artists of the era; most prominent was his “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” for Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982). “How Do You Keep the Music Playing” –performed by Ingram and Patti Austin – was featured in Best Friends (1982) and received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group as well as an Academy Award nomination in the Original Song category. “Somewhere Out There,” performed by Ingram and Linda Ronstadt for Steven Spielberg’s animated An American Tail (1986) also received a Grammy for Song of the Year.
The blessings of success have also allowed Ingram to pursue two of his personal passions: humanitarian work and composition for live theater. In 1987, Ingram was hand-picked by Quincy Jones to perform on “We Are The World,” the universal gift and legendary singing and fund-raising effort from the recording industry, which raised more than $100 million in aid for those suffering from famine in Africa. Ingram also continues to work with long-time collaborator choreographer/producer Debbie Allen on a number of musical projects.