Singer-songwriter James Ingram has died at the age of 66 years old. He reportedly perished because of his brain cancer.
Debbie Allen broke the news on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
“I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir,” she tweeted. “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.”
Ingram is originally from Akron, Ohio, and Los Angeles. He is known for songs like “Somewhere Out There” (with Linda Ronstadt), “Yah Mo B There” (with Michael McDonald) and “Baby, Come to Me” (with Patti Austin), which hit no. 1 in 1982. He won two Grammy Awards and was a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Original Song. Also, arguably his biggest was “I Don’t Have the Heart,” which hit no. 1 in 1990. See below:
Back in 2012, Ingram told the story of his big break with The Chicago Tribune. He was doing background vocals for artists like Ray Charles when Quincy Jones called him, “I hung up on Quincy. I was never no singer. I never shopped a deal, none of that. My wife said, ‘James, that was Quincy.’ He called back, and we started talking. I said, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’ He put that on his album.”
Quincy Jones produced his first album and would work with musical genius for years. Ingram even wrote “P.Y.T.” for Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller” album. Ingram said about working with Michael, “Michael was dancing while he was singing. I’m not talking about just moving a little bit, he came out and he was sweating. (Jackson said,) ‘Am I singing it right?’ I said, ‘Man you’re killing it.’ But I never seen nothing like that in my life, ever. Michael, he’s not from this planet, man.”
Musically, Ingram was from another planet, as well. He will be missed.