Books & Music

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Late R&B Singer James Ingram

We're sending our deepest condolences to Ingram's loved ones during this difficult time.

Legendary R&B singer James Ingram died on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the age of 66 following a battle with brain cancer.

Throughout his long career, Ingram recorded a number of chart-topping hits, including two singles that snagged the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100: 1983’s “Baby Come to Me,” a duet with Patti Austin, and “I Don’t Have a Heart” in 1990.

He also earned two Grammys and worked as a songwriter with a number of notable artists, including Michael Jackson, Pointer Sisters, George Benson, Ray Charles and Shalamar. His 1986 collaboration with Linda Ronstadt, “Somewhere Out There,” became the theme from the animated movie, “An American Tail.”

His friend and creative partner, Debbie Allen, tweeted about her loss on Jan. 29:

“I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir,” she wrote. “He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity.”

Here are five interesting facts you probably never knew about the talented entertainer.

Quincy Jones Helped Launch His Career

After singing with the group Revelation Funk, Ingram scored jobs singing backup for a number of prominent artists, including Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye. After hearing Ingram’s recording of “Just Once,” Quincy Jones called him. Ingram was in such disbelief that he originally hung up on the musician and producer. Jones ended up putting “Just Once” on his 1981 album, “The Dude.”

quincy jones photo
Getty Images | Matt Winkelmeyer

He Received 14 Grammy Nominations

Throughout his career, Ingram was nominated for 14 Grammy Awards. He won twice: Best R&B Vocal Performance for “One Hundred Ways” in 1981 and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “Yah Mo B There,” his duet with Michael McDonald.

michael mcdonald photo
Getty Images | Paul Morigi

He Was Nominated For Two Oscars

In 1994, he recorded “The Day I Fall in Love,” a duet with Dolly Parton, for the movie “Beethoven’s 2nd.” The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars and the Golden Globes. He also received nominations the following year for co-writing Patty Smyth’s “Look What Love Has Done” for the movie “Junior.”

Watch him perform “The Day I Fall in Love” with Parton in the clip below:

He Released A Gospel Album

Although Ingram was known mostly for his power ballads and pop hits, he released a gospel album in 2008, “Stand (In the Light).” Ingram’s father was a deacon and a Sunday school teacher, and the family attended the Church of God in Christ in Akron, Ohio.

james ingram photo
Getty Images | Isaac Brekken

He Was Married For More Than 40 Years

Ingram is survived by his wife, Debra Robinson. They wed in 1975 and share six children together.

james ingram photo
Getty Images | Getty Images

We’re sending our deepest condolences to Ingram’s loved ones during this difficult time.