WHO: James Ingram.
HOMETOWN: Akron, Ohio.
WHAT HE’S UP TO NOW: Still singing and performing all over the world.
THE STORY: A velvet baritone combined with a passionate delivery is a soul singer’s most precious asset, and James Ingram certainly has both. The Ohio-born singer is well known for his fervent ballads and his passionate take on love songs.
He got his start in a local Akron band called Revolution Funk. Although he plays several instruments, Ingram’s vocal talent outshined the rest, and he eventually moved to L.A. and became a sought-after session singer. From there, he came to the attention of former Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier of Holland Dozier Holland fame. He went on to work with Quincy Jones, who put him on “The Dude” album in 1981. Ingram’s solo debut, “It’s Your Night,” followed in 1983.
Since then, Ingram has become the go-to man for duets, doing two popular ones with Patti Austin, winning a Grammy with former Doobie Brothers frontman Michael McDonald for “Yah Mo Be There.” In 1987, he teamed up with Linda Ronstadt for “Somewhere Out There” from “American Tail” and scored a number-two pop hit. He’s also worked with music notables like Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Ray Charles. In 2004, Ingram was featured on the reality TV show “Celebrity Duets.”
He’s also a gifted songwriter – in fact, “Just Once” was an original composition that brought him to the attention of Quincy Jones. He also co-wrote “P.Y.T.” for Michael Jackson’d “Thriller” album. Amazingly enough, Ingram never thought it would be his voice that would bring him the most fame; instead, early in his career, he focused more on his songwriting.
Ingram continues to tour worldwide. His recent Facebook posting credits his father, a deacon, for much of his success.
“I have been blessed to perform in so many wonderful places around the world that have allowed me to encounter some of the greatest fans on the planet. Thank you for your continued support. Some of the greatest advice I ever received was from my father, which was ‘With faith in God and confidence in yourself there is nothing you can’t do.’ I believed him, and it worked!”
For more on Ingram, check out his blog here or follow him on Twitter @jamesingramsing.