James Ingram, the Ohio-born R&B singer whose soulful baritone voice dominated the charts throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, has died at the age of 66. TMZ reports that Ingram had been suffering from brain cancer.
Over the course of his career, Ingram achieved eight Top 40 hits, two of which — his 1982 duet with Patti Austin, “Baby, Come to Me”, and 1990’s “I Don’t Have the Heart” — went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Many of his biggest hits were collaborations, including “Somewhere Out There” from the classic animated film An American Tail, which he recorded with Linda Ronstadt, and “Yah Mo B There” featuring Michael McDonald.
The latter track won him a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, as did his 1982 song “One Hundred Ways” from Quincy Jones’ album The Dude. Ingram’s appearance on The Dude earned him three nominations in total, including Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Just Once” and Best New Artist. His partnership with Jones provided especially fruitful over the years; together they wrote Michael Jackson’s Grammy-nominated hit “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”, as well as the 1991 Grammy-nominated track “The Secret Garden”, performed by Al B. Sure, El DeBarge, and Barry White.
Ingram also co-wrote “The Day I Fall in Love”, a duet with Dolly Parton from the film Beethoven’s 2nd, and Patty Smyth’s “Look What Love Has Done” from the movie Junior, earning him back-to-back Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song in 1994 and 1995. Ingram’s other soundtrack contributions include “Where Did My Heart Go?” from City Slickers, “One More Time” from Sarafina!, and “Our Time Has Come” from the animated Cats Don’t Dance.
Debbie Allen, Ingram’s friend and longtime creative partner, confirmed news of his passing. “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,” Allen said in a statement posted to Twitter.