Thursday, October 2, 2008

Whatever happened to James Ingram?

It was in 1999 when James Ingram released his last album (The Best of James Ingram), and in 2004 when he and Patti Austin treated Manila to a jampacked Valentine's Day concert at the CCP open grounds. Since then, little has been heard of him or his new music, though his popular songs continue to echo in videoke halls everywhere and in FM stations catering to the helplessly romantic.

Ingram made a dent in the music scene by accident when he recorded the demo for a song Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil were sending to mega producer Quincy Jones.  The song: JUST ONCE.  Jones, so impressed, asked Ingram to record the track for THE DUDE, an album he was indeed producing, and let him interpret another: 100 WAYS. For his efforts, Ingram was awarded the GRAMMY for Best R&B Vocal Performance, prompting record executives to produce his debut album, IT'S YOUR NIGHT in 1983. Led off by the smash duet with Michael McDonald, YAH MO BE THERE (which is among the songs that received the most airplay that year, and earned for the singer another Grammy), the album boasted of many soul hits, including the much loved ballad, THERE'S NO EASY WAY.

Ingram is also known for his collaborations with other notable artists: SOMEWHERE OUT THERE with Linda Ronstadt, BABY COME TO ME and HOW DO YOU KEEP THE MUSIC PLAYING? with Patti Austin, and WHAT ABOUT ME? with Kim Carnes and Kenny Rogers. Could this be why he was invited to the American show CELEBRITY DUETS in 2006?

So where has the Soul and R&B singer retreated? Ingram now resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife and 6 kids, and is still much into music. Early this year, he performed in Indonesia during their JAVA JAZZ FESTIVAL. See a clip here of his performance:

But apart from all this, Ingram has recently been active with some spiritual work. In Indonesia, he also liaised with officials of the CHURCH WORLD SERVICE (CWS), and hopes to return for a special project with the CWS to benefit the "at-risk" street children of Jakarta. On the music front, the balladeer is following in the heels of secular singers Dionne Warwick and Regina Belle, who have added their names to the growing roster of gospel recording artists. 

The son of a deacon, Ingram already presented to his fans his inclination for the Church when he recorded YAH MO BE THERE (Yahweh, be there). Concerned producers who felt the track would turn off some listeners tried to convince him to amend the song title, to which the artist responded, "No." Today, Ingram continues to sing about the kingdom and the Creator, inspiring the masses with the release of his first gospel recording, STAND (IN THE LIGHT). Inspired by the plight of hurricane Katrina victims, STAND features new work by Ingram plus a reissue of his famous collaboration with Michael McDonald. Ingram's new CD, which should be out in January of 2009, is considered by many as a natural advancement in a career grounded in faith.

To pre-order James Ingram's STAND, click here: STAND.

And if you wish to know whatever happened to ANGELA BOFILL, click here: ANGELA.

1 comment:

Denis said...

What a disappointment !

I ran to the store as soon as I heard that James Ingram's new album was out. I had a listen and was greatly disappointed to hear that his entire album is one bible-bashing session. What a pity and what a waste of talent.