James Ingram, the soulful, smooth voice behind R&B hits like “Just Once” and “I Don’t Have The Heart,” has died at the age of 66.
Ingram’s longtime friend and creative partner, Debbie Allen, confirmed the news of his passing Tuesday when he tweeted, “I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir. 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, an Ohio native, got his start as a musician with the band Revelation Funk and later played keyboards for Ray Charles. He was nominated for 14 Grammy Awards, winning for best male R&B performance for his song “One Hundred Ways” in 1981 and best R&B performance for a duo or group in 1985 for “Yah Mo B.”
His duet with Patti Austin, “How Do You Keep the Music Playing,” earned an Oscar nomination for best original song in 1983. Over the course of his career, Ingram also had successful collaborations with Linda Rondstadt, Quincy Jones, Barry White and Dolly Parton.
He co-wrote Michael Jackson’s hit song “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” with Jones. Ingram was also nominated for two Golden Globe Awards one in 1994 for best original song for “The Day I Fall in Love” and again in the same category the following year for “Look What Love Has Done.”