James Ingram, who in January released his first gospel CD, Stand (In The Light), ,talked with Heaven 600 AM personalities the Rev. Lee Michaels and Harold Pompey.

Ingram says that while many people believe this is his first foray into gospel, it isn't. He says he was raised in the church. His father was a deacon and Sunday School teacher, so faith and faith-based music have always been a part of his life.


For example, his first hit with Michael McDonald "Ya Mo Be There'' was a tribute to his faith.

Ingram says it was faith that took him from Akron, Ohio, to Hollywood where he would begin a career in music. He thought he was destined to be a musician, playing piano, or a background singer.

Instead, he says, others discovered he could really sing, a talent he had not honed in his youth.

That led to his musical ties with producer Quincy Jones, who introduced him to many established artists.

He worked with Ray Charles, Anita Baker, Viktor Lazlo, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole, Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers and others.

He also won several Grammys - one for "One Hundred Ways" in 1981 and in 1985 for "Yah Mo Be There" with McDonald.

So how did Stand (In The Light) come about?

Ingram was asked by TVONE and RADIO ONE artist Jeff Major to come on his show to sing an original song. Ingram recorded a track called "Mercy," which Majors and station owner Cathy Hughes liked.

"Mercy'' became one of several collaborations with producer/dance choreographer/playwright Debbie Allen for this project.

Ingram and old-school artist-turned gospel artist Howard Hewett will be in concert next month in Ohio.