J. RALPH (American born, NY; 1975) is a three-time Academy Award® nominated composer, producer, singer/songwriter & social activist from New York City who focuses on creating awareness and change through music and film. His music has sold more than 10 million records worldwide, reaching the No. 1 spot on the billboard top 100 charts in over 22 countries.
Honored by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for “Innovative and unique contributions to American music”, his professional career began as a teenager and was quickly signed to Atlantic Records in one of the biggest record deals ever granted to a new recording artist. Following his debut album, J. Ralph has written and produced the music for numerous Grammy award winning artists, symphony orchestras, The United Nations, The President of The United States, Barack Obama and more Oscar winning/nominated documentaries than any other composer in the history of the Academy Awards.
“Like no other American composer before him, J. Ralph has created in very short order, a stunningly unique body of philanthropically minded musical works” said Dr. John Troutman, curator of culture and arts for the Smithsonian. Described by The Hollywood Reporter as the "go-to producer of documentary film scores" and by Indiewire as “Perhaps the best documentary composer working today”, J. Ralph is widely considered by many to have had a profound impact on the medium. Mr. Ralph has helped create some of the most influential documentaries of all time, revealing critically important social issues and culturally defining artists that “along with his partnering filmmakers and musicians, have spurned governments to act and introduced or amplified for millions of people, concerns that have might otherwise fallen under the radar” continued Dr. Troutman. Over the last decade, J. Ralph has written and produced the music for eight of the Oscar winning/nominated films including MAN ON WIRE (2009), THE COVE (2010) HELL AND BACK AGAIN (2012), CHASING ICE (2013), FINDING VIVIAN MAIER (2015) VIRUNGA (2015), RACING EXTINCTION (2016) and JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY (2017).
For Chasing Ice, he received his first Oscar® nomination for Best Original Song with “BEFORE MY TIME” performed by SCARLETT JOHANSSON and JOSHUA BELL. In the history of the Academy Awards®, it was only the 3rd song from a documentary ever to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. For Racing Extinction, he received his second Oscar® nomination for Best Original Song with “MANTA RAY” which he co-wrote and performed with Anohni F.K.A Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons). The film also features the original song “ONE CANDLE” written and performed by J. Ralph & Sia. For JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY he received his third Oscar® nomination for Best Original Song with “The Empty Chair” which he co-wrote with Sting who also performs the song. In the history of the Academy Awards®, only 8 songs from documentaries have received an Oscar nomination. With almost half of those nominations, J. Ralph is the first composer to have multiple songs from documentaries nominated for Best Original Song as well as the only composer to have back to back nominations.
J. Ralph produced the 2014 Oscar® nominated song "THE MOON SONG" performed by Karen O and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend while accompanying the duo on guitar, from the Academy Award® winning film HER directed by Spike Jonze.
In the summer of 2015, J. Ralph was commissioned by Discovery Channel to write and produce an original symphonic work for Shark Week to raise money and awareness for species extinction and oceanic preservation. The resulting “Theodora” was conceived to reimagine what sharks could sound like. Featuring Grammy Winning violinist Joshua Bell, the London Symphony Orchestra and The London Voices Choir the piece was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios with over 150 players.
J. Ralph’s most recent work is the four part documentary series Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics & Men, the music for Jason Flom’s WRONGFUL CONVICTION, the Gloria Grahame biopic FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL staring Annette Bening and the Academy Award nominated documentary JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY. Other recent works are the music for the internationally award winning documentaries MERU, GARNET’S GOLD featuring his original song “UNTIL THE END” performed by LIZA MINNELLI and WYNTON MARSALIS and the Oscar® nominated documentary VIRUNGA featuring his original song “WE WILL NOT GO” which he performed with Africa’s music legends YOUSSOU NDOUR, SALIF KEITA, & FALLY IPUPA.
J. Ralph’s music encompasses a wide variety of genres and mediums and has been featured in the world’s biggest television events including The Olympics, The World Cup, The Academy Awards®, The Super Bowl, The World Series, The Grammys, The Emmys, The Golden Globes, and The NBA playoffs. “He’s one of the most heard artists on the planet” declared Esquire Magazine’s Genius Issue.
J. Ralph is a fellow of Yale University, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the only composer ever to win two consecutive A.I.C.P. awards. Several of Mr. Ralph’s works are included in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection in New York City and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington DC.