J. Ralph

Josh Ralph [1] (born 1975), known professionally as J. Ralph, is an American composer, producer, singer/songwriter and social activist who focuses on creating awareness and change through music and film.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

J. Ralph
Born1975 (age 4344)
New York City, USA
  • Composer
  • singer-songwriter
  • producer
  • engineer
  • mixer
  • arranger
Years active1997–present

A three time Academy Award nominated composer, Ralph's professional career began when he was signed to Atlantic Records at age 22 as a recording artist.[8] He is the founder of a music production company The Rumor Mill,[9][10][11] and has written and produced the music for Grammy Award-winning artists, symphony orchestras, the United Nations, and former United States President Barack Obama.[12] His music has sold more than 10 million records worldwide reaching the number one position on the Billboard "Hot 100" charts in over 22 countries.[4]

Music career

Ralph is completely self-taught[13] and does not read or write a single note of music.[1] He is the founder of production company The Rumor Mill. His songs have been featured in commercial advertisements for Porsche, Nike, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Chrysler.[1]

Ralph has recorded two CDs, The Illusionary Movements of Geraldine and Nazu (2005) and Music to Mauzner By (1999), the latter under the moniker "Spy".[14][15] He has also written for live performance, with 2008's "Fanfare for the Uncommon Ellie and Mr. Greene" performed by the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus.[16]

Described by The Hollywood Reporter as the "go-to producer of documentary film scores",[17] and by Indiewire as “Perhaps the best documentary composer working today”,[18] Over the last ten years, Ralph has written and produced the music for eight Oscar-winning/nominated documentary feature films including Man on Wire (2009),[19] The Cove (2010),[20] Hell and Back Again (2012),[21] Chasing Ice (2013),[17][22] Finding Vivian Maier (2015), Virunga (2015), Racing Extinction (2016) and "Jim: The James Foley Story (2017)".[23]

For his contribution to Chasing Ice, Ralph received an Oscar nomination for his song "Before My Time", performed by Scarlett Johansson and Joshua Bell. He received his second Oscar nomination for his song "Manta Ray" co-written and performed by Anohni. For his contribution to Jim: The James Foley Story, Ralph received his third Oscar nomination for "The Empty Chair", which he co-wrote and performed with Sting.

Ralph is the first composer in the history of the Oscars to have received multiple nominations for Best Original song that originated from documentaries.[24] Additionally Ralph is the first composer in Academy Award's history to write and produce the original music for multiple Oscar nominated documentary films in the same year and the first composer to have back to back nominations for best song in a documentary.[25]

On Saturday, February 22, 2014 Ralph and the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra in Colorado performed several of his works. including "Before My Time", which Ralph sang.[26]

On August 1, 2015, Ralph created the music for the Projecting Change art installation event on the Empire State Building in New York City to raise awareness for species extinction. The songs included "One Candle", written and performed by Ralph and Sia, and "Manta Ray" performed by Ralph and Anohniref>Roston, Tom. "Illuminating the Plight of Endangered Species, at the Empire State Building". New York Times. NY Times. Retrieved July 29, 2015.</ref>

For "Virunga, Ralph wrote and produced the song "We Will Not Go", performed by Youssou Ndour, Salif Keita, and Fally Ipupa. Ralph recorded this song in Bambara, Lingala, Wolof, French and English) [5]

Ralph was commissioned by Discovery Channel to write an original symphonic piece for Shark Week 2015 called "Theodora". The object was to raise awareness and money for species extinction, oceanic preservation, and sharks. Featuring violinist Joshua Bell, the London Symphony Orchestra and London Voices, the piece was recorded at Abbey Road studios in London.[27]

On January 5, 2016 it was announced that Ralph and Sting had written "The Empty Chair".[28]


Ralph has written and produced songs in collaboration with a wide variety of artists, including Sting, Sia, Wynton Marsalis, Liza Minnelli, Willie Nelson, Anohni (of Antony and the Johnsons), Joshua Bell, Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's), Ezra Koneig (of Vampire Weekend), The London Symphony Orchestra, The London Voices, The PS22 Chorus, Youssou Ndour, Salif Keita, Fally Ipupa, Sean Lennon, Philippe Petit, Dr. John, Devendra Banhart, Stephen Stills, Carly Simon, Vincent Gallo, David Garza, Ben Harper, Scarlett Johansson, Bob Weir (of the Grateful Dead), Aston "Family Man" Barrett (of Bob Marley & The Wailers), Matisyahu, KRS-One, Paul Brady, Bonnie Bramlett, Vashti Bunyan, Martin Carthy, Judy Collins, Lila Downs, Nic Jones, Norah Jones, Leah Siegel and Ben Taylor.[29][30][31][32][33][34]

Filmography as composer


  1. Block, Melissa (June 22, 2005). "J. Ralph: Ad Tune Master". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  2. Grobar, Matthew. "Making The Environment A Better Place, One Note At A Time: J. Ralph & His Oscar-Nominated Song "Manta Ray"". deadline.com. deadline. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  3. "ASCAP Café announces new performance by Sting and J. Ralph". parckrecord.com. park record. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  4. Neale, April (July 3, 2015). "Shark Week 'Theodora' Soaring Symphonic Score By J. Ralph Debuts". Monster & Critics. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  5. Feinberg, Scott (November 23, 2014). "J. Ralph Could Make Oscar History With Second Song Nom for Doc-Featured Tune". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  6. D'Alessandro, Anthony; Lynn, Cari (January 10, 2013). "Oscars: Reactions To Academy's Nominations". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  7. Cusmano, Katherine. "Sia's "One Candle" Lyrics Show She's All About The Environment". Bustle.com. Bustle. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  8. Kurutz, Steven (February 15, 2011). "A Prodigy's Second Act". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013.
  9. Sun, Rebecca (2013-03-13). "Oscar-Nominated Songwriter Signs With WME". Hollywood Reporter.
  10. "Volkswagen Adverts & Commercials Archive BIG DAY". Advertolog.
  11. "Volkswagen Squares". We Love Ad.
  12. "J. Ralph on Chasing Ice". ASCAP Playback.
  13. Rosenbloom, Etan (2012-11-23). "J. Ralph on Chasing Ice". Playback.
  14. "Illusionary Movements of Geraldine and Nazu". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  15. Bush, John. "Spy". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  16. Zuck, Barbara (November 9, 2008). "Soloists, premiere cap energetic night". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  17. Carlson, Erin (2013-02-20). "Oscars 2013: Best Song Contender J. Ralph on Scarlett Johansson's 'World-Class' Singing Voice". Hollywood Reporter.
  18. The Playlist Staff. "The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015". Indiewire. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  19. "Nominees & Winners for the 81st Academy Awards". Nominees & Winners. AMPAS. Retrieved February 22, 2009.
  20. "Nominees & Winners for the 82nd Academy Awards". Nominees & Winners. AMPAS. Archived from the original on April 19, 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  21. "Nominees and Winners for the 84th Academy Awards". Nominees & Winners. AMPAS. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  22. "Nominees for the 85th Academy Awards". Nominees & Winners. AMPAS. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  23. Light, Elias (January 24, 2017). "Oscars 2017: Sting, Timberlake, 'La La Land,' 'Moana' Vie for Best Song". Rolling Stone.
  24. Anita, Busch. "Oscar Nom Reactions: Saoirse Ronan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bryan Cranston, Sylvester Stallone & More". deadline. deadline.com. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  25. Neman, Melinda. "J. Ralph & Antony Hegarty's Oscar-Nominated Song Was Inspired By Singing of Extinct Bird". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  26. "Boulder Philharmonic Celebrates 10 Years Of BIFF".
  27. "Discovery To Feature New Music By Composer J. Ralph". The Hollywood Reporter.
  28. Sneider, Jeff. "HBO lands Jim documentary about journalist murdered by isis". The Wrap. The Wrap. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  29. Barker, Andrew (2010-11-18). "Ralph's score veers to the vulnerable". Variety.
  30. "Wretches & Jabberers Soundtrack". Wretches & Jabberers Official Website. Archived from the original on 2013-04-03.
  31. Jeffries, David. "Matisyahu Spark Seeker (Credits)". Crossroads. Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  32. Florino, Rick (2011-10-19). "J. Ralph Talks "Hell and Back Again"". Artist Direct.
  33. "illuminating the plight of endangered species at the empire state building". NYTimes.com. NY TIMES.
  34. "Shark Week To Feature New Music From Composer J. Ralph". Billboard.com. Billboard.
  35. J. Ralph on IMDb
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