Soul Tracks - Tracking the World's Greatest Soul Music

Will Downing

     
Will Downing

I like to thank SoulTracks for this feature.  The site is quite informative. Chris you reminded me of things I'd done that I totally had forgotten about.  To those who are tuned on to this site I invite you to check out my website at http://www.willdowning.com/.



WILL D "The Prince of Sophisticated Soul"



Web Sites:
Official Web Site

Biography

Women love Will Downing.  And men love the women who love Will Downing.  In his two decade recording career, the Brooklyn native has carved for himself a solid career as one of the leading purveyors of unapologetic, unabashed romantic music.  And while this has not translated to crossover success - or even to broad urban radio success - it has gained for Downing a solid musical legacy and a rabidly loyal following of, well...women.

Downing had his first national exposure as a popular backing vocalist in the 80s before signing with Island Records.  He recorded two modestly successful albums and had a minor hit with a cover of "A Love Supreme" before releasing his breakout 1991 album A Dream Fulfilled.  It was a marvelous disc that showed Downing not only possessed a fine baritone voice but that he was also was an excellent song stylist, deftly handling such diverse songs as War's "The World Is A Ghetto" and Paul Davis's "I Go Crazy" and providing a stunning, definitive version of Angela Bofill's "I Try."  Both the "I Try" single and the album hit the Urban top 25, and critical acclaim for the disc abounded.

A Dream Fulfilled began a period where Downing found his musical identity and was the first of a string of successful albums that focused on smooth, romantic music, mostly ballads.  Sometimes unfairly lumped with his friend Luther Vandross, Downing was actually creating his own brand of love music that was less urban and much jazzier.  And though Downing's songs were also more sensual than Vandross's, he shared Luther's sensibilities, singing to women on a truly romantic level that clearly went beyond the physical.

In the 90s and early 00s, Downing recorded frequently on multiple record labels.  He became a regular at the top of the contemporary jazz charts and released a number of solid albums (perhaps the best of which was his album of duets with saxophonist Gerald Albright, Pleasures of the Night) with only one miscue (All the Man You Need, his lone album on Motown and an ill-advised attempt at an "urban" sound). 

In early 2007, Will contracted a rare muscular disease, Polymyositis, which sidelined him for most of the year. It was a devastating attack, forcing Downing into a wheelchair for most of the year, and causing him to lose nearly 100 pounds. Despite the setback, he was determined to complete his debut album for Peak Records, After Tonight, for which he had recorded four songs prior to his illness. During the Spring of 2007, Will worked from his home putting down vocals despite severe weakness and fatigue.  He would say it was "the hardest thing I've ever done," occasionally moving from chair to bed to complete a vocal piece.  But out of this situation came another five wonderful songs, including the album's gem, "God Is So Amazing," a simple, melodic testimony of faith during difficult times.  After Tonight became another fine addition to Downing's growing discography, and "God Is So Amazing" stood as one of the year's best songs.

In 2009, fully recovered, Downing began work on Classique, a new album of originals and three cover songs, with producer Rex Rideout at the helm. The disc was released in June 2009 to positive reviews. And in 2010, he issued one of his most ambitious projects, an "audio novel" called Lust, Love and Lies, that detailed a relationship going through various stages, with spoken interludes between a very strong batch of songs. It was released to enthusiastic reviews.

Downing returned in 2012 with yet another creative idea: He would create three 4 song EPs covering three different styles: Yesterday would be a disc of covers of soul classics, Today would give the WD treatment to a batch of tasty new songs, and Tomorrow would take a look forward with Will's music. The three EPs were a rousing success and set the stage for a full CD filled with those songs and more.

Looking back over the last two decades, Will Downing has established himself as one of the most consistent, soulful singers of his era and arguably, with the unfortunate death of Luther Vandross, as today's leading provider of romantic, soulful music.

by Chris Rizik


Video

Comments

To a man I love from a far

I would just like to say that I love Will Downing'm music I love his music every since that day I saw him at his first singing apperence sing is new songs "Love Supreme"and "Wishing on a Star".Will Dowining has really had an empack on my life as a single parent of two with his song a "Million Ways"that tells how a reall man should treat a real women!I belive that Will Downing is the most soulful man I've ever meet and I hope "Will'sGrove"comes back.but at the same god will strength you and fightand sheild you and your family please don,t give up because you have people prayering from a far.
it is my honor to have meet you threw the year on your tours you were a very nice gentleman at all time will please keep your had up this will pass to .ms.v I will continue to pray for you

WILL'S VOCAL'S ARE LIKE A

WILL'S VOCAL'S ARE LIKE A COOL BREEZE ON A HOT SUMMERS NIGHT SOOTHING YOUR MIND AN COOLING YOUR BODY! HE'S A SONGWRITERS DREAM HE KNOWS HOW TO BRING MERE WORDS TO LIFE!
HIS MUSIC GIVES YOU THAT SEXY FEELING INSIDE AND I'M A FAN FOR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!! LATISE!!!!!!!!singer/songwriter Keeping my Dream Alive!

Hmmm. This is too much.

Hmmm. This is too much. Yes, he is back. You are right , his voice is like a smooth breeze on a summer night. I would like this one on a white sandy beach, with my love. He will make you fall in love over and over and....

Black Amethyst

The Prince of Sophisticated

The Prince of Sophisticated Soul! I love that!!

Check this video from 2006, A Soulful Christmas in ATL!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gJfO_yZ398

www.youtube.com/user/sistasuga

I will continue to pray for

I will continue to pray for you