There are a lot of singers making a name for themselves in the industry, yet Will Downing has earned recognition as a critically claimed singer due to his rich baritone vocals and unrelenting determination.
With over two decades over experience, Downing has crafted an impressive career filled with romantic music, love ballads and sultry vocals infused with smooth jazz. He spent quite some time in the 80s as a go-to backup vocalist, but this Brooklyn native had the talent of a star, which was apparent following the success of his 1991 debut album, A Dream Fulfilled.
A Dream Fulfilled was a moment of clarity in Downing’s career: a journey of discovering his true musical identity. The most innovative component of his debut album was the fact that he dared to allow his baritone vocals cover a diverse collection of songs, including Paul Davis’ “I Go Crazy,” War’s “The World Is A Ghetto,” and Angela Bofill’s classic hit “I Try”. Each of the songs were a new direction for Downing, but that led him towards the journey of self discovery in which he realized that his heart was aching to sing smooth romantic ballads.
When it comes to smooth romantic ballads, many have attempted to compare to Downing to his dear friend Luther Vandross. Like Luther, Downing can capture the sensibility and gentle vulnerability of a woman’s emotion, yet he puts forth a jazzier vibe. Downing’s ability to seamlessly fuse jazz and R&B has earned him a number of top albums and tracks at the top of contemporary jazz charts, and it even gave him the chance to do a duet album with critically acclaimed jazz saxophonist Gerald Albright.
Downing is a natural when it comes to discussing romance, and he surely understands that matters of the heart can be a tough challenge. Yet, in the same way Downing captures the essence of triumph in romance. He was able to use his vigorous determination to cope with contracting a rare muscular disease. In early 2007, he was diagnosed with Polymyositis, and the disease left Downing confined to a wheelchair for a year. The disease weakened his body and caused him to lose almost 100 pounds, but that didn’t stop Downing’s passion for music. Downing may have been physically weak, but his spirit and vocals remained a powerhouse. He devoted time to laying down tracks, most notably “God is So Amazing”.
Despite the challenges Downing faced, he was able to fully recover in 2009 and return to the forefront of music with a new level of maturity and sophistication. In 2009 he released Classique, and in 2010 he released Lust, Love, and Lies. The album was innovative due to the complexity in which it explored stages of relationships and infused spoken word elements in between the tracks.
There is no stopping Will Downing. His current project, Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow was recently released on very own label, Sophisticated Soul Records. The EP is broken up into three parts, containing four songs each that allow Downing’s rich baritone vocals to shine, while still gracing fans with the soulful complexities of romance.