Will Downing

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Will Downing
Birth nameWilfred Downing
Born(1963-11-29) November 29, 1963 (age 50)
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
GenresR&B, soul, neo soul, jazz
OccupationsSinger-Songwriter, Musician producer
Years active1988–present
LabelsPeak, Hip-O, GRP, Mercury, Motown, PolyGram Records, Island, Sophisticated Soul Records
Websitewww.WillDowning.com
 
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Will Downing
Birth nameWilfred Downing
Born(1963-11-29) November 29, 1963 (age 50)
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
GenresR&B, soul, neo soul, jazz
OccupationsSinger-Songwriter, Musician producer
Years active1988–present
LabelsPeak, Hip-O, GRP, Mercury, Motown, PolyGram Records, Island, Sophisticated Soul Records
Websitewww.WillDowning.com

Will Downing (born Wilfred Downing, November 29, 1963, Brooklyn, New York),[1] is an American singer-songwriter and producer. Downing is known in the contemporary jazz and R&B music genres for his rich baritone vocals, and his interpretations of R&B and pop classics that stretch back to the early 1980s. Downing is married to singer Audrey Wheeler, who has collaborated with various musicians as a back-up singer.

Biography[edit]

Downing enrolled in Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York. Alumni of the school include record label executives Clive Davis ( who founded Arista Records) and Kedar Massenburg (who later became president of Motown), as well as Academy Award actress and Grammy Award winning singer Barbra Streisand.[2] Downing, who eventually recorded for Motown, graduated with Massenburg in the class of 1981. Downing then attended college at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. In the mid-1980s he moved back to New York City, and worked on albums by Jennifer Holiday, Kool & the Gang, Gerald Albright, Billy Ocean, Regina Belle and Mica Paris. Later he sang with Arthur Baker's group, Wally 'Jump' Junior.[1] Downing then used Baker as a producer after he signed with Island Records. In 1988, Downing signed a recording contract with 4th & Broadway Records, and his first solo album, Will Downing, was released that same year. His version of the John Coltrane piece, "A Love Supreme",[1] reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart.[3] Downing stayed with 4th & Broadway for just one album and switched to Island Records for his second release, Come Together As One (1989).[1] Switching labels to Mercury for his fourth outing, 1993's Love's the Place to Be, Downing scored his best-selling album to date with about 235,000 copies sold in the United States and over 300,000 copies in the UK.[4] He remained with Mercury for two more albums, Moods in 1995 and Invitation Only in 1997, both of which sold well.[1] All the Man You Need received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Traditional R&B Album in 2000. In 2002, Downing received the International Association of African-American Music Diamond Award.[5]

In December 2006, Downing suffered from polymyositis.[1] Despite the debilitating aspects of the disease, he worked towards releasing a new album in 2010.[6] Love, Lust, & Lies: An Audio Novel was released in September that year.[1] Beyond performing, Downing is a spokesperson for the American Stroke Association. On tour, he conducts the charity bowling event, Strike Against Stroke, to raise funds towards awareness and education in the African American community, which is disproportionately affected. The American Heart Association recognized Downing for his efforts, honoring him as a Celebrity Ambassador. He is also a keen photographer, and self-published the 2005 coffee table book Unveiled Series I. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Selective discography[edit]

YearTitleGenreLabel
2012TomorrowR&BSophisticated Soul
2012TodayR&BSophisticated Soul/NIA/Eone
2011YesterdayR&BSophisticated Soul
2010Love, Lust, & Lies: An Audio NovelR&B, JazzConcord
2009ClassiqueR&B, JazzConcord
2007After TonightR&BPeak
2006The Best Of Will Downing: The Millennium CollectionJazzHip-O/Universal
2005Soul SymphonyR&BGRP/Verve/Universal
2004Christmas, Love and YouR&BGRP/Verve/Universal
2003EmotionsR&BGRP/Verve/Universal
2003Collection [Import]R&B, JazzUniversal
2003A Million Ways (Remix)R&BGRP/Verve/Universal
2002Sensual JourneyR&B, Jazz, Neo SoulGRP/Verve/Universal
2002Greatest Love SongsR&BIsland/Hip-O/Universal
2000All the Man You NeedR&BMotown/Universal
1998Pleasures of the Night with Gerald AlbrightR&B, JazzVerve Forecast/PolyGram
1997Invitation OnlyR&B, JazzMercury/PolyGram
1995MoodsR&BMercury/PolyGram
1994Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This with Rachelle FerrellR&B, PopCapitol/EMI
1993Love's the Place to BeR&BMercury/PolyGram
1991A Dream FulfilledR&BIsland/PolyGram
1989Come Together as OneR&BIsland/PolyGram
1988Will DowningR&BIsland/PolyGram

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Wynn, Ron. "Will Downing - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Will Downing - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  4. ^ "Downing, Will Study Guide & Homework Help". eNotes.com. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  5. ^ "International Association of African-American Music". Iaaam.com. 2002-06-07. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  6. ^ "Will Downing — Will Power". Abilitymagazine.com. 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 

External links[edit]