In his two decade recording career, Will Downing, 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 … it has granted Downing a solid musical legacy and a loyal following.
Downing had his first national exposure as a popular backing vocalist in the 80’s before signing with Island Records. He recorded two successful albums and had a hit with a cover of A Love Supreme before releasing his breakout 1991 album A Dream Fulfilled. It was a marvelous work 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, earning widespread critical acclaim.
In the 90’s and early 00s’, Downing recorded frequently on multiple record labels. He regularly topped 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).
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 record. He would later say it was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” but from this situation came five wonderful songs from a new album entitled After Tonight, including the album’s gem, God Is So Amazing, a simple, melodic testimony of faith during difficult times.
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. And in 2010, he issued one of his most ambitious projects, an “audio novel” called Lust, Love and Lies. It detailed a relationship going through various stages, with spoken interludes between songs. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
Looking back over the last two decades, Will Downing has established himself as one of the most consistent, soulful singers of his era and is today’s leading provider of romantic, soulful music.