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Will Downing

Throughout a career that dates back to the early '80s, Will Downing has been among the steadiest and most productive artists in R&B. Not cut out to hop aboard commercial production trends for the sake of attaining mainstream success, he has tended to stick resolutely to a sophisticated and modern sound based in soul and jazz. He mixes refined originals with spirited covers, and combines his deep and rich voice with a restrained "song first" approach. Downing doesn't have many major singles by the standard measurement -- his version of Angela Bofill's "I Try" is his only Top 20 Billboard R&B hit -- but he has been a mainstay of the urban adult contemporary radio format. Six of his albums have reached the R&B Top 20.

A native of Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Downing began his recorded professional career as a background vocalist during sessions for several acts, including Jennifer Holliday, Nona Hendryx, and Rose Royce. After he was part of Arthur Baker's one-album group Wally Jump Jr. & the Criminal Element, he signed a solo deal with Island and debuted with a cover of Deniece Williams' "Free" that peaked at number 48 R&B. Baker and Brian Jackson assisted in Downing's production of the self-titled parent album (1988), which had more in common with Loose Ends, Sade, and house stalwarts Blaze than with anything informed by Teddy Riley's new jack swing. It's most successful single, "Sending Out an S.O.S.," featured Audrey Wheeler, Downing's wife and frequent collaborator. The singer released two more albums for Island: Come Together as One (1989) and A Dream Fulfilled (1991). The latter, featuring "I Try" and a version of Paul Davis' "I Go Crazy," significantly increased his fan base of listeners who craved mature R&B and vocal jazz unaffected by hip-hop.

Downing moved to Mercury, where he released another trio of albums, and closed out the '90s with a Verve Forecast-issued collaboration with saxophonist Gerald Albright, Pleasures of the Night. An affiliation with Motown yielded only All the Man You Need, which was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Traditional R&B album. One deviation into twitchy, Timbaland-styled production excepted, it was the same old Downing through and through, highlighted by an update of Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands" and an original, "Share My World," written with Stevie Wonder. As with all of Downing's releases, an impressive group of musicians brought it to life. Its sessions involved the likes of bassist Pino Palladino, drummer Ahmir Thompson, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and, of course, Wheeler.

Reflecting Downing's clout in the jazz market, he found a home at GRP and, from 2002 through 2005, issued an album each year. The singer closed out that stretch in strong form with Soul Symphony (2005). Concord subsidiary Peak then claimed him for a few years, during which he suffered from a debilitating muscle disease that rendered him immobile and put him in the hospital for over half-a-year; shortly after he recorded his final vocal for After Tonight (2007), he temporarily lost the ability to speak. Following Lust, Love & Lies: An Audio Novel (2010), Downing released a handful of albums on his Sophisticated Soul label. He moved to Shanachie for Black Pearls (2016), for which he paid tribute to Phyllis Hyman, Jean Carn, and Randy Crawford, among other women who have inspired him. ~ Andy Kellman
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Chocolate Drops

1. This Song Is For You

2. Never Say No To You

3. Till U Come Back To Me

4. Let's Get Closer

5. Deep As The Ocean

6. Run Away Fall In Love

7. It's Real

8. Saving All My Love

9. Does Your Momma Know About Me

x

Track List: Euphoria

1. Turn Off The Lights

2. Too High

3. You Can Bring Me Flowers

4. If I Were A Magician

5. Meu Bem Querer

6. Lush Life

7. Heaven In Your Eyes

8. She's Gone

x

Track List: Today

1. One Step Closer

2. Sexy

3. The Blessing

4. Like Last Night

x

Track List: Lust, Love & Lies (An Audio Novel)

1. Glad I Met You Tonight

2. Feelin' Alright

3. Lust At First Sight(Conversation)

4. Get To Know You

5. Tell Me

6. Consensual

7. Safe In His Arms

8. Put Yo Mamma On The Phone (Convesation)

9. Fly Higher

10. Saturday

11. Guess Who's Back (Conversation)

12. Shades

13. Extra! Extra! (Conversation)

14. Libido Interuptus (Conversation)

15. Do You Know

16. You Do U

17. At This Moment

18. I Got Yo Back (Conversation)

19. Coulda Been/Shoulda Been

20. Deja Vu "Glad I Met You Tonight (Conversation)

x

Track List: Classique

1. Ride

2. More Time (Tic Toc)

3. Something Special

4. Just Think About It

5. I Won't Stop

6. Love Suggestions

7. I'm Gonna Love You A Little More Baby

8. Let's Make It Now

9. Baby I'm For Real

10. Statue Of A Fool

x

Track List: After Tonight

1. Will's Groove

2. Fantasy (Spending Time With You)

3. After Tonight

4. No One Can Love You More

5. Lover's Melody

6. Satisfy You

7. All I Need Is You

8. God Is So Amazing

9. You Just Can't Smile It Away

10. After Tonight

x

Track List: Soul Symphony

1. Put Me On

2. Crazy Love

3. What's It Gonna Be

4. A Promise

5. Make Time For Love

6. Soul Steppin'

7. Will Still Loves You

8. Superstar

9. Heart Of Mine

x

Track List: Emotions

1. A Million Ways

2. King Of Fools

3. Daydreaming

4. Falling In Love

5. Hey There Lonely Girl

6. Rhythm Of U & Me

7. Beautiful To Me

8. Another Sad Story

9. Riding On A Cloud

10. Anyhting

x

Track List: Sensual Journey

1. Cool Water

2. I Can't Help It

3. Home

4. Don't Talk To Me Like That

5. Almost Like Being In Love

6. Maybe

7. If I Ever Lose This Heaven

8. Drowning In Your Eyes

9. Just Don't Wanna Be Lonely

10. Brooklyn Breezes

11. Bolero Nova

x

Track List: Greatest Love Songs

1. Free

2. Where Is The Love?

3. Closer To You

4. Wishing On A Star

5. I'll Wait

6. Giving My All To You

7. I Try

8. I Go Crazy

9. Lover's Paradise

10. Sorry, I

11. Don't Wait For Love

12. All About You

13. Eternal Love

14. If She Knew

15. When You Need Me

16. Only A Moment Away

x

Track List: All The Man You Need

2. Summer Day

3. When You Need Me

5. All The Man You Need

6. Real Soon

8. Tired Melody

9. Grandma's Hands

10. Thinkin' About You

11. Only A Moment Away

12. Love Of My Life

x

Track List: Invitation Only

1. Island

2. All About You

3. Angel

4. I Don't Want To Lose You

5. Eternal Love

6. These Things

7. If She Knew

8. Personal

9. If I Could

10. Come To Me

11. When Sunny Gets Blue

12. Before We Say Goodbye

x

Track List: A Dream Fulfilled

1. She

2. I'll Wait

3. Giving My All To You

4. I Try

5. For All We Know

6. Something's Going On

7. Don't Make Me Wait

8. I Go Crazy

9. No Love Intended

10. The World Is A Ghetto

x

Track List: Will Downing

1. In My Dreams

2. Do You?

3. Free

4. A Love Supreme

5. Security

6. Set Me Free

7. Sending Out An S.O.S.

8. Dancin' In The Moonlight

9. Do You Remember Love?

10. So You Wanna Be My Lover

x

Track List: Black Pearls

1. Everything I Miss At Home

2. Don't Ask My Neighbors

3. Your Smile

4. Get Here

5. Street Life

6. Everlasting Love

7. Black Butterly

8. Nights Over Egypt

9. Meet Me On The Moon

10. Don't Let It Go To Your Head

x

Track List: Forever For Always For Luther, Vol 2

10. Superstar

x

Track List: Glad I Met You Tonight (Radio Single)

1. Glad I Met You Tonight

x

Track List: Love Suggestions (Radio Single)

1. Love Suggestions

x

Track List: Silver

1. Stuff That I Like

2. One Step Closer

3. Falling

4. Send For Me

5. The Blessing

6. What Would You Do?

7. Sexy

8. You Were Meant Just For Me

9. Never Find Another Love

10. Ooh Baby Baby

11. Only One

12. I Go Crazy / Wishing On A Star / I Try

x

Track List: Something Special (Radio Single)

1. Something Special

Comments

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Baby making mysic!
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Grown people's music for real.
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Will is the epitome of real class,this brother is for real and has been for quite some time.I had the pleasure to meet him down in miami years ago.I just wanna say thank you my brother and keep up the good work.I have everything you've released and will continue to listen.GOD BLESS YOU....
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I am glad he doesn't do mainstream. He keeps it classy and sexy and still has a fan base. I have been a fan since he redid "I try." He makes us baritone, chocolate brothers look good. Glad God healed him from his disease.
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I will be his favourite fan til I cease. Y
To be OJA of STL love his music
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Will, Will, Will.....his voice, his looks....wha t a complete package.
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Unsung next season.gotta listen to will downing...
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He is the man and from Brooklyn where you do the do
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So Sexy and Fine..... mmmmmm
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I created a station just for my man Will on my Pandora..... . . . . Will Downing Radio !!!!!! THE BEST OF THE BEST !!!!!!!!!!!
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My entire family loves some Will Downing! Smooth at its finest!
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I love Will Downing, his music is for the mature in heart, lovers of soulful music. Denise Scott
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Love Will Downing music
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denisecollie r 0 9
Yes!! Simply smooth music!
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So Mellow-Yea.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Amazing Vocalist.... h a n d s down!!!!!!!
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In. A class all alone
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WHAT A VOICE!!
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ebouler3
Smh!!! Dat boy will is da truth!! Yall beta no!!
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Wow! What a cut! Grown folks music!
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Sing to me baby!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Me Will Downing still put out beautiful Music, plus a Great artist to see in person...A true smooth vocalist!
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I was enjoying Will Downing when he had hair :-)
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Listening to your songs makes me fall in love with my hubby over and over again ! Please don't ever stop making music.
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My absolute favorite.... t h e r e is never any mistaking his vocals....sm o o t h and oh so sexy and he definitely is not bad on the eyes!
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Sexy voice love his music
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Love love love Will Downing! Will never tire of his music that I've listened to since my youth in the 80s. Praying for you gifted one. Blessings
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I love his music
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So disagree with the bio...never had the major hit?? There might be a bit of slight truth to that but as far as making great music with an awesome following, then you're missing the mark on the bio. And why must a major hit be the watermark of a great career? You don't stay around since the late 80's making music and there NOT be something about you. Will has it: in spades! Too many hits for his fans to recount. I met him @ the Blue Note in NYC 94-95; classy and gracious; like his music!
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Smooth soulful sound. Just a tidbit. I went to school in Las Vegas, Nevada with his niece Sheri, who was a set of pipes herself...
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Love this man
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fine
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Love his voice!
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nanjerbear
The perfect mix...a voice, the orchestratio n , amazing! He's the man.
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Frist, time hearing this singer he is very good.......
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Love Will Downing! Keep on doing what you do best!!! SING BABY!!! Prayers being sent your way! Stay Strong!!! Love you!!!
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Make me love again sir.
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Will is my ULTIMATE ARTIST
I would tell though he is a smooth looking brother(I like the shaved bald brothers) but his music Is the PINNACLE!!!
I write and sing cont gospel praise/ worship and am a novelist (not the Monica in his Lies lust ... ) but he has inspired thoughts with his music

Keep going brother!

Had to tell another sista at one of his concerts
I ALWAYS GONNA BE HIS LOYAL FAN!!!
Monica H
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I LOVE me some Will Downing! I haven't heard his Christmas music. I must try it out.
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I have always loved Will and his music. His music has a sexiness about it that reaches down to your soul. His Christmas CD is the best.
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Listen to his music always luv him!
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ALWAYS LUV, LUV, LUV, LUV, LUV, WILL DOWNING. I HAVE ALL HIS MUSIC.. LISTEN TO HIM WHEN I TRAVEL AND AT HOME WHEN WORKING ON THE COMPUTER.... THANKS PANDORA.....
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I have all his music
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Will Downing is a fantastic singer and has a wonderful groove to hismusic. i love listening to him. Deborah
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Will Downing voice us 1 in a million. He's voice is soothing and sensual. As soon as you hear his voice you already know it's Will. His music is grown folks music. I love this man. He takes me to sleep every night & ease my day everyday ��������
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dm07074
Love me some Will Downing..... . i f my day seems cloudy I'll put on his music and my world changes!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Awesome dude the GREATEST STAY SINGING MR.DOWNING. R.BELT
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Love to hear Will Downing singing!!!! Always glad to hear his VOICE!!!! His talent is TRUE/AWESOME ~ There's no one like HIM!!!! Keep Singing Mr. Downing... I HEAR U!!!!!
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OMG thats just too much where he at who do that anymore? Who care about how we feel.
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This artist is sounding better with every cut I hear. Thanks, Pandoa. Great sax
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