Will Downing

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Will Downing
Birth name Wilfred Downing
Born (1963-11-29) November 29, 1963 (age 51)
Origin Brooklyn, New York, United States
Genres R&B, soul, neo soul, jazz
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician, producer
Years active 1986–present
Labels Peak, Hip-O, GRP, Mercury, Motown, PolyGram Records, Island, Sophisticated Soul Records
Website 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 and was previously a member of the short lived R&B group Unlimited Touch.


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. The album included "When You Need Me", a duet single with Chante Moore.[5] In 2002, Downing received the International Association of African-American Music Diamond Award.[6]

In December 2006, Downing suffered from polymyositis.[1] Despite the debilitating aspects of the disease, he worked towards releasing a new album in 2010.[7] 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]

Year Title Genre Label
2014 Euphoria R&B, Jazz Will Downing
2013 Silver R&B, Jazz Will Downing
2012 Tomorrow R&B Sophisticated Soul
2012 Today R&B Sophisticated Soul/NIA/Eone
2011 Yesterday R&B Sophisticated Soul
2010 Love, Lust, & Lies: An Audio Novel R&B, Jazz Concord
2009 Classique R&B, Jazz Concord
2007 After Tonight R&B Peak
2006 The Best Of Will Downing: The Millennium Collection Jazz Hip-O/Universal
2005 Soul Symphony R&B GRP/Verve/Universal
2004 Christmas, Love and You R&B GRP/Verve/Universal
2003 Emotions R&B GRP/Verve/Universal
2003 Collection [Import] R&B, Jazz Universal
2003 A Million Ways (Remix) R&B GRP/Verve/Universal
2002 Sensual Journey R&B, Jazz, Neo Soul GRP/Verve/Universal
2002 Greatest Love Songs R&B Island/Hip-O/Universal
2000 All the Man You Need R&B Motown/Universal
1998 Pleasures of the Night with Gerald Albright R&B, Jazz Verve Forecast/PolyGram
1997 Invitation Only R&B, Jazz Mercury/PolyGram
1995 Moods R&B Mercury/PolyGram
1994 Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This with Rachelle Ferrell R&B, Pop Capitol/EMI
1993 Love's the Place to Be R&B Mercury/PolyGram
1991 A Dream Fulfilled R&B Island/PolyGram
1989 Come Together as One R&B Island/PolyGram
1988 Will Downing R&B Island/PolyGram


  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. ^ Billboard - 8 Jul 2000 - Page 24 "released first single "When You Need Me," a duet with MCA's Chante Moore"
  6. ^ "International Association of African-American Music". Iaaam.com. 2002-06-07. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  7. ^ "Will Downing — Will Power". Abilitymagazine.com. 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 

External links[edit]