Speaking with Will Downing
Will Downing by Mark Ruffin
In a blatant attempt to better this web site’s standing with our female reader, a picture of Will Downing accompanies this story. Adored by women everywhere, Downing just celebrated his 39th birthday and is currently touring to support his new album, Sensual Journey.
The affable singer understands the sometime contentious nature men and women have when it comes to attracting each other.
The very good-natured Downing offered to help us facilitate couples getting together by suggesting that maybe there should be more romanticism presented in this space. Then he insisted that its key to take that extra time for the female reader. He should know, helping men connect to women has been a powerful by-product of the sensual music Downing makes.
I told him the true story of a recently divorced friend who met the woman he is currently dating at a record store where she was buying a Downing album. The man spoke up and invited her to come see the singer.
“I get that kind of stuff all the time,” he said. “It seems every week there’s a brother who comes up to me and said he got over because of my music.
“Hell, a brother don’t even have to like my music,” the deep-throated singer continued laughing. “All he has to do is have it at home and know when to play it.”
Widely known in the music industry as a hard-working, honest-to-goodness, down to earth guy, Downing, seemingly is unaffected by his fame, which has resulted from a nine album, 12 year career with close to four million records sold. Contrary to the obvious forms of temptation enveloped around him, romantically, Downing’s one of those good, faithful men, you rarely hear about.
“I hear those screams, and oh boy, do I get letters,” he said. “But that’s not me.” The man can almost be classified as a serial monogamist. After a marriage that lasted 16 years, Downing just re-married this past summer.
“My wife has followed my career and knows what kind of audience I have built over the years,” he said of his bride, who used to sing background for Chaka Kahn and others. “It helps that she’s in the entertainment business, but most importantly, she knows who I come home to each night.”
Downing can’t explain why his music does so well with today’s black female, whereas many other adult pop crooners of love songs like James Ingram, Freddie Jackson, Jeffrey Osborne and others don’t even have contracts. He does suggest that part of it is his known commitment for delivering meaning through every lyric.
“I try to look at my performance from an emotional standpoint,” Downing explained. “Are the words that I’m singing, being portrayed the right way? Is the person on the other end of the speaker getting it? Is it touching them?
“A lot of times, it is women who are prone to listening to what I’m saying. Women kind of think ‘hey, he’s talking about things pertinent to my life and things that I can relate to..'”