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. 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”. His first three albums include “Will Downing” (1988), “Come Together as One” (1989) and “A Dream Fulfilled” (1991). The latter, featuring “I Try” (Top 20 Billboard R&B Hit) 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. With six of his albums reaching the R&B Top 20, he continues to work, delivering Lust, Love & Lies: An Audio Novel in 2010, after which he released a handful of albums on his Sophisticated Soul label. He moved to Shanachie for Black Pearls (2016), on which he paid tribute to Phyllis Hyman, Jean Carn, and Randy Crawford, among other women who have inspired him. In 2017 he delivered the studio album Soul Survivor, featuring the single “Feeling the Love” with vocalist Avery Sunshine.