Will Downing Dishes on ‘Euphoria’
Legendary recording artist Will Downing landed an unforgettable performance on Valentine’s Day in The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ill. Known for his jazzy style and soulful grace, Downing’s approach to crooning has been dubbed as “heart music,”but the Brooklyn-born singer’s care for issues of the heart goes beyond the stage. Losing his late grandmother to a stroke made him vigilant about serving as a spokesperson for the American Stroke and Celebrity Ambassador for the American Heart Association.
With a recording career spanning 25 years, Downing describes his style of music as, “sophisticated soul,” which is the name he gave his own independent label. JETmag.com had the opportunity to sit down with the singer, producer, label head and philanthropist to get an exclusive interview about his upcoming album entitled Euphoria and much, much more!
JET: How did you decide upon such a distinctive album title?
Will Downing: An associate of mine shared that after hearing snippets of my upcoming project, it put her in a euphoric state. That was it for me! I knew “euphoria” would be the best way to sum up that expression of energy.
JET: The new single, “Turn Off The Lights” is what you call your “artistic interpretation” of Teddy Pendergrass’ epic classic. Why did you make such a highly-revered song your single?
WD: I have a huge appreciation for the original! I simply wanted to share my own take of the classic. It’s already an amazing song. My hope is that the people will experience the classic it in a new way.
JET: With the passing of legends such as, Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass and Nickolas Ashford, you are considered to be one of the enduring crooners holding down the jazz/soul/r&b fort. How does that feel?
WD: I’m excited! This is who I am. This what I love to do. To be anything else would make me a fraud. I’m honored and blessed to still be here making sure the music lives on.
JET: Who are you favorite crooners of today?
WD: Hmmm… [pauses] Kem, Jaheim, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, and Daley… these are a few artists that I believe are still holding up the flag for our genre.
JET: With a career beginning in 1988, most would think you’d be quite content on a major label. What led you to want to launch your own independent label, “Sophisticated Soul?”
WD: Basically, I came to an epiphany. It became clear to me that what [my label] was doing, I could do. In addition to this, the internet made self-promotion an avenue for artists like myself to really get back in touch with our loyal fanbase. It really became no brainer.
JET: You have been blessed with longevity in this music industry. What should fans expect from your upcoming release, Euphoria?
WD: They should expect the best! I am at the top of my game. After 25 years of hits, I am still here!
Euphoria will be available to purchase on March 11