By Pat Prescott

As the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series winds to a close, there are still a few great shows remaining on the schedule. This Friday night, soulful crooner Will Downing takes the stage. He took a moment to call in to talk about the show this weekend, about life at home with his wife and daughter and more.

Will Downing is known for his rich, warm, baritone voice but he has surprising range on the high end to go along with it. He uses it all on the 19 albums he has recorded in his 28 years in the business. He credits Angela Bofill with giving him a couple of his biggest hits, including “I Try”. We talked about his newest release, a collection of songs called “Black Pearls”, where Will covers some of his favorite songs from some of his favorite female singers. Will is a skillful interpreter of songs and he says that Luther’s influence has been important. I also gave Will what I think is a great idea. I suggested he do a remake of Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night In Georgia”. Can’t you imagine hearing him do that one?

Will just might not be the best singer in his household. His wife Audrey Wheeler is one of the most in demand vocalists in the studio and on tour and his 20 year old daughter Aja is now performing in local musical theater productions, taking advantage of the deep gene pool of talent she’s been blessed with. Will has always been a Steely Dan fan and he named Aja after the band’s famous hit song. At home, Will, Audrey and Aja harmonize to the commercials on TV and sing along with the radio. The also each take advantage of the cheap labor that comes along with having a family full of talented singers.

A few years ago, Will went through some serious health challenges. He says it was a humbling test of his faith and that we need to adjust our thinking as we deal with our own mortality. He tries to live each day and love on the people he cares about as he embraces the joys of life. Will lost his Dad about a year ago. He says ironically, his Dad smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, didn’t drink water, hated to exercise and still lived to be 90. Will’s advice is to live your life and enjoy it.

Will says he doesn’t really have a bucket list. He believes you should just go do all the things you say you want to do. He likes to tack on extra days before or after his tour dates so he can enjoy some of the places he travels to for work. He says he really enjoys Vegas, where he can be entertained instead of entertaining himself. London is another one of his favorite places. Will is a professional shopper and he loves the shopping there. Maybe a stop at Fashion Island will be on the agenda for him this Friday. Hopefully the show Friday night at the Hyatt is on your agenda. It’s gonna be a good one.

Will Downing in Concert
The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series
Friday September 30, 2016


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