Smooth Jazz singer Will Downing has cancelled his current tour dates after having been diagnosed with polymyositis, a debilitating chronic inflammatory disease of the muscles that can lead to paralysis. The 46-year-old performer first noticed symptoms over the holidays, when he felt extremely tired and sick, according to SmoothVibes.com.
Although remission is rare, treatment can improve muscle strength and function. Downing has been hospitalized since January and is now undergoing physical rehabilitation in an attempt to retain his strength. Fortunately, his voice has not been affected.
Downing is still going forward with his plans to release a new album this September, via Peak Records.
Downing is one of those rare artists with fans in both smooth jazz and R&B circles, and he says that working with producers who add elements of various genres keeps things challenging for him as an artist.
Downing adds that even jazz or gospel elements in the arrangements make the music more interesting for him as well as the audience: "I hate things to be boring. So I think that's where the jazz elements kind of kick into the music. We may come up with an R&B kind of a groove and all of a sudden from a chordal standpoint, there's certain things that are just a lot more fun to sing over than others. "
He adds that the public's natural affinity for categorizing what they hear can cause some issues, but Downing says that his fans know exactly what they're getting: "That's when the confusing part comes into most folks' ears. They kinda go: 'I mean, it's not R&B because he's got this in there. All of a sudden, there's a sax solo or there's a ... you know, a trumpet solo, or ....' It's like, that's what music is. It's supposed to be fun like that. And fortunately I've been able to sell records based on that kind of 'warped' theory all these years."
For more information on Will, visit his website at: www.willdowning.com.