R&B singer Will Down­ing vis­its Golden Ring Mid­dle

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

Grammy-nom­i­nated R&B artist Will Down­ing vis­ited Golden Ring Mid­dle School to talk to the stu­dents about his ex­pe­ri­ence in the mu­sic in­dus­try and the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion.

25 stu­dents were cho­sen by the school’s mu­sic depart­ment to at­tend the talk based on their mu­si­cal in­ter­ests and tal­ents.

“I think that what they need to re­al­ize is that re­gard­less of where they come from, or what their back­ground is, if you have

dreams and as­pi­ra­tions and tal­ent you should pur­sue them,” said Kaz Wright, a read­ing in­ter­ven­tion­ist at Golden Ring, who helped sched­ule the event.

She said that Down­ing, who has been in the mu­sic in­dus­try for over 25 years and has re­leased 19 al­bums, rep­re­sented the im­por­tance of work­ing hard and fol­low­ing your pas­sion.

Down­ing told the stu­dents about how he was dis­cov­ered af­ter his voice changed in mid­dle school. He pur­sued singing af­ter re­al­iz­ing “girls like guys who could sing”, he joked.

In the au­di­ence of mu­si­cally-in­clined mid­dle school­ers, there was a beat-boxer, a bass-player, a singer, a rap­per, and a fu­ture mu­sic pro­ducer. His ad­vice for the young mu­si­cians was to work to­gether, rather than per­form­ing alone or in front of a cam­era for a YouTube video.

“One thing that I al­ways try to tell young peo­ple, the only thing that will make you bet­ter mu­si­cians is work­ing with and hook­ing up with peo­ple so some­body can cri­tique you,” Down­ing ex­plained that work­ing with other peo­ple can help you find so­lu­tions to prob­lems or pro­pose other ideas. “You’ve got to work with peo­ple.”

Han­nah Beale, an 8th grader at Golden Ring, then per­formed for Down­ing. He coached her on con­nect­ing with the au­di­ence and look­ing them in the eyes, rather than her keep­ing her eyes on the ground.

“If you be­lieve it, they be­lieve it,” he said, adding that singers need to un­der­stand the lyrics they are singing and con­vey that emo­tion back into the crowd.

“I think it’s im­por­tant that they [mu­si­cians] give back, they reach back, they come into schools and they do pro­grams that in­spire and fa­cil­i­tate a dis­cussion,” said Wright about why she sched­uled the event.

A stu­dent then asked Down­ing his least fa­vorite al­bum that he has recorded. He said that, ac­tu­ally, his least fa­vorite was 2000’s “All the Man You Need” which was the al­bum that re­ceived a Grammy nom­i­na­tion for Best Tra­di­tional R&B Al­bum.

He said that some of the songs he thought would be hits didn’t end up suc­cess­ful and songs that he thought were sub-par ended up be­ing his big­gest hits, which is all part of the learn­ing process of be­ing in a cre­ative field.

“You’re not go­ing to know ev­ery­thing when you first start out.” Every artist grows as they pro­ceed, stressed Down­ing, even three decades in his ca­reer, he is still grow­ing and learn­ing. “It’s go­ing to hap­pen. Mu­sic is like life, there are very, very high points and there are very, very low points. It’s go­ing to be great some­times and not-so-great some other times.”

Down­ing said that grow­ing up, the arts helped shape him. By speak­ing to the stu­dents, he hopes to in­spire them to pur­sue their pitch per­fect pas­sion.

“Do this be­cause you love it. Don’t do it for money, don’t do it for fame, don’t do it for the girls. If you re­ally love it, your heart will shine through ev­ery­thing you do.”

The pre­sen­ta­tion ended with one stu­dent throw­ing his hand up in the air and ask­ing Down­ing, “Will you take us to the Grammy’s with you?”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.