The Experience with Dedry Jones

FULL EPISODE

Will Downing

Host and creator of The Experience, Dedry Jones, talks with special guest, Will Downing. Grammy nominee Will Downing’s voice is one of the most distinctive, loved, and instantly recognizable voices in R&B. Viewers will enjoy a personal conversation with Will Downing interspersed with a live music performance backed by a full band.

AIRED: July 27, 2017 | 0:51:18
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

DEDRY: WELCOME TO THE EXPERIENCE.

YOU ARE ABOUT TO HAVE A MUSICAL EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER.

GET READY FOR THE ROYAL TREATMENT

AS WE GET TO KNOW THE PRINCE OF SOPHISTICATED SOUL.

♪ STREET LIFE IS THE ONLY PLACE I CAN GO ♪

DEDRY: OUR SPECIAL GUEST ON THE EXPERIENCE IS WILL DOWNING.

WILL: LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA.

[APPLAUSE]

[MUSIC]

[APPLAUSE]

DEDRY: WELCOME WILL. HOW ARE YOU TODAY?

WILL: I'M VERY WELL, MAN.

DEDRY: GOOD TO SEE YOU AS USUAL.

WILL: THANK YOU, SIR. YOU, TOO.

DEDRY: TELL ME SOMETHING THAT I DON'T KNOW.

WILL: I WAS BORN IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.

DEDRY: OK, TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT GROWING UP IN THAT AREA.

WILL: BROOKLYN, INTERESTING PLACE.

I COME FROM A NON-MUSICAL FAMILY,

SO IF YOU'RE GOING TOWARDS THE WAY OF MUSIC,

THAT WASN'T IN MY PAST IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.

I WAS A KID, GREW UP ACROSS THE STREET FROM A PARK,

SO ATHLETICS AND PLAYING AND FUN,

THAT WAS MY EXPERIENCE AS A CHILD.

DEDRY: WELL, WHAT BROUGHT YOU INTO THE MUSIC SCENE?

WILL: WHEN I WAS COMING UP,

MUSIC WAS IN EVERY PUBLIC SCHOOL.

EITHER YOU PLAYED AN INSTRUMENT,

WHEN KIDS WERE COMING UP THEY HAD A RECORDER,

A LITTLE RECORDER THEY WOULD PLAY OR YOU SUNG IN THE CHOIR

AND I SUNG IN THE CHOIR

AND THE THING THAT KIND OF DREW ME TOWARDS IT,

OR ACTUALLY GOD KIND OF DID THAT,

THERE WAS A TEACHER THERE

AND HE WAS WALKING UP AND DOWN THE AISLES

AND HE WAS LISTENING TO EACH KID

AS WE WERE DOING LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING,

THE NEGRO NATIONAL ANTHEM

AND HE WOULD ALWAYS STOP IN FRONT OF ME

AND KIND OF GIVE ME THAT LOOK LIKE,

"OK, THERE'S A LITTLE SOMETHING THERE,"

AND HE'D WALK, HE'D COME BACK

AND HE'D LOOK AT ME AGAIN

AND HE SAID, "I WANT TO SEE YOU AFTER CLASS,"

AND HE SAID THAT THERE WAS PROGRAM CALLED

THE BROOKLYN BOROUGH-WIDE CHORUS THAT HE WANTED ME TO JOIN

AND OF COURSE HE ASKED ME AND I SAID, "NO.

NO, I'M NOT DOING THAT."

HE SAID IT WAS ON A SATURDAY.

I SAID, "NO, SATURDAYS I PLAY BALL WITH MY FRIENDS

AND I HANG OUT."

SO BY THE TIME I GOT HOME HE HAD CALLED MY PARENTS

AND MY MOM HAD SAID, "YEAH, HE'S DOING IT,"

AND I STARTED GOING TO THIS PROGRAM AND SINGING

AND MET SOME REALLY, SOME GREAT FOLKS THERE

AND THERE WERE GIRLS THERE.

IT WAS LOTS OF GIRLS THERE AND THEY LIKED WHAT THEY HEARD

AND THE GIRLS HAD NEVER TAKEN AN INTEREST IN ME BEFORE,

SO I SAID, "WELL, IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO

"TO KIND OF GET WITH YOU THEN HEY,

"LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA.

LA, LA, LA, LA."

♪ MM HM HM HM ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS, A MILLION WAYS ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ LISTEN WHEN SHE'S DOWN, SHE NEEDS A HUG ♪

♪ THAT'S THE TIME TO SHOW HER LOVE ♪

♪ OR MAYBE JUST A FOOT RUB ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ DON'T TALK A LOT, LISTEN INSTEAD ♪

♪ YOU WANNA KNOW, GET IN HER HEAD ♪

♪ 'CAUSE MAKIN' LOVE JUST AIN'T IN THE BED, SOMEBODY SAY ♪

♪ GIVE HER CANDY HEARTS AND HALLMARK CARDS ♪

♪ IF THAT'S WHAT SHE LIKES IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE ♪

♪ THEN LET THIS BE YOUR LESSON OF LIFE ♪

♪ MILLION WAYS ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ LISTEN FELLAS, YOU'VE GOT TO BE HER BEST FRIEND ♪

♪ AND LET HER NOW SHE CAN DEPEND ♪

♪ BE HER ROCK UNTIL THE END ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ WHEN SHE'S IN HEAT, SHE NEEDS A FREAK ♪

♪ REPRESENT, PUT HER TO SLEEP ♪

♪ BE A MAN, DON'T BE WEAK ♪

♪ THAT'S HOW YOU GOT TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ GIVE HER CANDY HEARTS AND HALLMARK CARDS ♪

♪ IF THAT'S WHAT SHE LIKES IF THAT WHAT SHE LIKES ♪

♪ IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE ♪

♪ THEN LET THIS BE THE LESSON OF YOUR LIFE ♪

♪ MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION A MILLION, MILLION WAYS, A MILLION, MILLION WAYS ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO OH PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION ♪

♪ GIVE HER A HUG BEFORE YOU MAKE LOVE ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO MILLION WAYS PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

♪ PLEASE A WOMAN OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

♪ MILLION, MILLION WAYS ♪

♪ OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

♪ OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

♪ OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

♪ OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

♪ OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

♪ OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

♪ OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

♪ OH, OH, OH, OH, ♪

[HARMONIZING]

♪ THERE'S GOT TO BE A THERE'S GOT TO BE A ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ [HARMONIZING] ♪

♪ THERE'S GOT TO BE A A MILLION ♪

♪ A MILLION, A MILLION, A MILLION, A MILLION WAYS ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS TO PLEASE A WOMAN ♪

♪ A MILLION WAYS ♪

♪ THERE'S GOT TO BE A THERE'S GOT TO BE A MILLION WAYS ♪

♪ LISTEN, THERE'S GOT TO BE A MILLION, ♪

♪ A MILLION, A MILLION, A MILLION A MILLION, ♪

♪ A MILLION, A MILLION WAYS, WAYS, WAYS ♪

♪ I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, ♪

♪ THERE'S GOT TO BE A MILLION, A MILLION, A MILLION WAYS ♪

♪ THERE'S A MILLION WAYS TO, YEAH ♪

DEDRY: WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST BIG HIT?

WILL: MY FIRST HIT, HIT, HIT WAS A SONG CALLED

A LOVE SUPREME AND THAT WAS OVER IN ENGLAND.

DEDRY: THE JOHN COLTRANE?

WILL: THE JOHN COLTRANE LOVE SUPREME.

YES, WE MADE LIKE A HOUSE VERSION OF IT.

I THINK ACTUALLY FRANKIE KNUCKLES

HAD DONE ONE OF THE REMIXES TO IT BACK IN THE DAY.

DEDRY: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS A REASON THAT THINGS

TOOK OFF OVERSEAS RATHER THAN IN THE UNITED STATES?

WILL: I DON'T KNOW.

I MEAN, IT'S NOTHING THAT I DID ON PURPOSE.

I WASN'T EVEN THINKING ABOUT THE OVERSEAS MARKET.

THERE WAS A BIG MARKET OVER THERE FOR KIND OF CLUB MUSIC

AND THE LOVE SUPREME WAS MORE OF A HOUSE THING AS WELL

AND IT JUST TOOK OFF.

SO, I HAVE NO IDEA.

BUT I HAD ABOUT SIX OR SEVEN SINGLES OUT UNDER ASSUMED NAMES.

I WAS PILOT, THAT WAS ON PRELUDE RECORDS.

WE HAD A RECORD OUT FOR THE GOONIES SOUNDTRACK CALLED

THE GOON SQUAD.

SONG CALLED EIGHT ARMS TO HOLD YOU.

I WAS RT AND THE ROCKMEN UNLIMITED.

WE HAD A SONG CALLED I WANT TO GO TO CHICAGO,

IT WAS A HOUSE RECORD AND THEN I WAS WALLY JUMP, JR.

AND THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT.

ON CRIMINAL RECORDS.

DEDRY: BUT WHAT WAS YOUR BIG HIT ON THAT?

WILL: WE DID A REMAKE OF A GWEN GUTHRIE CLASSIC.

SHE HAD AIN'T NOTHING GOING ON BUT THE RENT AND I DID A REMAKE

WHICH WAS THE MALE VERSION AND WE DID AIN'T GOING TO PAY YOU

ONE RED CENT.

[LAUGHS]

IT PAID THE RENT THAT MONTH, ALRIGHT?

I HAD A KID, I HAD JUST GOTTEN MARRIED,

I NEEDED MONEY.

SING THE SONG, DAMMIT, SING IT.

DEDRY: AFTER THAT WHAT WAS YOUR NEXT RECORD?

WILL: WE RELEASED ANOTHER RECORD CALLED COME TOGETHER AS ONE

AND THAT WAS ANOTHER, KIND OF A DANCE ORIENTED SONG,

BUT OFF OF THAT ALBUM WAS WISHING ON A STAR.

[MUSIC]

♪ I'M WISHING ON A STAR TO FOLLOW WHERE YOU ARE ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON A DREAM TO FOLLOW WHAT IT MEANS, ♪

♪ YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YES ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON A STAR ♪

♪ TO FOLLOW WHERE YOU ARE, YES ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON A DREAM ♪

♪ TO FOLLOW WHAT IT MEANS, YEAH ♪

♪ AND I WISH ON THE RAINBOWS THAT I SEE ♪

♪ I WISH ON THE PEOPLE WHO REALLY DREAM ♪

♪ AND I'M WISHING ON TOMORROW PRAYING THAT IT COMES ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON ALL THE LOVING WE'VE NEVER DONE ♪

♪ I NEVER THOUGHT I'D SEE ♪

♪ A TIME WHEN YOU WOULD BE ♪

♪ SO FAR AWAY FROM HOME ♪

♪ SO FAR AWAY FROM ME ♪

♪ JUST THINK OF ALL THE MOMENTS THAT WE HAVE SPENT ♪

♪ I JUST CAN'T LET YOU GO, FOR ME YOU WERE MEANT ♪

♪ BUT I DIDN'T MEAN TO HURT YOU BUT I KNOW ♪

♪ THAT IN THE GAME OF LOVE YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW ♪

♪ I FEEL IT'S TIME WE SHOULD MAKE UP BABY ♪

♪ I FEEL IT'S TIME FOR US TO GET BACK TOGETHER ♪

♪ MAKE THE BEST OF THINGS, OH BABY ♪

♪ WHEN WE'RE TOGETHER YEAH, YOU ALL FINISH IT ♪

♪ WHETHER OR NEVER, WHETHER OR, WHETHER OR, ♪

♪ WHETHER, WHETHER, WHETHER, YEAH ♪

[INSTRUMENTAL]

[INSTRUMENTAL]

♪ I'M WISHING ON A STAR TO FOLLOW WHERE YOU ARE ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON A DREAM TO FOLLOW WHAT IT MEANS ♪

♪ AND I WISH ON THE RAINBOWS THAT I SEE ♪

♪ AND I WISH ON THE PEOPLE WHO REALLY DREAM ♪

♪ AND I'M WISHING ON TOMORROW PRAYING THAT IT COMES ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON THE LOVING WE NEVER DONE ♪

♪ I'M WISHING, I'M WISHING ON A STAR I'M WISHING, ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON A STAR I'M WISHING, I'M WISHING ♪

♪ AND I'M WISHING ON ALL THE RAINBOWS THAT I SEE, YEAH ♪

♪ I'M WISHING, I'M WISHING ON A STAR I'M WISHING, ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON A STAR I'M WISHING, I'M WISHING ♪

♪ AND I'M WISHING ON ALL THE RAINBOWS THAT I SEE, YEAH ♪

♪ AND I'M WISHING ON ALL THE RAINBOWS THAT I SEE, YEAH ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON A STAR ♪

♪ I'M WISHING ON A STAR ♪

WILL: I'VE KIND OF BUILT A CAREER

DOING A LOT OF REMAKES AND ORIGINAL THINGS AS WELL,

BUT THE REMAKES ARE PRETTY MUCH WHAT I'M--

WHAT I'VE BEEN KNOWN FOR.

DEDRY: HOW MUCH OF THE SONGS

WERE YOU ACTUALLY WRITING YOURSELF?

WILL: IT'D PROBABLY BE 50/50 OR LIKE 60/40

OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT OF ORIGINAL PIECES

AND FOUR OR FIVE REMAKES ON AN ALBUM.

DEDRY: HOW DID YOU DETERMINE WHICH REMAKE TO SING?

WILL: WELL, INITIALLY I HAD A LIST OF SONGS

THAT I WANTED TO DO.

LATER IN LIFE PEOPLE WOULD CHALLENGE ME TO SAY,

"HEY, I DARE YOU TO DO,

I BET YOU CAN'T DO A BETTER VERSION THAN,"

AND THEN I STARTED DOING THAT,

BUT A LOT OF SONGS THAT I WOULD DO IN THE PAST

WERE SONGS THAT WERE DONE BY FEMALE ARTISTS.

LIKE, I TRY WAS ANGELA BOFILL AND THEN MEN WOULD KIND OF SAY,

"HEY MAN, WE TRY TOO," SO, YOU KNOW,

I DID THE, GAVE THE MALE INTERPRETATION OF A SONG.

♪ I TRIED TO DO THE BEST I CAN FOR YOU ♪

♪ BUT IT SEEMS IT'S NOT ENOUGH AND YOU KNOW THAT I CARE ♪

♪ EVEN WHEN YOU'RE NOT THERE ♪

♪ BUT IT'S NOT WHAT YOU, YOU WANT ♪

♪ CAN'T YOU SEE CAN'T YOU SEE ♪

♪ THAT YOU'RE HURTING ME AND I WANT THIS PAIN, ♪

♪ I WANT THIS PAIN TO STOP SO IF YOU REALLY CARE, ♪

♪ I MEAN, IF YOU REALLY, REALLY CARE ♪

♪ THEN OPEN UP YOUR HEART TO, TO ME ♪

♪ OPEN UP TO ME, TO ME, TO ME, TO ME ♪

♪ AND I REALLY, REALLY TRIED YOU KNOW I THAT I TRY ♪

♪ AND I TRY AND I TRY AND I TRY TO MAKE YOU ♪

♪ AND I TRY AND TRIED AND I TRIED AND I TRIED ♪

♪ AND I TRIED AND TRIED AND I LOVE YOU ♪

♪ AND I NEED YOU BABY ♪

♪ AND I TRY AND TRIED AND I TRIED AND I TRIED ♪

♪ YOU KNOW THAT I TRIED YOU KNOW THAT I TRIED, ♪

♪ I TRIED, I TRIED ♪

♪ I TRIED, I TRIED ♪

DEDRY: YOU DID WORK WITH A LOT OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT SOME OF THE PEOPLE YOU WORKED WITH.

WILL: WHO HAVEN'T I WORKED WITH?

I DID STEVIE WONDER.

DUETS WITH MICA PARIS, RACHELLE FERRELL,

A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT I KIND OF ADMIRED

WHEN I WAS COMING UP BECAME FRIENDS

AND FOLKS THAT I WOULD WORK WITH OVER THE YEARS,

SO IT'S BEEN A REAL BLESSING.

DEDRY: NOW, YOU MENTIONED RACHELLE FERRELL,

SO TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT RECORD.

WILL: WHEN I GOT THE TAPE, AND YEAH I SAID TAPE,

I GOT A CASSETTE TAPE, I PLAYED IT AND I SAID,

"WELL, THE GUY THAT YOU HAVE ON THIS SOUNDS GREAT,"

AND SHE SAID, "WHAT GUY?"

I SAID, "I'M HEARING LIKE A MALE VOCALIST."

SHE SAID, "THAT'S ME."

SHE WAS DOING THE FEMALE PART AND THE MALE PART

AND I'M LIKE, "WHAT THE HELL YOU NEED ME FOR?"

SO WE ENDED UP

KIND OF FRANKENSTEINING THE VOCALS TOGETHER.

SO SHE MADE ME GO IN FIRST AND I STARTED SINGING,

AND THEN SHE STOPPED ME AND SHE'S LIKE,

"I LIKE WHAT YOU'RE DOING, IT'S NICE AND EVERYTHING,

BUT I NEED, I NEED IT TO BE A LITTLE BIT MORE THIS."

I SAID, "OK, COOL," PRESS RECORD,

I START DOING WHAT I THINK "THIS" IS THAT SHE WANTS

AND SHE'S, "NO, NO, NO, NO,

I NEED YOU TO BE A LITTLE BIT MORE LIKE WILL DOWNING."

WHAT THE HELL SHE TALKING ABOUT,

I AM WILL DOWNING.

SO THEN SHE, LINE BY LINE,

SHE WORKED ME LIKE A GOVERNMENT MULE, MAN.

BUT THEN WHEN THE SONG WAS ALL SAID AND DONE,

IT WAS LIKE THE BEST VOCAL PERFORMANCE I HAD EVER DONE

AND IT ENDED UP

BEING LIKE ONE OF THE BIGGEST HITS I'D EVER HAD.

THANK YOU, RACHELLE.

WHERE'S MY CAMERA?

THANK YOU, RACHELLE.

[MUSIC]

♪ OH LORD, WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE HIM? ♪

♪ HEAVEN KNOWS, I'M NOT LIKE YOU I'M NOT PERFECT ♪

♪ WHEN HE SEES, WILL HE LEAVE? ♪

♪ WHEN HE SEES, WILL HE LEAVE? ♪

♪ OR WILL HE STAY ANYWAY ANYWAY ♪

♪ OR WILL HE STAY ANYWAY ANYWAY ♪

♪ OH LORD, WHAT CAN DO TO DESERVE HER? ♪

♪ HEAVEN, HEAVEN, HEAVEN KNOWS, LORD KNOWS I'M ONLY HUMAN ♪

♪ CAN THIS, CAN THIS, CAN THIS BE, SOMEONE TRULY FOR ME? ♪

♪ OR IS IT A, A CRUEL FANTASY? ♪

♪ YES NOTHING HAS EVER FELT, LIKE THIS ♪

♪ YES NOTHING HAS EVER FELT, LIKE THIS ♪

♪ NOTHING HAS EVER MEANT THE WHOLE WORLD TO ME ♪

♪ NOTHING HAS EVER MEANT THE WHOLE WORLD TO ME ♪

♪ NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN THIS GOOD ♪

♪ AND NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN THIS RIGHT ♪

♪ NOTHING SO SWEET IN MY LIFE... ♪

♪ I KNOW THAT YOU TREASURE ME ♪

♪ AND I, I KNOW, ♪

♪ THAT I'M THE ONLY MAN YOU SEE I REALLY LOVE YOU ♪

♪ I LOVE, I LOVE, I LOVE MY LIFE WITH YOU, ♪

♪ OH BABY YES I DO ♪

♪ WE'LL SHARE A LIFE TOGETHER ♪

♪ I LOVE YOU RIGHT NOW AND FOREVER ♪

♪ NOTHING HAS EVER FELT QUITE LIKE THIS ♪

♪ OH NO NOTHING HAS EVER MEANT THE WHOLE WORLD TO ME ♪

♪ OH NO NOTHING HAS EVER MEANT THE WHOLE WORLD TO ME ♪

♪ NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN THIS GOOD ♪

♪ AND NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN THIS RIGHT ♪

♪ NOTHING SO SWEET IN MY LIFE ♪

♪ NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN THIS GOOD BEFORE ♪

♪ AND NOTHING HAS EVER FELT ♪

♪ THIS RIGHT BEFORE MY LOVE, MY LOVE ♪

♪ BOTH-AIN'T NOTHING, ♪

AIN'T NOTHING EVER BEEN SO SWEET ♪

♪ OH I NEED YOU AND I NEED YOU MORE BABY ♪

♪ I WANT YOU BABY ♪

♪ AND I WANT YOU TOO NOTHING, NOTHING SO GOOD ♪

♪ AND I WANT YOU TOO NOTHING, NOTHING SO GOOD ♪

♪ YES, OH YES YES, OH YES ♪

♪ YES, OH YES YES, OH YES ♪

♪ NEVER, IT AIN'T NEVER, ♪

♪ NEVER, IT AIN'T NEVER, ♪

♪ IT AIN'T NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, OH BABY, NEVER ♪

♪ IT AIN'T NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, OH BABY, NEVER ♪

♪ NEVER EVER EVER ♪

♪ NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ♪

♪ NEVER, NEVER, NEVER EVER ♪

♪ EVER ♪

♪ NEVER, NEVER, NEVER NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ♪

♪ NEVER NEVER ♪

♪ EVER NEVER ♪

CAROL RIDDICK!

GOD BLESS YOU ALL, GOD BLESS YOU.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

GOD BLESS YOU.

DEDRY: IN THE MIDST OF YOUR RECORDING CAREER,

YOU HAD A BREAK BECAUSE OF A HEALTH ISSUES.

WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THE DISEASE?

WILL: IT WAS CALLED POLYMYOSITIS AND IT'S A MUSCULAR DISEASE

AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I DID OR DIDN'T DO,

BUT HAD I TAKEN MY BEHIND TO THE HOSPITAL

OR TO THE DOCTOR WHEN I STARTED FEELING BAD,

IT WOULD'VE LESSENED WHAT I'D GONE THROUGH.

DEDRY: TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT.

WILL: WELL, IN LATE 2006, EARLY 2007

AND I THINK IT WAS ACTUALLY HERE IN CHICAGO

AND I WAS ON STAGE AND I JUST FELT TERRIBLE.

I MEAN LIKE BEYOND TERRIBLE

AND OVER THE COURSE OF A FEW MONTHS

I FOUND MYSELF SLOWING DOWN A LITTLE BIT,

BUT I ALWAYS ATTRIBUTED IT TO US TRAVELING A LOT,

DOING A LOT OF SHOWS, JUST OVERWORKING,

BUT THIS ONE NIGHT AT THE PARK WEST

I GOT ON STAGE AND I JUST COULD NOT MOVE.

AND SO I THINK I KIND OF TURNED TO THE AUDIENCE

AND I EVEN APOLOGIZED LIKE, "LISTEN, I'M REALLY SORRY,

BUT I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON WITH MY BODY,"

"AND THE NEXT DAY I WENT TO AN URGENT CARE PLACE

AND THEY TOOK SOME BLOOD AND HE SAID, "GO HOME."

BY THE TIME I GOT TO THE HOUSE

THERE WAS A MESSAGE FROM THEM SAYING, "LISTEN,

"GO STRAIGHT TO THE HOSPITAL LIKE NOW

AND IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT CALL AN AMBULANCE,"

AND WHEN WE GOT THERE

I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT I WAS DOWN TO 150 POUNDS, I THINK,

AND I COULDN'T MOVE.

THE NEXT DAY I WAS PARALYZED.

I STAYED IN THE HOSPITAL FOR THREE MONTHS

AND THEN WHEN I CAME OUT, I CAME HOME

AND I GOT PNEUMONIA AND I HAD TO GO BACK TO THE HOSPITAL

AND ALL OF THIS TIME I'M LYING ON MY BUTT.

I CAN'T MOVE.

ALL TOGETHER I WAS DOWN FOR ABOUT A YEAR,

YEAR AND A HALF AND THEN AFTER A LOT OF TREATMENT,

A LOT OF DRUGS,

A WHOLE LOT OF PRAYER THINGS STARTED COMING BACK.

SO I LEARNED HOW TO WALK AGAIN.

I'D LOST MY VOICE SO I HAD TO LEARN HOW TO TALK

AND SING AGAIN, ALL OF THAT.

SO IT TOOK ME A MINUTE

AND IN BETWEEN TIME I STILL RECORDED AN ALBUM.

DEDRY: HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO RECORD AN ALBUM?

WILL: MY VERY GOOD FRIEND

AND CO-PRODUCER AT THAT TIME, REX RIDEOUT.

I HAD DONE A LOT OF RECORDS WITH HIM.

HE WOULD FLY BACK AND FORTH FROM L.A. TO MY HOME

AND I WOULD BE LYING IN BED, IN THE HOSPITAL BED

AND THEY'D PUT A MICROPHONE ABOVE ME

AND I WOULD SING

AND THEN THEY'D PUT ME IN A WHEELCHAIR

AND I'D SING.

SO WE KIND OF, ONCE AGAIN,

FRANKENSTEINED A PROJECT TOGETHER

BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE ANY MONEY.

MONEY WAS RUNNING OUT.

MY WIFE WAS BASICALLY AT HOME TAKING CARE OF ME.

SHE SINGS SO SHE COULDN'T GO AND ROYALTIES WEREN'T COMING IN

SO IT WAS LIKE HEY, MAN, YOU WANT SOME MONEY?

YOU GOING TO SING?

OK, ALRIGHT.

SO I'M WHISPERING, "AFTER THE...

OK LET'S LAY DOWN FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS,"

COUPLE OF HOURS LATER I COULD BE ABLE TO SING ONE LINE,

"AFTER THE NIGHT," "OK, GREAT, WE GOT THAT ONE,"

AND IT TOOK US A LONG TIME

TO JUST KIND OF PIECE THIS WHOLE THING TOGETHER.

SOME OF THE SONGS,

ABOUT THREE OF THE SONGS WE HAD RECORDED

WERE DONE BEFORE I REALLY STARTED GETTING SICK, SICK, SICK

CAUSE THE DOCTOR HAD TOLD MY WIFE WHEN I GOT PNEUMONIA,

"IF HE DOESN'T START COUGHING THIS STUFF UP, THAT'S IT."

DEDRY: LET'S TALK ABOUT STREET LIFE.

WILL: THE SONG ORIGINALLY DONE BY THE CRUSADERS

FEATURING RANDY CRAWFORD WAS A TOUGH SONG TO DO

BECAUSE HER PERFORMANCE ON IT IS SO ICONIC.

YOU DO GET THE TRUE CONTRAST OF THE ORIGINAL VOCAL

BECAUSE A LOT OF THESE SONGS,

"YOU BETTER NOT BE SINGING MY SONG,"

AND THEN WHEN THEY HEAR IT DONE

NORMALLY AN OCTAVE DONE FROM A FEMALE'S VOICE

IT PUTS A WHOLE NEW SPIN ON IT.

SO IT'S BEEN A LOT OF FUN.

[MUSIC]

♪ I STILL HANG AROUND NEITHER LOST NOR FOUND ♪

♪ HERE THE LONELY, LONELY SIDE OF MUSIC IN THE NIGHT ♪

♪ LIGHTS ARE ALWAYS BRIGHT ♪

♪ THAT'S ALL THAT'S LEFT FOR ME ♪

[MUSIC]

♪ I LIVE THE STREET LIFE, ♪

♪ IT'S THE ONLY LIFE I KNOW ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, IT'S THE ONLY PLACE I CAN GO ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, ♪

♪ THERE'S A THOUSAND PARTS TO PLAY ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, ♪

♪ UNTIL YOU PLAY YOUR LIFE AWAY ♪

♪ YOU LET THE PEOPLE SEE, JUST WHO YOU WANT TO BE, ♪

♪ AND EVERY NIGHT YOU SHINE, JUST LIKE A SUPERSTAR ♪

♪ THAT'S HOW THE LIFE IS PLAYED, A TEN-CENT MASQUERADE, ♪

♪ YOUR DRESS YOU WALK YOU TALK, YOU'RE WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, YOU CAN'T RUN AWAY FROM TIME ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, FOR A NICKEL OR A DIME ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, BUT YOU BETTER NOT GET OLD ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, ♪

♪ OR YOU'RE GOING TO FEEL THE COLD ♪

♪ THERE'S ALWAYS LOVE FOR SALE, FOR GROWN UP FAIRY TALES ♪

♪ PRICE CHARMING ALWAYS SMILES, BEHIND A SILVER SPOON ♪

♪ AND IF YOU'RE KEEP IT YOUNG YOUR SONG IS ALWAYS SUNG, ♪

♪ YOU NEVER PAY YOUR WAY, BEHIND A SILVER MOON ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, STREET LIFE STREET LIFE ♪

♪ YEAH STREET LIFE MM-HMM... ♪

♪ YEA-AH... OOOH! ♪

♪ HERE WE GO ♪

[INSTRUMENTAL]

[INSTRUMENTAL]

BROTHER MIKE, HERE.

Y'ALL GOING TO SING?

STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE

STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE

[HARMONIZING]

[HARMONIZING]

♪ STREET LIFE, YOU CAN'T RUN AWAY FROM TIME ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, FOR A NICKEL OR A DIME ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, BUT YOU BETTER NOT GET OLD ♪

♪ STREET LIFE, OR YOU'RE GOING TO FEEL THE COLD ♪

♪ THERE'S ALWAYS LOVE FOR SALE, FOR GROWN UP FAIRY TALES ♪

♪ PRINCE CHARMING ALWAYS SMILES, BEHIND A SILVER SPOON ♪

♪ BUT IF YOU KEEP IT YOUNG YOUR SONG IS ALWAYS SUNG, ♪

♪ YOU NEVER PAY YOUR WAY, BEHIND A SILVER MOON ♪

♪ STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE ♪

♪ STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE ♪

♪ STREET LIFE STREET LIFE ♪

♪ STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE ♪

♪ STREET LIFE STREET LIFE STREET LIFE ♪

♪ YEAH, ♪

[INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]

[HARMONIZING]

[HARMONIZING]

♪ HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO ♪

[APPLAUSE]

DEDRY: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR OTHER ARTISTIC KIND OF VENTURES

SO TO SPEAK?

WILL: WELL, I THINK THAT AS AN ARTIST,

YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN OUTLET.

YOU JUST CAN'T DO THIS, YOU'LL GO CRAZY.

SO FOR ME PHOTOGRAPHY IS MY THING.

I LIKE, LIKE SHOOTING A LOT.

SO I DID A BOOK, IT WAS CALLED UNVEILED

AND IT WAS A PICTURE OF A LOT OF MY MUSICAL COHORTS

AND SO SOME OF THEM ARE LIVE PICTURES

AND SOME OF THEM ARE VERY INTIMATE SHOTS.

DEDRY: DO YOU TAKE AN ARTISTIC APPROACH TO HOW, SAY,

YOUR ALBUM COVERS LOOK OR DO YOU LET SOMEBODY ELSE DO THAT?

WILL: I'VE SHOT A FEW OF MY COVERS,

BUT I KIND OF LET OTHER FOLKS USE THE EYE,

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T SEE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SEE.

LIKE YOU WERE SAYING,

YOU WERE THANKING SOMEONE FOR DRESSING YOU TONIGHT

AND YOU LOOK FANTASTIC,

BUT FROM AN OUTSIDE EYE HE KIND OF, "OK, DEDRY,

LET ME HOOK YOU UP," YOU KNOW.

SO WHEN IT COMES TO ART,

I KIND OF SIT BACK AND BE THE SUBJECT

AND THEY TELL ME WHAT THEY LIKE AND WHAT THEY SEE

AND ALL THAT FUN STUFF.

DEDRY: WHO ELSE WOULD YOU WANT TO WORK WITH?

WILL: WELL, I'M WORKING ON AN ALBUM RIGHT NOW

AND I'M GOING TO DO LIKE A WILL DOWNING

AND FRIENDS RECORD.

SO, PEOPLE LIKE LALAH HATHAWAY,

TALKING TO PEOPLE LIKE ANITA BAKER AND STUFF LIKE THAT.

YEAH, IT SHOULD BE A FUN RECORD.

DEDRY: TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR LATEST ALBUM.

WILL: IT'S ENTITLED BLACK PEARLS AND WHAT IT IS,

IT'S A TEN SONG COLLECTION OF SONGS ORIGINALLY DONE

BY FEMALE ARTISTS.

SO SONGS LIKE EVERYTHING I MISS AT HOME

WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY DONE BY CHERRELLE.

WHAT ELSE DO WE HAVE?

MEET ME ON THE MOON WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY DONE

BY PHYLLIS HYMAN.

THAT'S HER SONG.

CHAKA, THE EMOTIONS, THE JONES GIRLS.

SO WE HAD ABOUT 30 SONGS

BEFORE WE KIND OF WHITTLED IT DOWN TO TEN.

DEDRY: SO YOU DON'T HAVE LIKE EXTRA ONES

SITTING IN THE POCKET?

WILL: NO, WE AIN'T GOT NO EXTRA, WE AIN'T GOT NO SPARE CHANGE,

WE AIN'T GOT NO EXTRA SONGS,

WE AIN'T GOT NO EXTRA MONEY TO BE DOING EXTRA NOTHING.

SO WE WROTE THEM DOWN,

THERE WAS 30 JOINTS ON PAPER

AND WE SPENT MONEY ON TEN OF THEM.

[MUSIC]

THIS SONG WAS TAKEN FROM THE BLACK PEARLS PROJECT.

NOW YOU ALL PROBABLY REMEMBER THIS JOINT FROM CHERRELLE

IT'S A CLASSIC SONG

IF YOU KNOW IT, DON'T BE AFRAID TO SING ALONG IS THAT ALRIGHT?

ALRIGHT.

ALRIGHT.

ALRIGHT.

ALRIGHT.

LET'S GO.

♪ YOU GIVE ME ATTENTION ♪

♪ YOU'RE SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS MY NEEDS ♪

♪ SOMEONE WHO IS SENSITIVE YOU GIVE ME ♪

♪ EVERYTHING I MISS AT HOME ♪

YOU KNOW HOW TO HOLD ME.

♪ YOU KNOW HOW TO HOLD ME ♪

♪ AND DO ALL THE THINGS I WANT TO FEEL ♪

♪ INSIDE OF EACH TENDER KISS YOU GIVE ME ♪

♪ EVERYTHING I MISS AT HOME I WAS JUST OUT ON THE TOWN ♪

♪ IN SEARCH OF SOME FUN WASN'T LOOKING FOR LOVE ♪

♪ THEN YOU CAME ALONG AND SHARED WITH ME ♪

♪ ALL THE THINGS I MISS AT HOME ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME ATTENTION ♪

♪ YOU'RE SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS MY NEEDS ♪

♪ SOMEONE WHO IS SENSITIVE ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME EVERYTHING I MISS AT HOME ♪

♪ YOU KNOW HOW TO HOLD ME ♪

♪ AND DO ALL THE THINGS ♪

♪ I WANT TO FEEL INSIDE OF EACH TENDER KISS ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME EVERYTHING I MISS AT HOME ♪

♪ OH, YES I DO LOVE SOMEONE ♪

♪ BUT I CAN'T PRETEND TO BE THE HAPPY ONE ♪

♪ AND TAKEN FOR GRANTED I WAS LONELY, ♪

♪ BUT YOU WERE THERE FOR ME ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME ATTENTION ♪

♪ YOU'RE SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS MY NEEDS ♪

♪ SOMEONE WHO IS SENSITIVE ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME EVERYTHING I MISS AT HOME ♪

♪ YOU KNOW HOW TO HOLD ME ♪

♪ AND DO ALL THE THINGS I WANT TO FEEL ♪

♪ INSIDE OF EACH TENDER KISS ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME EVERYTHING I MISS AT HOME ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME ♪

♪ THINGS I MISS AT HOME ♪

♪ THINGS I MISS AT HOME THINGS I MISS ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME EVERYTHING I MISS AT HOME ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME ♪

♪ THINGS I MISS AT HOME ♪

♪ THINGS I MISS AT HOME THINGS I MISS ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME EVERYTHING I MISS AT, AT HOME ♪

♪ YOU GIVE ME EVERYTHING I MISS AT, AT HOME ♪

[APPLAUSE]

DEDRY: I'VE GOING TO HAVE A COUPLE LAST MINUTE QUESTIONS

THAT I NEED YOU TO ANSWER

KIND OF LIKE RIGHT OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD.

WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS REAL FAST.

MY FAVORITE SPORT IS?

WILL: BASKETBALL.

DEDRY: MY FAVORITE MEAL IS?

WILL: SOUL FOOD.

CHICKEN, BABY.

CHICKENS SEE ME, THEY START RUNNING.

[LAUGHS]

DEDRY: HERE'S A GOOD ONE.

MY FAVORITE MALE SINGER OF ALL TIME IS?

WILL: LORD HAVE MERCY, MAN.

ONE?

I MEAN, THERE'S LUTHER, DONNIE HATHAWAY,

AL JARREAU.

I DON'T KNOW, MAN.

I CAN KEEP GOING.

DJ ROGERS, PEBO BRYSON, ARTHUR PRYSOCK.

I MEAN, YOU ALL MAY NOT KNOW ARTHUR PRYSOCK.

JOHNNY HARTMAN.

I CAN'T, IT'S LIKE A POTATO CHIP, BABY.

I CAN'T EAT ONE.

YOU CAN'T JUST GIVE ME ONE, YOU HAVE TO.

DEDRY: MY FAVORITE FEMALE SINGER OF ALL TIME?

WILL: IF I DON'T SAY MY WIFE I GUESS I'D BE IN TROUBLE,

WOULDN'T I?

YOU HONEY, IT'S YOU HONEY, IT'S YOU.

MY WIFE IS AUDREY WHEELER DOWNING,

SHE'S A SINGER.

SHE SINGS WITH CHAKA

AND SHE'S HAD A COUPLE OF SOLO RECORDS OUT.

I'M GOING TO SAY AUDREY.

I CAN GO HOME NOW, RIGHT?

[LAUGHS]

DEDRY: THIS IS A HARD ONE.

MY FAVORITE ALBUM OF ALL TIME IS?

WILL: THAT'S ANOTHER TOUGH ONE.

I THINK THE ALBUM THAT KIND OF SHAPED ME

WAS AL JARREAU'S THIS TIME ALBUM.

THAT RECORD WAS A BEAST.

THAT ONE, CHAKA KHAN'S, WHAT CHA GONNA DO FOR ME,

MARVIN GAYE'S, WHAT'S GOING ON.

YOU SAID ONE, RIGHT?

YEAH.

DEDRY: I WOULD LOVE TO DO A DUET WITH...

WILL: LALAH HATHAWAY.

YEAH.

LALAH HATHAWAY AND DIANE REEVES.

ME AND DIANE REEVES DID A TOUR TOGETHER

AND I SWEAR TO YOU,

EVERY NIGHT I WOULD STAND ON THE SIDE OF THE STAGE

AND I'D GET MY MUSIC LESSON.

AND SHE WOULD SING THIS SONG,

SHE WOULD TALK ABOUT WHEN I WAS NINE YEARS OLD

AND I SAT THERE EVERY NIGHT AND I'D BE IN THERE BOO HOOING.

I SAID, "OH MY GOD," AND I KNEW WHAT SHE WAS GOING TO DO.

I'D BE LIKE, "AWW DAMMIT, YOU GOT ME AGAIN."

SO SHE'S ONE OF MY FAVORITES

AND I THINK THAT LALAH HATHAWAY IS JUST LIKE,

SHE GETS UP THERE AND SHE STARTS SINGING

AND SHE TOUCHES ME TO THE CORE OF MY SOUL.

THAT WOMAN CAN SANG.

DEDRY: THIS IS A GOOD ONE.

IF I WEREN'T A MUSICIAN, I'D BE A?

WILL: I'D BE DEDRY JONES.

[LAUGHS]

DEDRY: GOOD ANSWER.

[LAUGHS]

MY FAVORITE INTERVIEWER OF ALL TIME, ALL TIME.

WILL: IS OPRAH HERE?

IS SHE HERE?

[APPLAUSE]

FOR ME, REALLY?

THE ONE AND ONLY, DEDRY JONES.

DEDRY: THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.

I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE TONIGHT

AND AS MUCH AS WE'VE ENJOYED THIS CONVERSATION,

LET'S END THIS EXPERIENCE WITH MORE MUSIC.

[APPLAUSE]

[MUSIC]

[HARMONIZING]

[HARMONIZING]

♪ NOTHING'S EVER FELT SO GOOD, BABY ♪

♪ NOTHING'S EVER FELT SO RIGHT, FELT SO SWEET ♪

♪ NO, NOTHING, NOTHING, NO NOTHING, NOTHING, NO ♪

♪ NO, NOTHING, NOTHING, NO NOTHING, NOTHING, NO ♪

♪ NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO ♪

♪ NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO ♪

♪ NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO ♪

♪ NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO ♪

♪ NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO NO, NOTHING, NO, NEVER, NO ♪

♪ NO NOTHING NEVER NO NOTHING NEVER ♪

♪ NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING, NO NO, NOTHING, NO ♪

♪ NO NOTHING, NO NEVER, NO NEVER, NO NOTHING ♪

♪ NO NOTHING, NO NEVER, NO NEVER, NO NOTHING ♪

♪ NO NOTHING, NO NEVER, NO NEVER, NO NOTHING ♪

♪ NO NOTHING, NO NEVER, NO NEVER, NO NOTHING ♪

♪ NO NOTHING, NO NEVER, NO NEVER, NO NOTHING ♪

[APPLAUSE]

♪ NO NOTHING, NO NEVER, NO NEVER, NO NOTHING ♪

♪ NO NOTHING, NO NEVER, NO NEVER, NO NOTHING ♪

♪ NO NOTHING'S EVER FELT SO GOOD ♪

♪ NO NOTHING'S EVER FELT SO RIGHT ♪

♪ NO NOTHING'S EVER BEEN SO GOOD, NOTHING, NOTHING ♪

♪ NO NOTHING'S EVER FELT SO GOOD ♪

♪ NOTHING'S EVER FELT SO RIGHT ♪

♪ NOTHING'S EVER BEEN SO GOOD, NOTHING, NO NOTHING, ♪

♪ NO NOTHING HAS EVER FELT SO, SO GOOD ♪

♪ NO NOTHING HAS EVER FELT SO, SO GOOD ♪

[APPLAUSE]

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