Buffalo’s Black Jazz Prince
A product of Schools #71, #82, and Buffalo Traditional, Will Holton studied jazz at Villa Maria College. He started playing the saxophone at 17 years of age. Ron Paladino was his teacher for sax lessons, but Will studied under John Sedola for 3 months (Sedola is one of the best jazz instructors around).
At 31 years of age, Holton has come a long way from playing at Greater Refuge Temple and later at True Bethel Baptist Church. In fact, years ago, he was intimidated and stopped playing for awhile. He was asked to perform at Class Day and people liked him so much, Will returned to his passion for music in high school.
“I learned how to play jazz in the streets, and I learned about the theory of jazz and music in college,” stated Holton.
Will Holton’s first big break in the music business came in 2003 when local gospel music great Ella Robinson gave him an opportunity to play and be on her album. Then in 2004, Will went on tour for a month with the UniverSoul Circus. His confidence mushroomed as an artist after performing on tour in different cities. In the same year, Holton received the People’s Choice Award by Night Life Music.
Launches Solo Career
In 2007, Holton launched his solo career with Rod Powell and Daniel “DP” Powell at the Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, NY. He has performed as an opening artist for John B, Roy Ayers, Najee, Indi Arie, Carl Thomas, Alex Bugnon, Maysa, Keisha Cole, and plenty of other musicians and artists.
Other Business and Music Ventures Holton is involved in other business ventures too. He writes music, designs websites, t-shirts, and does events management. Will is a BMI music publisher, the owner of Brand Builderz (a web site promotion and marketing firm), and he owns SSP Events Management. Holton also does image consulting for people and businesses. His work includes clients like world renowned jazz artist Najee. He has written grammy nominated songs for Najee too.
Holton is Driven and Thankful
He is driven by his desire and passion to one day being able to take care of his mother. Will Holton stated, “I don’t want my mother to have to worry about anything. Not have to punch a clock for someone else.” Holton is a mentor, guest artist, guest reader, and guest speaker at community centers and schools for the youth. His commitment to children is quite visible in efforts with the American Cancer Society and his new Reach Out and Lift Up Campaign targeting youth in WNY.
Holton is thankful for the support throughout the years from people like Van Taylor, Chris Reynolds from WBLK, and the various newspapers and television stations in WNY. “I have received lots of good support from the media, lots of good interview,” said Will Holton.
“I love when people sing my signature songs, or when I see the smiles on the faces of the audience,”
Holton is hosting a live cd release party on December 3rd at the Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main Street and doors open at 7:30pm. BlackWNY.com will be in attendance.
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