Wil Key | But a Woman

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But a Woman

by Wil Key

The LA-based recording artist has teamed up with Grammy-nominated engineer Ryan West (Beyonce, John Legend) to produce a new CD celebrating the feminine spirit. "Each song is dedicated to a woman that has touched my life in some way.." - Wil Key
Genre: Urban/R&B: Soul
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Can You Feel It
4:55 $0.99
2. Naked
5:59 $0.99
3. Beautiful
6:36 $0.99
4. Butterfly
6:17 $0.99
5. Love Like Mama
4:29 $0.99
6. Fight Thru
4:57 $0.99
7. If You Stay
4:13 $0.99
8. Yeah
5:35 $0.99
9. Rising of a Star
4:29 $0.99
10. Don't Know What You Got
4:17 $0.99
11. Miss America
6:11 $0.99
12. Aint Been Here Long
6:02 $0.99
13. Mother Earth
5:04 $0.99
14. All She Wanted
4:47 $0.99
15. But a Woman
5:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Women have always fascinated me. This album is a chance for me to express that fascination, intimately, with the whole world...one song at a time," confesses the artist about his newly released CD that celebrates the feminine spirit. The taunting collection, his third solo release to date, is not short on songs or musicality and offers 15 brand new original works each inspired by a specific woman or female in the artist’s life.
For the project. Wil has again enlisted the talents of 5-time Grammy-nominated engineer Ryan West (Beyonce, John Legend), and has collaborated with several progressive recording artists including Jawaan “Smoke E.” Peacock from Def Jam’s PLAYA and vocalists Tonyo, Laura Key, Glenjamin Bishop and Maritri Garrett.
Both “Beautiful,” the album’s first single and “Fight Thru,” a duet performed with long-time writing partner Betsy Ruckard are memorable tracks and were recently featured in a live performance by Key opening for legendary singer El Debarge at the Key Club in Hollywood. Key’s music, like Debarge, uses a lot of real instruments such as guitar, piano and live drums, and goes against the grain of today’s drum-machine-driven radio R&B music. Key’s approach to melody and harmony also belies his penchant for vintage artists such as Stevie Wonder and Prince, but maintains an originality and uniqueness that is all his own.
Other stand-out tracks include “Butterfly,” a song about an exceptionally free and creative little girl which is written in a jazzy, triple meter. It was co-produced by Garey Kennebrew (Taja Seville, War) and recorded on a real Steinway grand piano in Harlem, NY –a dream come true recording session for the artist who also displays a great respect for his mother in the tune “Love Like Mama” later on the CD.
Stylistically, Key is all over the map on this project-writing complex chord changes over neo-soul grooves on one song and then delivering a guitar-driven latin or bluesy tune immediately after. However, the writing and vocal performances are solid from start to finish and the musical arrangements glue it all together nicely by utilizing the considerable instrumental talents of Key and several others including Will Artope (Stevie Wonder), Tohbias Juniel (Ron Miles, Bop Skizzum) and bassists Bijoux Barbosa and Jayme Silverstein.
All in all, But A Woman is, like its provocative cover art, nakedly honest and poetic at the same time. -a highly recommended listen for anyone who enjoys a sexy-soulful voice, great writing and vicious grooves.



to write a review


This CD is fantastic! Great melodies and arrangement! I'm a DJ that spins mostly hip/hop, R&B, Top 40....so it was so refreshing to hear something 'new' and original! I have played a few of Wil Key's songs at some recent gigs and got a good response from people.

A. Scott

Worthy Disc!!
When was the last time you purchased a CD - with 15 songs/no interludes no less - and dug it enough to let it play through without skipping one tune? L.A. based singer/songwriter Wil Key has delivered such a worthy disc thanks to the thoughtful, sensitive and sensual nature of his lyrics, the quality and sheen of the independent production, and a striking balance between live instrumentation (rhythm, horns and support vocals) and tastefully synthesized tracks. Vocally, Key gives utmost respect to his compositions, forgoing excessive riffing to deliver his lyrics with soulful sincerity that is as warm and endearing as it is tasteful and impressive. If you love Maxwell and Eric Bene’t, you will be feelin’ this brother who rolls with a slightly jazzier flow akin to Will Downing.

Titled But a Woman and graced with a lovely cover model (a contest winner) serving the eye graceful nude portraiture, the album’s packaging perfectly sets the tone for the music inside. This is a collection of songs that places women of many stripes on pedestals of adoration and fascination.

The “live” feel of the arrangements and instruments is reflected right away with the extended introduction of the opener “Can You Feel It,” a gently inspirational message for all about having hope against hope on which Key takes a full minute and a half to come in with the first verse. That’s called a warm welcome. From there, its love songs in every shade…one with spoken word, another with tasteful rap, and many with jazzy backing but all invested with compassion and care.

The funky horns-fortified “Naked” finds him instructing his lady to take off all the designer fashions and frilly lingerie so they can get skin to skin. “Beautiful,” with a groove interpolated from Jeff Lorber’s and Kool & The Gang’s play books, is a vivid description of his woman’s inner and outer beauty. The delicate piano ballad “Butterfly” is an ode to a friend’s lil’ daughter while “Love Like Mama” speaks of the unimpeachable love of his mother (fine trumpet solo here by Will Artope). Key drops down into the slow-bumpin’ guitar groove of “Fight Thru” about sticking through the rough patches of a relationship that he sings in a tight duet with Betsy Rucker. That rolls into the techno night groove of “If You Stay” and the moonlight parked-car seduction “Yeah.” And, dig it, that’s just the first half.

Round 2 kicks off with more danceable inspiration in “Rising of a Star” and the Isleys-esque synth-bells-kissed “”Don’t Know What You Got” (the traveling musician’s love-in-the-moment mantra). The album’s instant classic is “Miss America,” jazzy piano over a hip syncopated beat buoying a powerful reminder to women about just how powerful they are to the world of men. Time for a little backbeat blues rock thanks to the organ and guitar boiler “Ain’t Been Here Long” (a story song about how one of those Miss America’s rocked him off his moral compass) followed by the acoustic introspection of “Mother Earth” and the sunny percussive “All She Wanted.” The album comes to a close with the electric piano drenched title track, an intimate parting reflection about how a good woman wraps your world in love. And all of the harmonized, ad lib and lead voices you hear on this one, as well as all of the instruments, were played by Key.

File Wil Key’s About A Woman (the artist’s third project following 2001’s Gypsy and 2009’s Satisfy My Soul) under among the most impressive albums of 2012.