Will Holton didn’t start playing the saxophone until his senior year at Buffalo Traditional High School. Previously, he had dedicated most of his time to his involvement with JROTC. Once his path shifted and he became more focused on music, he enrolled into Villa Maria’s Music program, where he studied jazz performance.
Despite his dedication to his instrument and his obvious passion for music, many people doubted Holton’s ability to succeed. His late start, combined with a class three underbite that impacts his jaw structure, led many people to believe that Holton would never make it as a musician.
Holton’s big break came after he was handing out flyers for renowned musician Najee. Despite not being familiar with Najee’s music, the jazz sensation invited Holton to join him on stage one night.
Holton, who is now 38-year-old, says he almost quit music at one point because he was ridiculed. “If I would have stopped, I wouldn’t have met so many great people,” he said. And he wouldn’t be doing what he loved.
To anyone who may be considering following their own dream, Holton offers this advice: “The thing you thought you most likely wouldn’t do, will be something you will be great at,” he said. “Sometimes people try to deter you. Don’t be deterred, don’t give up.”
Holton’s next performance will take place on December 1, 2018. He will be joined by trumpeter Tim Bowman, guitarist Brian Freeman and singer Carlton Wilox for The First Day of Christmas Holiday Smooth Jazz Concert at the Tralf Music Hall on Main Street in downtown Buffalo. He also performs regularly at Soho on Chippewa.
Holton’s story was featured on Channel 2’s commUNITY Spotlight series on November 22, 2018. You can learn more about Holton and his journey as a musician by watching the whole video, which can be found here.