Bio

"Mr. Will" Dupuy - Bus Driver

Austin musician “Mr. Will” Dupuy continues to energize preschoolers — and their parents — with the release of his third children’s CD, “Frank the Frog.” In a collection of original and traditional songs, his latest compilation serves as a reflection of success for the entertainer now playing more than 150 children’s shows a year with several ongoing musical residencies.

In addition to playing at a variety of school assemblies, birthday parties, church events, festivals, benefits, chili cook-offs and all sorts of hootenannies and jamborees, Mr. Will hosts regular shows at Brilliant Sky Toys and Books, and Cherrywood Coffeehouse, both in Austin. As his popularity and charming reputation continue to grow, he’s also picked up a monthly set at Whole Foods Market in Bee Cave and even played a corporate event for Google.

But at the heart of his musical forays, Mr. Will is committed to making fun songs for youngsters.

“I'm having a great time doing what I'm doing right now, and one of the best parts is entertaining the kiddos AND their parents,” Dupuy said. “I now have a 2-year-old, and so many of my good friends are having kids right now. It's nice to play events that are kid-centric, and yet the parents are enjoying themselves just as much as the kiddos.

The new album includes some songs written by his buddies either with or for their own kiddos. "Junebug Knockin’ on the Screen Door" was penned by longtime friend and frequent collaborator Neil Trammell of Alpine, TX. "The Eatin’ Song" by Austin artist Graham Wilkinson, is also featured on Wilkinson’s own kid’s record recorded with his twin toddlers. And "A Little Bit Longer" was written by Austin musician Lew Card for his 2-year-old daughter.

Mr. Will says he went almost strictly acoustic with this record because the inherent sound quality of acoustic music lends itself to kids shows. If you’re playing too loud on your own, you’re missing the point and not allowing the kids to easily sing along! He also wanted to get back to what he knew and loved from performing for many years with the South Austin Jug Band. The musicians from Dupuy’s “adult” band, La Tampiquena, continue to serve as the "Mr. Will" band. From the progressive acoustic band Milkdrive, Brian Beken joins in on fiddle and mandolin, and Noah Jeffries plays banjo and guitar.

The inspiration for Frank the Frog, the title track of the new CD, came as Mr. Will was sitting on his back porch, strumming the guitar, and it started to rain. “We've got an old hollowed-out tree stump, and as long as we've lived there, we've assumed frogs lived in it… but they only come out when it rains,” Dupuy said. “That night, I wrote the first three verses of the song. When we went to record it, Beken wanted to know the backstory of ol’ Frank. When I told him, he said, ‘Bro, that ain't no frog, that's a toad!’ So the fourth verse nearly wrote itself.”

Going forward, Mr. Will says new opportunities come up every day, and all the growth has been positive. He began performing in public as "Mr. Will" six years ago, and he’s still having a blast playing his songs to a growing generation of kids.

“I am thankful that I can take care of my family and have a schedule that allows me plenty of time to be with them,” Dupuy said. “Life is good. I love playing a set list that goes from ‘Wheels on the Bus’ to ‘Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On’ [a #1 country hit from 1985] and then ‘Hey Ya!’ from OutKast all within a 10-minute span. I think it works for me musically because if everyone is enjoying their time, I've done my job. That's what music is all about — bringing people together and having fun, no matter the age.”

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With the release of his first children’s CD in 2011 — “Dinosaur For My Birthday” is available on iTunes and features 10 original songs — “Mr. Will” Dupuy taps into the developmental and interactive aspects of fun songs while capturing the rambunctious spirit of his live concerts for the under-seven crowd.

His sing-along style incorporates equal parts of teaching and performing for energetic young audiences. Infectious melodies combined with upbeat lyrics make him beloved among pre-schoolers and early-elementary students, who clap, march, jump and dance along to their favorite songs.

An in-demand natural showman who plays multiple instruments, Dupuy has a personality as big as his signature upright bass and as bright as his wide smile. The son of a Grammy-nominated opera singer, he has previously worked as a private music instructor and performed with country musicians Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, Bob Schneider and Jason Boland.