Homegrown singer and songwriter Will Dempsey had quite the 2021, and he’s kicking off 2022 with the release of a new original song on Jan. 21.
Last year the Ama native and resident released new songs, had a previously released original song go viral and appeared on Access Hollywood and TODAY – where he played on the national television show. His song “Best Parts of Me” rose quickly on iTunes charts, reaching No. 2 on the country chart and No. 5 on the all-genre chart.
Dempsey first became an instant internet sensation in 2019 after his wife Tiffany posted a video on Facebook that showcased Will and their son Weston playing guitar and singing together. The video went viral and launched Will’s pastime of singing into something more.
Dempsey’s new song releasing this week for streaming and download is titled “Beat You There.” The song was written after the death of Audrey Maria Higgins, a friend of Dempsey’s who was killed as the result of a July 4, 2020 boat crash.
“Not only was she a good friend, but she was also a big supporter of my music,” Dempsey said. “She came to every one of my shows and even set up one of the biggest shows I had at the time. So after she passed away, I wanted to do something special for her and her family … so I wrote this song in her honor.”
Dempsey said he’s known Higgins for as long as he can remember.
“I’m not sure exactly when we met. I was just a kid at that time,” he said. “We both grew up in Ama and being such a small community, you pretty much get to know everyone around your age. She was a little older than me, so we didn’t really hang out all of the time when I was younger. But as we got older, one of my best friends, Blake, started dating her sister and we started doing a lot more things together and got much closer.”
Dempsey said Higgins was a great friend.
“She was always willing to help out and never asked for anything in return,” he said. “She was just a genuinely good person, and it was impossible not to like her. She was also a really positive person and was always looking to have a good time.”
Higgins, Dempsey said, was also a really big supporter of his music when he was just starting out.
“She came to every one of my shows and even set up a show for me at Fat Boys bar in Luling,” he said. “At the time, it was the biggest show I’d ever done. The place was packed … and I owe it all to her.”
Dempsey began penning the song the day of Higgins’ death.
“I wanted to write it for a few different reasons,” he said. “For one, I wanted to do something special for her – to honor her and keep her memory alive because of all the things she had done for me. Also, I was very close to everyone in that boat. I saw first-hand all of the hurt and pain that this family was going through because of this accident, and I wanted to do something special for them to help them cope with her loss and help give them hope that they would see her again. Grief makes it pretty easy to write songs and it also helped me to process all of the things I was feeling at the time.”
The song, Dempsey said, was all around a labor of love.
“I’ve worked really hard on this one,” he said. “I actually produced and mixed the song myself … just me and the guys in my band in my little home studio. The great thing about this song is that anyone who’s dealing with losing someone can relate to it. It’s not just meant to be a sad song about loss … its meant to give people hope as well … hope that they will see this person again one day.”
Caitlin Higgins Comardelle, Higgins’ sister, said her favorite line of the song is “We’re both headed for the same place anyway … I just beat you there.”
“The first time I heard the song I just cried … from the first strum of the guitar to the last,” Comardelle said. “It’s after the second and third time that I listened to it that I heard how hopeful the song is and how proud we are to have this song represent my sister. Audrey wouldn’t want us to cry. She would want us to pick ourselves up and keep living our lives and thanks to this song and the support we get from our community, from both people we knew and complete strangers, we are able to do that on most days.”
Comardelle said she hopes the song will bring happiness and hope to anyone going through a similar situation.
“The loss of a loved one, especially as sudden and unexpected as the loss of Audrey, is one of the hardest experiences people will ever go through,” Comardelle said. “If this song can somehow put a hand on their shoulders and tell them that their loved one is OK and that they’ll see each other again … then I think that is all Will or any of us could ever want.”