Born in 1952, Willy Welch learned to love the sound of language from his earliest childhood. “I've made up rhymes and stories for as long as I can remember,” he says. “I woke up to Shakespeare's and Yeats' musical/poetical use of language when I was about 14, and these authors are still my primary inspirations when the muse seems to abandon me. I decided at 14 that all I wanted to do was use the English language as art, and I've used it as an actor, a singer, a writer, and a lyricist.”
Welch received his B.F.A. from Boston University's School for the Arts, where he studied acting. He went to work right away, and when necessary supplemented his career in the arts with jobs as a word processor, waiter, and taxi driver. Welch is perhaps most widely known for his song “Playing Right Field,” which has been recorded by more than a dozen performers, including the folk group Peter, Paul, & Mary. It has also been the basis for an award-winning commercial, and most significantly, Playing Right Field became Welch's first picture book, illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Marc Simont.
Welch continues to write music in projects ranging from new songs for Barney (the purple dinosaur) and a rockabilly musical version of Two Gentlemen of Verona, performed by the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. He and his wife, Wendy, often perform together as the folk/gospel duo “Wendy & Willy.” They live in Dallas, Texas, with their two children.