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Robbie Dupree

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Biography

Robbie Dupree is a pop/rock singer and songwriter whose smooth but gently soulful vocal style helped earn him a pair of hit singles in the early '80s. Robbie Dupree was born Robert Dupuis in Brooklyn, New York on December 23, 1946. Robbie's first experience in music came from singing in neighborhood doo wop groups, and he was influenced by classic soul artists such as Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. In the early '70s, Dupree was singing with the group New World Rising, whose guitarist, Nile Rodgers, would go on to a successful career as a producer, songwriter, and leader of the band Chic. Dupree relocated to Woodstock, New York and spent much of the '70s doing live work with a variety of bands, touring regularly and polishing his sound, as well as honing his songwriting chops. In 1978, Dupree relocated to Los Angeles and reinvented himself as a solo act. Dupree landed a contract with Elektra Records, and with the help of Rick Chudacoff and Peter Bunetta, who produced his first solo set, Robbie made a polished but catchy album that revealed the influence of soft rock hitmakers the Doobie Brothers. The self-titled album, released in 1980, would spawn two major hit singles, "Steal Away," which rose to number six on the Top Singles chart, and "Hot Rod Hearts," which peaked at 15. Dupree's second LP, Street Corner Heroes, followed in 1981, and featured a minor hit, "Brooklyn Girls," which topped out at number 54 on the Top Singles survey. Dupree soon fell into a dispute with his record company, and with the exception of the song "Girls in Cars," which appeared on the 1987 collection The Wrestling Album, Vol. 2: Piledriver, he didn't release any new recordings until 1989, when his long-awaited third album, Carried Away, finally came out. Dupree's popularity in the United States was waning, but he still had a loyal following in Japan, and his next two releases -- 1993's Walking on Water and 1995's Smoke and Mirrors -- were recorded for the Japanese Polystar label. Released in 1998, All Night Long was a self-released live album that included appearances from Tony Levin and John Hall, and 2003's Robbie Dupree with David Sancious was a jazz-oriented set with Dupree joined by celebrated pianist Sancious. Sancious returned to the studio with Dupree for 2010's Time and Tide, and that same year, as Internet comedians embraced the soft rock sound of the '70s and '80s in a series of tributes to what they called "yacht rock," Dupree enjoyed a career resurgence. Jimmy Fallon invited Dupree to appear on his talk show as part of a yacht rock tribute, and Robbie began playing occasional shows with an Atlanta-based band called the Yacht Rock Revue; in 2015, he even took part in a "Rock the Yacht" tour that also featured the Little River Band, Stephen Bishop, Ambrosia, and Player. In 2012, Dupree returned to more serious themes with a benefit EP titled Arc of a Romance, and he released a single in 2014, "In God's Country," that included a contribution from fellow soft rock icon Christopher Cross. The year 2015 saw the release of Anthology: 1998-2014, an album drawn from live appearances by Robbie and his touring band. ~ Mark Deming
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