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Harry Connick Jr. focuses on faith in newest album

Award-winning artist Harry Connick Jr. is no stranger to teaming up with the best in the industry. However, for his newest album, “Alone With My Faith,” Connick Jr. worked from home and reflected on his faith.

Connick Jr. played over 25 instruments to complete the new album, which is full of timeless hymns like “Amazing Grace,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “The Old Rugged Cross.”

“Those were songs that I’ve sung a lot and haven’t recorded, so I thought it would be cool to do those. And then a couple of the others were actually suggested to me by people in my life. My dad loves the song ‘Panis Angelicus’ (Bread of Angels) and my stepmom loves ‘Old Time Religion,’” Connick Jr. told Guideposts.

Aside from the challenges of recording by himself, Connick Jr. also experienced the tragedy of friends and family dying while in quarantine.

READ: Story of soldiers singing Amazing Grace gives goosebumps

“I lost 11 people I knew due to Covid, including my mentor, jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis. I lost the priest who married my wife, Jill, and me. And we lost Jill’s mom due to a different reason. It was difficult not be able to hold funerals and to mourn the way we had been used to; it’s forced my family and me to live a different way,” Connick Jr. revealed. “But we’ve accepted it and try to do our best to be socially responsible and safe and realize it’s not about us as much as other people.”

“I would go in the basement, write lyrics, write the melody and then start recording. Sometimes I’d start with piano, sometimes I’d start with drums or whatever instrument I thought it needed. Then I would add instruments I thought the song called for. I would chip away at it. If I had another idea, I would switch gears and do that. I just kept recording until I got the sounds that I wanted,” Connick added. “Sometimes I would sing, [because] I was alone. There was no recording engineer. Sometimes a lyric or a particular musical phrase would bring me to tears. As an artist that’s all you can hope for: that the music will move you to an emotional place. That happened quite a bit.”

Connick revealed that prayer became an important part of the album.

“I may pray during the song or the song itself may be a prayer. These songs are very powerful and are themselves prayers, like ‘Panis Angelicus’ or ‘The Old Rugged Cross,’” Connick Jr. explained. “If you’re present and you’re really paying attention to what’s being played and sung they can serve very similar purposes to prayers.”

Despite the hardships of 2020 during the pandemic, Connick Jr. said he relied on his faith and family.

“There were some days that I woke up and I was like, what is happening right now? I just lost a family member and I can’t go to the funeral. We can’t leave the house and we have to wash our groceries outside. What is going on?” Connick Jr. questioned. “Some days were harder than others. All I know is we see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I made it. The only thing I can credit for that is my faith and family.”

“I think there are people out there who will like the Christian songs because it will resonate with them. And there are other people who may not believe and may find some comfort in the music just because they realize it’s coming from a truthful and sincere place,” Connick Jr. said. “I think about some people in my life who don’t really believe in anything and I would think that there are some things that they can take away from this album too. It’s a pretty wide gambit. It’s for whoever it can strike a chord with.”

Ultimately, Connick Jr. is thankful for the opportunity that God has given him.

“I’m aware of how lucky and blessed I’ve been. And that’s what makes me want to keep getting better,” Connick Jr. said. “If somebody has seen me in concert I want them to come back the next time and say, man, that last concert was nothing compared to this. It’s the humility of realizing that I’ve been gifted with an incredible group of people who are interested in what I do and I take that very seriously.”

–Reprinted from MovieGuide with permission.