“My dad is my spiritual hero. His faith is stronger than almost anyone I’ve ever met.”
Anyone who attended the Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict at Yankee Stadium in 2008 has to remember the stellar performance by Harry Connick, Jr., who had the unenviable job of being the pope’s warmup act. Connick joked, “People ask me all the time if I’m a practicing Catholic. I say, ‘Yeah. I’m going to keep practicing until I get it right.'”
Tony Rossi of The Christophers had a chat with the acclaimed pianist and recording star, who is now promoting his new faith-inspired album:
When the Covid shutdowns hit in March 2020, Harry’s career came to a total stop for a while, as it did for many throughout the country. The experience prompted him to take a musical and spiritual deep dive, resulting in his new album “Alone With My Faith,” which consists of Christian classics, Catholic hymns, and original songs. Harry joined me recently on “Christopher Closeup” (podcast below) to discuss the album and his own journey of faith, which was greatly influenced by his father, the city of New Orleans, and some kind and caring priests he met along the way.
As shutdowns and quarantines persisted last year, Harry considered the fact that he has his own music studio at home so he could record the gospel album he’d been thinking about doing for quite some time. He played all his own instruments and recorded his own vocals for songs such as “How Great Thou Art” and “Because He Lives.”
“As the weeks passed,” said Harry, “I started to think about what I was feeling, what other people were feeling, and how, maybe if I wrote some songs about this experience, from a perspective of faith and spirituality, maybe people will gain some comfort from it, and some musical enjoyment too.”
The album expanded to include Catholic hymns Harry had known all his life, such as “Panis Angelicus” and “Be Not Afraid,” as well as originals like the title track “Alone With My Faith.” In that song, Harry explores the idea that despite not having all the answers to life’s big questions, he also knows he’s never alone. The singer notes that he has found a way to integrate questions, and even occasional doubts, into a strong faith life.
He explained, “My dad is my spiritual hero. His faith is stronger than almost anyone I’ve ever met. We talk about faith and what it means, and what it means to question things, and what it means to have a spectrum of varying degrees of faith. I’m happy in my spiritual life because of that. My dad and I have different outlooks. My dad was raised by two extremely devout Roman Catholics. They said the rosary every day, my dad had an incredibly fertile Catholic upbringing. My mom was Jewish and was non-denominational by the time I was born so I didn’t even get baptized as a baby. I was 13 when I got baptized and confirmed. So my dad and I have a lot of good conversations. And I like where I am because I have asked a lot of questions, but I’ve also found a lot of answers, too.”
Watch the whole interview below.