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Harry Connick, Jr.
Shares What Every Man Should Know

By Scott Ross, CBN

  Harry Connick, Jr. has had one fine career.  He started playing the piano with New Orleans jazz musicians at age five. At 18, Connick headed for New York and started a highly successful career in music, film, TV, and Broadway thatís lasted nearly 30 years.  We talked with him recently in Los Angeles.

  Scott Ross: Youíre a husband, number one.  Father, singer, songwriter, keyboard/piano player, composer, arranger, conductor, actor. What do you do in your free time?

  Harry Connick, Jr.:  You know, itís funny, Iíve been with my manager since I was 18. And we have a great relationship.  And she understands, probably more than anyone, how important all of the things you just mentioned are.  And thatís a Ė probably a pretty good order in my life, as far as hierarchy of importance.  So thereís more free time than you think.

  SR:  Your album... Every Man Should Know Ö this is a pretty intimate album, and my wife Öwants to know what you know that every man should know?

HC:  I donít know.  Thatís the liberty of being a songwriter.  You can pretend that youíre a lot of things that youíre not.  Iím much more romantic in that song than I - Iím not that good.

  SR:  What should every man know?

  HC:  Every relationship, is completely different.  And what works for me is, I donít really have to try to act interested in Jillís day.  I really want to know, like, how was it, you know. I feel like weíre a team and sheís really interested in me.  And Iím really interested in her.  But I think all of us have the capacity to love a person in a relationship.  And thatís basically what the songís about. Everybody should know how to do that.

  Harry and his wife, Jill, have been married 20 years and have three daughters.  Jill is often the inspiration for his love songs.

  HC:  There was this one song, called The Greatest Love Story.  And that reallyómy mother died when I was 13.  And I would love for my wife to have met my mom and my mom to have met my wife.   And that song is specifically about Jill.

  SR:  When did you meet, and where did you meet?

  HC:  We met here in Los Angeles, actually, in 1990.  We were both staying at the Sunset Marquee.  And I saw her kind of walk by and introduced myself to her because we had a mutual friend.  And as soon as I met her, I said oh man, this isóthis girlís really cuteÖ

  SR:  Now youíre a judge this year on American Idol.  Why did you choose to do that?

  HC:   I liked the opportunity for young performers to compete, and I think itís a great, healthy environment.  And thereís not a whole lot of opportunities where you can go and talk about stuff that you love in a very kind of frank, spontaneous, candid way.  So itís really a lot of fun to do.

  SR:  Are you encouraged by our young people today and seeing them as they stand there and theyíre performing for you?

  HC:  You know, I was really blessed growing up because I had amazing access to very, very intense education.  And access to opportunity Ö but Iím very encouraged by the talent.  The thing that Iím a little bit concerned about is Ėthereís so much noise out there.  Especially, specifically with social media, that a lot of times I think you can be distracting.  I just want to make sure that on my time on Idol, I keep firing this message at them: That you really need to learn your craft.

  Connick reached out to help some other kids in his hometown after Hurricane Katrina...

  HC:  We started this thing, Branford Marsalis and I, itís called "The Musiciansí Village.Ē  Itís 80 homes and now itís this incredible center.  And kids are showing up six-seven days a week for classes and theyíre teaching music and they have a recording studio. Oh, itís just fantastic.  Itís really good.

 

Harry Connick, Jr. is currently
one of the three judges on
American Idol's Farewell Season
along with Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez

  SR:  How do you balance all this out, all the things weíre talking about.

  HC:  Listen, I love making music.  I love making movies.  I love doing Broadway and television and writing. I love all of that. But it Ė really, truthfully, what is most important is my wife and my children.  If thatís intact, then anything can work.

  SR:  Your mother, Anita, had enormous influence in your life.  You dedicate this album to her (HC: Every album).  Oh really?  Whatíd she die of? (HC: She had cancer.)  And did you get disappointed in God when that happened, do you think?

  HC:  Oh no. I wasnítóit wasnít about that. It wasó I missed my mom.  But, you know, this ĖI think at the time I was so profoundly hurt.  And saddened.  God didnít really factor into those emotions. It didnítóI still loved God.  But it wasnít like, why did You do this to me?

  SR:  Your father is Harry, Sr.  Heís still alive? (HC: Yes.) What does he think of your careerÖ.

  HC:  I think my dadís proud, you know.  My dad knows that I aspire to be like him.  And thereís not a day that goes by that we have a conversation that he doesnít teach me something about something.  You know, heís a man of immense faith.  Heís a great man in so many ways. I reallyóhe really is a hero to me.

  SR:  How have you kept your head on your shoulders after the success youíve had over the years?  I mean, people, you know, go spinning off the road all the time in life. Drugs, you know, booze, whatever it is.  Thereís something at the core of Harry Connick, Jr., who seems to keep you in a balance.

  HC:  Yeah, a lot of it is my faith.  Iím Catholic, I believe in God.  You know, I believe in my family. And the other big part of it is, my heart really breaks for people who have illnesses like drug or alcohol addiction.  Why Iím not into those things?  I donít know.  I just know that I really love what I have. I really love what I have. I have this incredible wife, Iím not going anywhere.  I like that.  I worked hard to get this ring on my finger.  Now I have these three daughters and I would lie in front of a train for them like any parent would do for their kids.  I just donít want anything else.

  SR:  Do you ever pray?

  HC:  Oh yeah, I pray constantly.  Not constantly, Iím not praying right now. (SR: I am!)  I know. You 700 Club, man, you guys have that down. You guys can be having a conversation and praying at the same time.  Iím not that smart.  I have to like stop talking to pray.

  SR:  Iím still working on it, man.  Listen, I havenít arrived either.  You said you pray a lot Ö

  HC:  I do.  I just like to pray to just try to be the best father, the best husband, you know, whatever.  But, you know, every once in awhile I find myself, you know, with an ill friend or thereís some kind of tragedy where Iím like, you know, ďPlease help this person.Ē  And, you know, I find it, very helpful to me.

  SR:  You can talk to God, He knows you, He loves you, He cares about you.  And so you can ask these things in His name, believing, and theyíre given to you as a gift Ö

  HC:  Those are all such wonderful thoughts, you know.  I spend a lot of time thinking about things like that.  Iím not the best Catholic in the world, you know, Iím not the best Christian in the world.  But I like to think that Iíll be around, hopefully, long enough, to better myself at all of the things that weíve been talking about, you know.

  Connick doesnít take for granted the opportunities heís had in life.

  HC:  Yeah, I was lucky.  Same in my marriage.  I got really lucky. And I got really lucky with, um, you know, finding something that I was good at really early and Ö I mean, itís just unbelievable that I had that kind of opportunity.

  SR:  You would say itís luck, I would say itís Ėwell, I think God gave you some gifts.

  HC:  I wouldnít argue with that. And I think the main thing is to.. Iím aware of it, you know. Iím really aware of my good fortune. And thatís where I think the discipline comes in to constantly strive to get better.  So itís a labor of love.

(from The 700 Club - Click Here)

 

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