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Harry Connick Jr
Joseph Harry Fowler Connick, Jr. is an American singer, pianist, actor, and humanitarian. His music encompasses jazz, some of it similar in the style of the crooners of the 1940s and early 1950s, funk and blues.
Connick was born to Joseph Harry Fowler Connick, Jr. in New Orleans, Louisiana, on September 11, 1967. His father, Harry Connick, Sr., was an Irish Catholic descent. He is the former district attorney of New Orleans from 1977-2003. His New York-born Jewish mother is a former Louisiana Supreme Court justice. His parents also owned a record store.
Connick was a child of great musical talent. He showed interest in music at an early age. He learnt the keyboards at the age of three, played publicly at age six and recorded with a local jazz band at 10. His musical talents were developed at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Ellis Marsalis and James Booker also helped him a lot in developing his music talent.
Connick attended Jesuit High School and Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. For further education in music, He moved to New York City. He studied at Hunter College and the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, where he was persuaded by a Columbia Records executive to sign with that label. Harry Connick Jr. was his first record for the label. It was a mainly instrumental album of standards.
He soon acquired a reputation in jazz because of extended stays at high-profile New York venues. His next album, 20, featured his vocals and added to this reputation.
Connicks music was getting very much popular. At that time, director Rob Reiner asked him to provide a soundtrack for his 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally...,. It was starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. The soundtrack consisted of several standards. These included "It Had to Be You", "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore", and achieved double-platinum status in the United States. For his outstanding work on the soundtrack, Connick was successful in winning his first Grammy for Best Jazz Male Vocal Performance.
New Orleans is a city of paradox. Sin, salvation, sex, sanctification, so intertwined yet so separate.
Connick summarizes the gritty and grandiose, soulful and magical Crescent City, where the musical culture is second to none through the blurred lines from the dark blue of Mardi Gras night to the periwinkle of Ash Wednesday morning.
"'Yes We Can' perfectly fits the bill of a post-Katrina New Orleans. This should be the theme song of our great city." It also summarizes the manner in which Connick views life with positive spirit, a focus on solutions rather than casting blame, and a humanity that knows no boundaries. It is this same spirit that makes Oh, My NOLA such an honest and affirmative experience.
Flirtation with funk in the mid-1990s:
Connick decided to branch out in 1994. He released his album She. It was an album of New Orleans funk that also went platinum. In addition, a song called "(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name" for the soundtrack of The Mask was released by him. This song is considered to be the most successful single in the United States to date.
In 1994, Connick took his funk music on a tour of the United Kingdom. Some of his fans, who were expecting a jazz crooner were not pleased with this effort. The music was actually more reminiscent of the Meters rather than Motorhead.
In 1995, Connick also took his funk music to the People's Republic of China. He played at the Shanghai Center Theatre. The performance was televised live in China for what became known as the Shanghai Gumbo special.
Back to basics: return to jazz, 1999current
Connick recorded original love songs, touring the United States and Europe with a full symphony orchestra backing him and his piano in each city. All this promotion was for his 1997 release To See You. As part of his tour, he has the honor of playing at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway. The final concert of that tour in Paris was recorded for a St. Valentine's Day special on PBS in 1998.
He also continued his film career, starring in Excess Baggage opposite Alicia Silverstone and Benicio del Toro in 1997. He was successful in getting his first leading role in director Forest Whitaker's Hope Floats, with Sandra Bullock as his female lead in May 1998.
In 1999, Connick released his first album of big band music Come By Me in eight years. He also embarked on a world tour visiting the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia. In addition, in the animated film The Iron Giant, he provided the voice of Dean McCoppin.
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