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11 Quick Questions for Harry Connick Jr.

Grammy-winning musician wants to ‘Make It Merry’ this holiday season


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Georgia Connick

The multitalented Harry Connick Jr., 55, has been delighting fans for decades with his musical and acting skills, and has earned three Grammys and two Emmys in the process. These days, he’s all about spreading seasonal cheer with a nationwide tour, “A Holiday Celebration,” and his latest album, Make It Merry, available on Apple Music.

Make It Merry is your fourth holiday album. What’s different about this one?

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Well, a couple of things. One, I recorded this one pretty much by myself at my house in my studio. The other albums were big, giant studio records with full orchestras. This one I did all by myself, except a couple of songs had horns on them or strings. And I also revisited some of the songs from my earlier Christmas albums just because it seemed like a fun idea. 

What’s your favorite track?

There's a new song I wrote called “Make It Merry,” which is the title track. I really like it because it's a new Christmas song. Obviously, I sang some incredible classics, like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Christmas Song,” but I really like this new song. It's a sweet, feel-good Christmas song.

You're in the middle of a nationwide holiday concert tour. Do you have a favorite road trip snack?

I’ve got to be careful on the road because when you're on a tour bus, there's a lot of opportunities for eating even if you're not hungry. I love pizza and doughnuts and candy, but I just can't go there. On that bus, if you open the fridge, it's basically water and some fruit and vegetables. It's the most boring tour bus fridge you've ever seen. It's frustratingly healthy.

You've written and performed songs for some amazing film soundtracks over the years, including When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. What is one movie that you’ll watch again and again?

There's a movie from Australia called The Castle. That's one of my favorite movies. I could watch that over and over again. It's just so funny and so wonderfully Australian. I love watching that movie.

Speaking of, you've recently been Down Under filming Australian Idol. What's the best part about being in Australia?

There's so much about that country that I love, but it's probably the people. They're just genuinely nice people with a really positive outlook. And everybody you meet is just helpful and hospitable. It makes your whole experience there memorable.

You released the 13-track album Alone With My Faith in 2021, and I understand that you sang all the parts and played all the instruments in your home studio. How many instruments do you play? Or have you lost count?

You know, I never really started counting, but I kind of play whatever the album needs. I've played enough trumpet or saxophone or drums or bass or guitar to kind of get by, and then if there's something that I don't play, I figure it out. On my Christmas album, there's a Cajun accordion, which is a real specific instrument that's a little tricky to play. I figured out how to play what I needed. I wouldn't hire myself as a Cajun accordion player on a gig, but I kind of figure out what I need.

spinner image harry connick junior kneeling on his hollywood walk of fame star, touching it with one hand; people in background
The musician received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2019.
Tommaso Boddi/WireImage/Getty Images

How has your faith played a role in your career success?

For me, it's all about my family and my faith. In my life, I work hard on making sure that those things are the priority, and then everything else falls into place. Obviously, I love my career and all the things I get to do with it, and I'm so passionate about it, but I find none of that really matters if those things aren't in order. 

What was the first instrument you learned to play as a child?

I'm a piano player, really. That's really the center of what I do, and then the other things all followed that.

You've done a number of duets over the years. Is there an artist on your duet wish list?

If I went into the studio and did a duet with [Dolly Parton], that would be unbelievable. I remember, I had a talk show [Harry ran from 2016 to 2018] and she was a guest. She's such an amazing singer, entertainer and human being. It doesn't get much better than that.

You turned 55 this year. What did you do to celebrate?

I was in Los Angeles, celebrating my daughter Kate's birthday because her birthday is on [September] 12th. So ever since she was born, my birthday's kind of an opening act to the main part of the show, which is her birthday. So we went and had some dinner on my birthday, but it's really about Kate. So we hung out, had a little party for her, and that was really special.

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Congrats on getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame [in 2019]. What was the best part of that experience?

The whole thing. I remember being in L.A. when I was really young, seeing all those stars and thinking these people have done extraordinary things. When they called me, I was humbled. [Actress] Renée Zellweger was there and she introduced me and my family. I still can't believe I have a star on that path. It's an amazing feeling. 

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