NEW ORLEANS legend Harry Connick Jr has had a vast, varied career, taking in movie acting, Broadway performances, and his original and perhaps most passionate love, music.
With more than 20 albums behind him, and unquestionably a legitimate Hollywood star to boot, Connick Jr rarely produces a similar style of record twice. His latest, and first in four years, focuses on another Broadway legend, Cole Porter. Porter left us more than half a century ago, leaving behind a library of musical wealth.
“I signed my new contract with Verve Records after 30 years with Sony and we were talking about ideas. I said I wanted to do a songbook album, something new,” Connick Jr told us of the Porter-devoted record. “I made a list of my favourite Cole Porter songs, went out and discovered some new songs. I’ve always loved his music, so just picked the songs that spoke to me. The songs are great, so they’re easy to do justice to.”
Having been behind a piano since he was barely more than a toddler, there’s an endearingly jubilant confidence to the way Connick Jr talks about music, and about all his projects, though Porter brings out a particular vibrancy. He rewrote the tracks for his own style, focusing on the enduring legacy Porter left behind.
“I’ve been taking each day as it is for a long time,” he laughs as we chat about performing the Porter tracks on the Late Late Show. “I feel happy here in Ireland, a lot of my ancestors are from here and I walk down the street wondering if the people I see might be my distant cousins. But I’m really glad I don’t have to organise this stuff. I have a great management team behind me.”