Harry Connick, Jr.
HARRY CONNICK, JR. (1995)
By Ralph Burnett
It would be almost impossible to profile the most important artists of the decade without including Harry Connick, Jr.. On the other hand, it's hard to believe that in this age of rock and rap, any artist who makes a living performing Broadway tunes, Dixieland jazz, big-band and original love ballads, could rack up five Gold and three Platinum albums in almost as many tries. In 1992, Harry Connick, Jr. had four titles on Billboard's chart of the top 200 albums, more than any other artist. Add to that, three Grammys, one Emmy, and scores of sold-out performances to millions of enraptured fans worldwide--and all by the age of 25. Gee Harry, what do you want to do when you grow up?
Obviously, this young man has been blessed with more than his fair share of God-given talent, and is wielding that talent to lead a revival back to a time when true entertainers ruled the airways and swing dominated the dance halls. In the liner notes of his album Blue Light, Red Light Harry sates his purpose in no uncertain terms. "I am so fortunate that there are people out there who are giving my kind of music a chance. Between me and you, we're going to make jazz and swing music loved by the whole world. I want that big band sound in everyone's ears."
Despite harsh criticism from all sides, Harry Connick, Jr. continues to gain enormous popularity. However, it probably hasn't helped in establishing a report with his own generation to refer to contemporary pop as "kiddie music" and MTV as "pornography" in past interviews. Others may argue that being this disarmingly honest is one of Connick, Jr.'s better traits. Either way, it is not out of character for Harry to boast about his strong sense of morality and that he has never used drugs, doesn't drink, smoke (except for an occasional cigar) or curse.
Greatfully, for Harry Connick, Jr., the only lasting criticism is self-criticism. "You can think of a great voice as being like a knife," said Connick in a 1991 interview. "Well, mine is really more like a pillow. My voice is wide and has a lot of air and, over a band, it sometimes doesn't cut very well. But the more I sing with the band, the thicker my voice gets. When I get to be 35, I'm going to be a lot better singer than I am now."