Harry Connick, Jr. - 'All These People '

Columbia Records is set to release All These People by Harry Connick, Jr. on August 29. This song was written and composed by Connick and performed by the acclaimed singer/pianist in duet with gospel singer Kim Burrell, will benefit New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village.

The poignant lyrics, written after Hurricane Katrina had devastated New Orleans, were inspired by the suffering Connick witnessed when he visited his native city in the days immediately following the tragedy, and capture both the individual anguish of those left waiting for rescue and the bonds of brotherhood formed during the disaster. "The song is all about the people who were left stranded at the convention center, " Connick explains. "I wrote four verses, each describing what I saw as I was taken through by a kind fellow I had met on the street earlier that day named Darryl."

Burrell, who Connick describes as "the perfect choice" for representing the brave people he met, shaped the final form of the song. "She, too, had been deeply affected by the hurricane, and was moved by the challenge of putting her feelings into song. After I read her the lyrics, she asked that her voice specifically represent 'the first two people we saw [who] left the way they came.' These were two dead bodies I saw when I first arrived at the convention center. Kim also asked that a final verse be added for her to sing, which I wrote in the studio. My favorite part of the performance is when Kim improvises the line 'come see about me, ' which was all those folks wanted that day, someone to come and see about them."

The single is being released on the one-year anniversary of Katrina on iTunes, and is the first single off Harry Connick, Jr.'s forthcoming New Orleans big band album, OH MY NOLA, set for release this fall. In addition to well-known songs associated with New Orleans, the new album will also feature several original songs by Connick that reflect on all aspects of this fabled and embattled cradle of American musical culture.

All of Connick's royalties from this single will benefit the New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village, a project conceived by Connick and his longtime friend and colleague Branford Marsalis. Connick and Marsalis serve as honorary chairs of Habitat for Humanity's hurricane relief program, Operation Home Delivery. Musicians' Village, which began dedicating completed houses on June 1 and is scheduled to dedicate 40 additional completed homes on August 19, will consist of single-family homes and elder-friendly duplexes. In addition, the Musicians' Village will contain the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, named for the modern jazz pioneer and patriarch of the Marsalis clan who counts Connick among his legion of successful music students.

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