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Confessions of a redneck opera singer

"Confessions of a redneck opera singer" Continued...

Can you tell me about your faith journey? Yes, I’d love to talk about that, because it’s the central driving force in my life. The most important thing I want to teach my son is who he is in relation to God. I told you that I was very involved in ministry in my youth, all the way through my 20s and my 30s. I was involved in church work and in contemporary Christian music. Things changed for me when I found this passion for opera. I realized that the Lord needs people out there in the real world. The pulpit is not the only place that I can be of use to Him. As I grow as a man, as a Christian man, and as I, hopefully, sow seeds of influence out there in the real world, I can be of use to Him. 

How has being in that world, the opera world, worked out for you spiritually? I’m like everybody else out there in the real world. There have been times that I’ve been on the mountaintops and I’ve felt really good about my career, my personal life, and my spiritual life, and there are times where it’s been a struggle for me. But I know now more than ever that the biggest gift that my father gave to me and passed on to me is my drive and a sense of who I am spiritually. I want to pass that on to my son. That’s who I want to be to my colleagues, the people that I work with. The people that know me, they know who I am. The most important role in my life is that I be a good father and a good husband. So that’s what I’m working on. 

Was your decision to live in Atlanta instead of New York a part of that process of having a more normal life, a life where you could be a husband and father and your son could be a child? You better believe it. I did my time. I lived in New York for 13 years and my wife, Meg, and I lived in Los Angeles for a while but, when you add a child into the mix, your priorities change. Meg grew up here in Marietta, Ga., and I grew up in Paris, Texas. So we didn’t have family around out there in Los Angeles and we wanted our son Cooper to have a strong family life and to be near grandparents. About a year and a half ago we moved down here to Roswell, Georgia. I’m looking out here on the woods. There’s a lake right down the street. We’ve got a stream flowing by the house. This is where I want to raise my family. This is where I want to be. We want to play out in the yard, you know, play in the dirt with sticks and go fishing in the lake. 

What about church? We go to NorthPoint Church out here in Alpharetta. Andy Stanley’s church. And we enjoy it. It’s very grounding and it’s one of the first steps we took in our personal lives [after moving here].

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians, or artists of any kind? I can tell not only young people, but also the parents of young people, this: Once you get to a certain level, everybody’s talented. The important thing is to pursue what you love and work really hard at it. The reason I’m here now is because I have worked hard at it. I’ve had a passion for the practice room and trying to figure out this art form. You can do it. You don’t have to grow up in London or Paris or Berlin to be great in the opera world. I want to be a great testimony that if you will work hard and pursue your dreams, then you might make it all the way to the Met.

Listen to a report about Jay Hunter Morris on The World and Everything in It, our daily radio program.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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