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Ireland and America, music-wise, are very closely related. The Irish came over with their fiddles in hand, and you can hear it in the bluegrass and rockabilly. I love it when music from different countries combine.
But to make a holiday record that involves favorite American songs and then also get to sing about Jesus birth, it just seemed like a real easy, subtle way to combine a couple of things that I love.
As an American, and especially as a Christian, I am convinced that a love for our own people is not a bad thing, but love doesn't stop at borders. Love is infinitely boundless and all about holy trespassing and offensive friendships.
Hating Wall Street is an American tradition that dates back even to the days when Thomas Jefferson cursed that money lover Alexander Hamilton. And for centuries, the complaints about it have largely stayed the same: 'It does nothing! It creates chaos! It's a parasite that sucks hardworking Americans dry!'
I'm closer to being happy. I'm doing things that make me happy. In football I loved to practice and I loved to play, but I hated to be in meetings, hated to talk to the media, hated to have cameras in my face, hated to sign autographs. I hated to do all those things.
I grew up listening to hits, and if I write something I feel, I think that's pretty mass appeal. I'm not very elitist with music. Love is universal; a great melody is universal; it goes around the world; it's not just American. A great song can touch the world.
The reason I'm in San Diego is not because I want distance from South Africa but because I want proximity to the people I love. But I don't envy growing up in America. As ugly as aspects of it were, my biggest blessing was to be born a South African.
No matter who you are, no matter what your color, creed, how you choose to pray or who you choose to love, that if you are an American - first generation or fifth - one who is willing to work hard, play by the rules and apply your God-given talents - that you should be able to find a job that pays the bills.
I joke to people in the press that I realize I'm not black, I'm actually white. But I've got these roots in black American music. I love it.
I had immigrant grandparents who came to this country and came for religious freedom and loved it, never made any money, Bronx, Brooklyn, but loved America. And they told me every day it's the greatest country in the world.
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