[KIM] LAWTON: McFerrin says his Christian faith permeates everything he does. But it’s particularly evident in his new album, “spirityouall,” which includes his interpretation of classic African-American spirituals and several devotional songs that he wrote. The project honors the legacy of his father, Robert McFerrin, Sr., the first African American to sing a title role at the Metropolitan Opera. The senior McFerrin also released an album of spirituals, Deep River, in 1957.
[BOBBY] MCFERRIN: I never heard my father pray. I know that he got on his knees many times before he went to bed at night and prayed, but I always heard him pray whenever he sang these spirituals.
LAWTON: McFerrin says songs like “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” still resonate today.
MCFERRIN: I certainly try to pray them as I’m singing them. That’s important. And the hope is that when people hear these pieces that they’ll carry them home with them and then they’ll inspire them to begin a spiritual journey or to continue on it.