Rich Hennessy’s new song is called Keep Your Love.
“Keep Your Love” is a deceptively catchy tune, but it’s also one of Rich Hennessy’s most personal to date, depicting his inner conflict as a gay man raised in the Christian Church. This June, Rich will play at a number of Pride events, including Jersey Pride on June 5 and Kentuckiana Pride on June 18.
Rich Hennessy has finally discovered his own unique voice. He discovered his actual voice at a young age, shouting out pop songs in the backseat of his mother’s Dodge Caravan. But in high school, Hennessy discovered he had a new voice — one that might affect change.
“I observed how politics operated and their effect on ordinary life, especially on the school system, as a public school student in a small New Jersey town,” Hennessy says. “By the time I was in high school, I knew what corruption looked like and that it was all around me.” ‘What about the children?’ authorities would ask on both sides, but I remember thinking, ‘They have no idea what children want—no one ever asked us.’ Who was advocating on behalf of students?’ So, when I was in high school, I made the decision that it would be me. I began attending school board meetings and fighting for what I believed to be in the best interests of the pupils. I went head-to-head with teachers’ unions and the administration.”
Hennessy took his passion for advocacy to college, where he represented his peers and finally rose to the position of student government president. However, there was another voice inside him that wasn’t quite ready to speak.
“I didn’t want to come out in college,” says the student. I worried that being gay would hurt my academic performance and put my twin brother under constant scrutiny for the next three years. I used to think that being gay would be the ultimate ‘disqualification’ in my life.”
Rich’s father, who shares a great passion for music and songwriting, encouraged Rich to join him on a trip to Nashville after a series of life-changing events pushed Hennessy to dig within following college. Rich found himself in a studio with aspiring singers and artists, and it was love at first sight: the youngster who loved to shout out show tunes, the teen who felt compelled to advocate, and the proud homosexual man who had come out of the closet and learned to love himself. “I’m capable of doing this, and I should have done it long ago.”
“Enough,” his first original song, is about “his love/hate relationship with America,” as he puts it. “I created the song about a relationship in which someone has been disappointed or burned, but the connection in question is between me and my country.” When is enough, enough?
As a result of the success of “Enough,” Hennessy’s following release, “Break The Silence,” was written while he was in quarantine, out of outrage over the mishandling of COVID as social justice marches erupted across the country in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing. Hennessy was moved to write the anthem in order to encourage others to “reclaim our moment.”
“What can happen when you find your own voice and use it to transform the world is simply remarkable,” Hennessy adds. “Of course, I want people to appreciate my music, but on a deeper level, if I can inspire others to discover their voices via music and speak out against injustice, that is on a scale far greater than personal happiness.” “I want my music to be a force for good.”