BY ALLIE ROSE
Local Christian artist and Franciscan University alumnus Connor Flanagan, whose music has gained large amounts of attention from local parishes and youth groups, released his new album, “Close to You,” on Feb. 1.
Flanagan, a Youth Director at St. John Neuman’s Parish in Pittsburgh, has a passion for reaching out to Catholic youth through a unique, acoustic hip-hop style. Flanagan, who has performed at local retreats and youth rallies, continues to inspire the Catholic youth with his relatable style and message.
“My prayer for this album is to bring people closer to the Lord,” Flanagan said. “Being a Christian is not about having the right prayers to say, or being sinless, but about being close to Christ. I’ve been drawn to the apostles — sinners who betrayed Jesus. You look at them and you see that they have achieved sainthood by being at the Lord’s side. My goal is to be ever-growing closer to the Lord.”
Flanagan’s new album, “Closer to You,” featuring many songs about drawing nearer to Christ, expresses his unique style through many different genres, including worship songs, acoustic hip-hop and country, he said.
“(The new album) has a flow and I’m so happy how it all came together,” Flanagan said.
Flanagan, originally from Richfield, Ohio, studied at Franciscan University with the interest of playing basketball after hearing about the university from his godmother.
Being active in his household, Lions of Judah, really impacted his faith life, he said. “Household was a huge part of my music,” Flanagan said.
Like many students, Flanagan found his experience of studying abroad in Austria life changing. “When I went to Austria, I was removed from basketball, so I was able to really write music … (and) focus on God,” he said. “Between that and the classes I was taking, the Lord really made me interested in what he wanted me to do.”
Influenced by Matt Kearney and Paul Wright, Flanagan decided to try out his own style. “I wanted to take the flow of rapping from the modern scene and put it to guitar,” he said. “I thought, ‘Maybe I can create something here?'”
After graduating with a degree in business marketing and a minor in theology, Flanagan went on to do ministry with Franciscan’s LEAD program. After working with the teens and with the support of his household brothers, he decided to release his first EP “Acoustic Flow.” This EP put Flanagan’s sound out on the web and the youth tuned in.
Flanagan said, “It’s been nice letting people listen to my music through YouTube. It has given me an opportunity that allowed me to record.”
In regard to his plans for future albums, Flanagan said, “I want to have one about who Connor is, specifically about my faith journey.” You can check out Connor Flanagan’s music on iTunes.