When the 44-year-old sings, everyone stops and listens. The musician and actor wishes he'd get the same reception at home in Connecticut from daughters Georgia, 15; Kate, 14; and Charlotte, 9.

By Patty A . Martinez

Q. When did you realize your passion for music?

A. Right away. I started playing the piano at age 3. From then on I wasn't interested in anything else—including my studies! I always knew I was meant to perform.

Q. You grew up in New Orleans. How did that impact your career?

A. It's impossible to live there without loving music. The city thrives on it. As a kid I spent my weekends playing with more experienced musicians—it's common for an older musician to take a young one under his wing.

Q. Do you miss your hometown? How often does your family visit?

A. I miss it every day, but we go back often. My girls have been there a million times to see my dad and their countless aunts and uncles. They're passionate about the city and are fans of jazz, crawfish and the Saints!

Q. Your new movie, Dolphin's Tale, is about a dolphin who loses her tail, then gets a prosthetic replacement. Did the kids come on set in Florida?

A. Charlotte actually has a couple of lines in the film. And yes, they all swam with the dolphin, Winter, and it was an incredible experience for them. They still talk about it.

Q. Your wife is former model Jill Goodacre. Was it love at first sight?

A. It was for me! I was in Los Angeles recording a CD and she was there for a modeling job. On February 24, 1990—yes, I remember the exact date—she walked by the hotel pool. She was the prettiest girl I'd ever seen so I jumped out of the water and introduced myself.

Q. Georgia and Kate are teenagers now. Which is the scarier thought: dating or driving?

A. Driving. At least on a date, there's only one other person to think about—as opposed to driving, where I have to worry about everyone else on the road!

Fast Facts

Like Father, Like Son: "When I was growing up, if I asked my dad anything—'Can I have more allowance? Can I go out with friends?'—his answer was always, 'We'll see.' And now I find myself telling my kids the same thing."

Say What? "My girls and I have created five made-up languages that don't make sense to anyone else but us—not even to Jill. When we start talking to each other in our gibberish, she looks at us like we're completely nuts!"

Role Play "The silliest thing I've ever done for my daughters is to let them choose my Halloween costumes. For some reason they love dressing me up as a woman! One year I was Barbie, another year an old lady."

Long-Distance Love: "I'm on tour a lot, so Skype has become a big part of our family life. But when I'm home, I'm there for three to four months at a time, and I get to drop the girls off at school every day. It's the best."

Originally published in the October 1, 2011, issue of Family Circle magazine.