Simply Christmas

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Simply Christmas
Leslie Odom Jr., Simply Christmas album front cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 11, 2016
GenreChristmas
LabelS-Curve Records
Leslie Odom Jr. chronology
Leslie Odom Jr.
(2016)
Simply Christmas
(2016)

Simply Christmas, the second album by American actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr., features jazz interpretations of Christmas standards. It was released in November 2016. A year later, in October 2017, a deluxe edition was released with four additional songs.[1]

Background[edit]

Odom was signed to a four-album deal with S-Curve Records in 2016.[2] The first album, an updated and improved re-release of Leslie Odom Jr., was released in June 2016, before Odom left the Broadway cast of Hamilton,[3] and charted at No. 1 on Billboard Jazz and No. 147 on Billboard 200.

Production[edit]

Odom had frequently been asked by fans to make a Christmas album, leading to the creation of Simply Christmas.[4] Odom strove for a more unique sound: "I didn’t want it to be sad. I didn’t want it to be sullen. But I don’t think the album was really ever cheerful," he said in an interview.[5]

Before recording, Odom and producer Steve Greenberg developed a list of 75–100 Christmas songs to choose from.[5] Odom referred to the Carpenters' song "Merry Christmas Darling" as a "surprise" addition from Greenberg that Odom didn't expect to work, "but it ended up working."[5]

After recording Simply Christmas, Odom was dissatisfied with the initial result. He told The Wall Street Journal:

When we got the masters back in September, I hated them. It was so bad. I was already hard on myself in the vocal booth – whenever you're setting out to record something like "The Christmas Song," it's a lot different than singing at a Christmas party. You want to make sure that it sounds sincere and honest. When I was listening to it I hated it so much. We begged for a little bit more time from the record company... We took the thing apart.[5]

On November 11, 2016, after Odom rerecorded a number of tracks, S-Curve released Simply Christmas as Odom's second album.

In an interview with the New York Observer, Odom added that he wanted to create an album that didn't feel disconnected from the political climate, an album with a "finger on the pulse of the time we're living in."[6] He also noted, "We give ourselves permission to abandon ship if a project isn't working out. We'd rather walk out then put something out that's subpar. We didn't know if the Christmas album would be something we're proud of, but it is."[6]

2017 deluxe reissue[edit]

For the 2017 Christmas season, a deluxe edition of the album was released in October 2017 with four additional songs: "The Christmas Waltz", "Christmas", "Edelweiss", and "Please Come Home for Christmas".[1]

Promotion[edit]

Odom toured in 2016 and 2017 to promote the album, performing concerts backed by a jazz quintet that included a drummer, percussionist, bassist, guitarist, and a pianist who is also Odom's musical director.[7]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"4:24
2."First Noel"3:08
3."My Favorite Things"5:51
4."I'll Be Home for Christmas"3:43
5."The Christmas Song"4:06
6."Merry Christmas Darling"2:50
7."Winter Song"4:03
8."Ave Maria"3:15

Charts[edit]

Chart (2016) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[8] 31

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Snyder, Diane (October 27, 2017). "Leslie Odom Jr. Talks His New Christmas Album, Life After Hamilton & More". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 28, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ "Leslie Odom Jr. to leave Hamilton in July". Associated Press. June 20, 2016. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ Lee, Ashley (June 30, 2016). "Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr. Talks Jazz Album, Residency Dreams and Potentially Playing Aaron Burr Again (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 14, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ Gans, Andrew (November 9, 2016). "Listen: Leslie Odom Jr. Releases a Second Track from His New Christmas Album". Playbill. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ a b c d Ayers, Mike (November 9, 2016). "Leslie Odom Jr. Returns With a New Holiday Album". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ a b Schwartz, Dana (November 17, 2016). "Leslie Odom Jr. On Creating a Christmas Album That Makes Sense In 2016". New York Observer. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Roa, Ray (June 20, 2017). "Interview: Song and dance man — Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. breaks out with an album and tour". Creative Loafing. Tampa Bay, Florida. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "Leslie Odom Jr. Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 22, 2016.