Grady Nichols' FALLING IN LOVE WITH CHRISTMAS was released on Oct. 14 via RED/Sony Music and New Day Christian Distributors. This is the seventh career album to date for the Emmy nominated artist.
The project features Grady's signature sounds in a vibrant blend of seasonal classics mixed with new, original tunes. Drawing on his personal influence with masters of the genre such as Henry Mancini, Eddy Arnold and the Carpenters, FALLING IN LOVE WITH CHRISTMAS features instrumental renditions of Christmas favorites such as "Winter Wonderland," "Little Drummer Boy," "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "O Holy Night." The holiday album also offers original tunes through the upbeat anthem "One More Christmas Song" (vocal guest performance by 4Him's Andy Chrisman) and title track, "Falling in Love with Christmas."
Q: Thank you Grady for doing this interview with us. What is about Christmas that makes you fall in love with it?
What's not to love about Christmas? Seriously, there were two main thoughts behind the title of the record. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. As a believer, we have the privilege of falling in love with Christ as our Savior because He first loved us. And the second reason is that my wife and I professed our love for each other during the Christmas season 18 years ago. There's no question that Christmas is a very special time!
Q: Congratulations on your excellent Christmas debut album. Is the making of a Christmas record different from a regular album?
This one felt different to make. There's certainly a respect for the material and I do believe you approach this music differently in that you hope what you're doing will become part of families' Christmas celebrations and memories.
Q: You've got both originals as well as the classics. How did you approach the Christmas classics so as to bring a sense of freshness and individuality to them?
I never worry too much about continuity on a record. Everything certainly needs to flow together but I don't like thinking in terms of limiting myself to a specific style. We all listen to such a wide variety of music. You look at someone's playlist of favorites and they have everything on it from country to rock to classical. So with regards to each song, I tried to be inspired in such a way so as to be free to interpret and try out these songs in a much different but yet familiar fashion that hopefully gives the listener a new take on each song.
Q: Tell us more about the original "One More Christmas Song." What was the inspiration behind this song? And how did you get 4Him's Andy Chrisman to sing on this rack?
I have known of Andy for a long time and heard great Andy stories because one of my good friends went to college with him. There had never been an ideal time for us to work together and I thought this song would be perfect for him. Andy was a blast to work with and he brought such an energy and excitement to the song. He did exactly what you want an artist to do - he put his stamp on it and made it better!
The inspiration for the song really came from the idea that the feelings of faith, brotherhood, family, and community that we typically feel at Christmas don't have to be relegated to only Christmas time. These are emotion we should celebrate and share all the time, especially as believers. As a Christian, thanks to Jesus's sacrifice on the cross He has made us righteous and holy. With the Lord's help, it's up to us to act like what we are all the time.
Q: Besides Andy, you've got quite a few of notable people working with you on this record, one of them is Michael Omartian. Omartian has produced hit records with Amy Grant, Dolly Parton, Clint Black, and many others. What did Michael Omartian bring to the record that you appreciate?
I love Michael. He is such an amazingly talented musician and person. When you have an opportunity to work with one of your heroes, that is truly a gift. What was so cool about the way we did the record was that each and every musician really contributed their own personal musical signature and ideas. That makes for something really special and unique. Hopefully that fun and joy comes through to the listener.
Q: Besides Michael Omartian, who are some of the other musicians you have had worked with on this record?
Another one of my heroes is Chris Rodriguez, our producer of the project. He produced my last album, "Destinations". Chris is one of those guys who has such a deep reservoir of musical knowledge that his contributions really can't be calculated!
Working with David Hamilton was a dream come true. Hearing the orchestral arranging he created was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. These arrangements that David John (my guitarist and best friend, we've worked together for over 20 years) and I created started as rough demos and blossomed into something epic. What Hamilton created is extraordinary!
I also loved working with my buddy, Jeff Lorber on some of the more jazz oriented cuts on the record. Jeff has been on my last 3 projects and is a phenomenal musician.
Q: What's next for you? Are you touring to promote this record? If you are, where can our readers find out about your touring details?
The best place to find touring details is my website - www.gradynichols.com. I have some symphony dates with churches and one that I'm really excited about with the New Life Symphony orchestra where we do a show for the Dallas Children's Hospital. We'll have more dates and appearances to announce soon!