World class baritone and Shadowlands Music recording artist David Britton is proud to unveil his highly anticipated holiday CD, Christmas. The full-length project released to retail today, October 9, 2015, through New Day Distribution, and follows on the heels of Britton's impressive patriotic EP, American Glory.
Hallels: Congratulations David on the release of "Christmas." Why did you decide to do a Christmas album?
David Britton: The primary reason is because I simply love the music that accompanies Christmas! It's almost like a soundtrack to my favorite time of year. And for many folks, certain songs inspire wonderful and cherished memories of a favorite family tradition, or favorite meal, or just a general sense of coziness. And for me, it is truly the most wonderful time of the year, when we get to celebrate the remarkable history of God becoming man, stepping into our world to show His love for us. Over the course of my life, I have often been asked to sing at Christmas time, and at those performances I was often asked if the music was available for people to take home with them. And now it is!
Hallels: With your background in classical music, did that help you in tackling these Christmas songs?
David Britton: Absolutely. I feel that much of the music that we enjoy at Christmas time is chock full of classical elements, and in certain cases merits the full-bodied vocal approach. Although perhaps more than just the "big voice" aspect of the music, there is so much room for creative orchestration, and thick layers of instrumentation that help to bring out the colors of Christmas music - bells, chimes, strings, percussion in general. And the audience almost expects that certain songs have that "orchestral" feel.
Hallels: Of all the Christmas songs, how did you narrow down your choices?
David Britton: That was of course one of the most challenging aspects to the project, and in the end, we had a list of 34 songs that we ultimately trimmed down to the 13 on the album. There were some big "fan favorites" that we new we had to include, like" O Holy Night" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". And we wanted to make sure we could captivate as much of the Norman Rockwell Christmas atmosphere as possible, while also staying close to the truth of the Christmas story itself with some very meaningful songs about the birth of Christ. The overarching hope was that we might provide a wide variety of songs that are both familiar, but arranged and orchestrated in a unique way, without going so far afield that the listener is put off. I think a perfect example of this is "The Wexford Carol", which is the oldest recorded Christmas song still in performance today. I have sung this song in a purely classical arrangement for many years, accompanied by orchestra and choir, but the rhythm of the song also lends itself nicely to something like a Celtic rock ballad. By pushing the creative boundaries, we were able to create an arrangement that has become one of the most popular songs on the album.
Hallels: You have also have a couple of originals on the record. Let's talk about "Whispers." What's the story behind this song?
David Britton: It dawned on me as I was revisiting the recorded history of the Christmas story in the Bible, I realized that the angels played an important role in both the foretelling of the events, as well as in the heralding of Christ's birth as it unfolded. And while we have many songs in the catalogue of Christmas music that mention the activities of the angels as messengers, I realized that I hadn't heard of any songs that described how the angels might have felt about this completely bizarre set of circumstances.
I also recalled that these are presumably the same battle-hardened angels that are locked in ongoing spiritual battle with the forces of evil. And so, taking a bit of creative license, I wanted to describe the angels as these incredibly powerful warriors who have been told that Christ their Commander is going to be reduced to human form, to a helpless human infant; and how conflicted they must have felt in terms of their desire to rush to the side of their Creator, to serve and protect, but being told they must stand down and let God's will be done.
Hallels: We've recently done an interview with Scott Wesley Brown. I believe you have also covered one of his compositions on this new record entitled "Sing Noel." Why did you choose this song?
David Britton: Yes, Scott Wesley Brown and Billy Smiley co-wrote "Sing Noel", and when I heard it for the first time, it was one of those songs that felt like I had known it for years. It immediately has an element of recognition, which makes it a worthy addition to the great catalogue of Christmas carols. I feel that it is beautifully composed, and its beauty really comes out of the wonderfully simple melody and text.
I also love that it starts in a very intimate way and gradually builds to a beautiful crescendo that makes it a delight to sing. The opportunity to record it with Christine Dente from Out of the Grey, who brings such a great vocal line to the song was absolutely icing on the cake.
Hallels: With a patriotic EP and a Christmas LP, what's next on your agenda?
David Britton: I've been in the studio again this year, with producer Billy Smiley, putting together the next full length album entitled "The Storm", which will be coming out in Spring of 2016. I am very excited about the project, which is borne out of an observation of some of the recent world and national events that can be very troubling; the various international crises that we are facing, refugees fleeing for their lives, the violence and fear that completely occupy peoples lives. And frankly my heart breaks as I see these events unfold, and yet, in the face of the storms of life, there is a peace that can be found. The hope for this album, which is also I feel, my whole purpose for singing, is to bring music to the world, that acknowledges the realities of the world around us, but brings a message of hope, strength, and calm to a hurting world. We all struggle every day with challenges in our lives, both external hurts, and deep internal, emotional hurts. "The Storm" seeks to acknowledge those hurts, and to offer inspiration and hope to a hurting world.
Hallels: Speaking of Christmas, what does Christmas mean to you personally?
Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year. It celebrates the moment when, human history was disrupted, when God himself stepped away from His throne, and stepped into the utter chaos of the world; the chaos that we as sinful man had created. That he would put on this fragile human form, so that he might relate to us, might experience the pains we experience. Not just to teach great lessons on how to treat each other, although he certainly did that, not just to heal the sick, although he also did that; but more importantly to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our wrongdoing, and in doing so, demonstrated his ridiculous and overwhelming love for us.
Beyond the beautiful music, beautiful lights, the celebrations with family and friends, the real celebration is that Jesus Christ, God himself stepped into our world to save us. So Christmas defines for me everything about my life - it transformed the idea of an omnipotent God into a person with whom I can have a relationship.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to find out more about you and your music, where can they go?
David Britton: They can go to any of the following places: My website: www.DavidBritton.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/DavidBrittonMusic iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/christmas/id1044278941 Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00QBCF8H6