Kristin Chenoweth brings light with new holiday album

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For Kristin Chenoweth, star of the stage, the cinema and the recording studio, everything changed when she was seven when she asked herself a very important question: What would a rabbit do? The question came when young Chenoweth had a small role in Tulsa, the Oklahoma Ballet’s interpretation of Nutcracker. As a child, she aspired to become a ballerina. In fact, it was in one of her first dance lessons that she saw a piano and when half-tall, she decided that music would be her life’s work.

Around this time, Chenoweth auditioned for a role in The Nutcracker, and at first thought she might win the role of Mouse in an important scene. But she was too short for the costume (still today she’s only 4’11 “), so the director gave her the role of the bunny, a character who normally sits right in the background. Even at a young age, however, Chenoweth wanted more. She was inspired to act. So, setting there during the show one day, she wondered and just decided to get up and do just what a bunny would do.

“There was a big vine,” says Chenoweth. “And I asked myself, ‘What would a rabbit do? So I jumped up there and put the vine in my mouth, and jumped back. And the public has gone mad!

From that moment on, Chenoweth, who is now a famous Emmy and Tony Award winner, knew her instincts were right when it came to performing on stage, she says. “If I’m in the character, I think about that character. Like, what am I trying to say or convey here.

Now, a few decades later, Chenoweth is set to publish his latest energetic professional work, Happiness is… Christmas!, Friday (October 22).

Jean russo

Seriously discovering music as a child, Chenoweth says she begged her parents to buy her a piano, which she eventually got. Chenoweth, who was adopted at birth, grew up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, not far from Tulsa. In his youth, his brother also had a great impact on his musical sensibility. He loved country music and the two would listen to Randy Travis, Trisha Yearwood and others in his car when they were hanging out together.

But her brother was also almost five years older than her, so Chenoweth had quite a bit of time alone. It was at these times that she invented entire choreographies in her room. Every week she sang in church. She also won an award at school for a song she composed, along with sheet music. Slowly but surely she was absorbing an education.

“I was the one playing Tchaikovsky in my room,” she said, “putting on a tutu and creating a dance, a ballet. Or me on an old beaten upright piano making up songs, having trouble learning things by writing and not reading music.

For her latest project, which is her second holiday album, with A great way to spend Christmas (2008), Chenoweth said she was feeling a little nervous. She wanted to offer fans a balance between familiar songs and new tracks. For the album, she says, she was guided by a maxim: there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s been a tough time,” Chenoweth says. “Those of us who celebrate the holidays or Christmas have felt like we have been canceled for the past two years.”

So, Chenoweth said, she wanted to brighten up those dismal feelings and shine a light on some joy. For Happiness is… Christmas!, Chenoweth has worked with a number of songwriters and artists, including Grammy winner Keb ‘Mo’ on the track “Merry Christmas, Baby”. In fact, the two did something of a song business. Chenoweth will appear on the blues singer’s new studio album, due out January 2022. Chenoweth says she learned a lot from Mo ‘and that the two had such a great time working together that she hopes he can. be more down the line.

Maybe it will become a new holiday tradition, one of her favorites, like savoring her mother’s iconic pumpkin rolls.

“I’m not a cook,” Chenoweth said. “I repeat, I am not a cook. But my mom makes an amazing pumpkin roll. I remember many years ago People magazine– now I’m telling myself – asked me to tell them something I do on vacation and cook it for them. I said, ‘You have to be successful.’ And they said, “We’re going to help you! So I introduced myself [for the shoot] and the pumpkin rolls were all done, thank goodness. But these are the pumpkin rolls. I just love them! “

For Chenoweth, vacations are often about family and peace. They make a big dinner, each open a gift on Christmas Eve, and his father reads about the birth of Christ. The next day, it’s food-coma-central, movies and canasta. For those wondering, Chenoweth says, she tries to avoid looking at whatever she’s into. She doesn’t want to criticize herself if she doesn’t have to. Logic. For someone who’s garnered rave reviews and accolades for music, on-screen roles, and in stage roles like Glinda in the acclaimed musical Wicked, downtime isn’t about day-to-day work.

Still, maybe one of his new holiday songs will find the spin. For Chenoweth, who also recently joined her friend Ariana Grande for this season of The voice as an advisor, the music is a reflection of the gem of this time of year.

“In the blink of an eye,” Chenoweth says, “music can change your mood. In the blink of an eye, it can sparkle, something you want to write, sing or play. It can make you forget. I love it, I can’t imagine life without it.

Happiness is… Christmas! List of tracks:

  1. Happiness (it’s Christmas) / Christmas time has arrived
  2. Why wouldn’t it be Christmas every day?
  3. Merry Christmas, my darling
  4. (Everyone’s waiting) The Man with the Bag / Jingle Bell Rock
  5. The stories you told
  6. The little road to Bethlehem
  7. Merry Christmas Baby (Feat. Keb ‘Mo’)
  8. Christmas lullaby
  9. We are lights
  10. Santa, I have a bone to choose with you!
  11. Have a merry little Christmas
  12. My dear acquaintance (a happy new year)


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