Carols Covered 2021

Holiday

Carols Covered 2021

Every year around the holidays, the most fortunate of families get together and eat, drink, and be merry. But what would these gatherings be without the proper tunes? Boring, if we’re being real with ourselves. Luckily for you, Apple Music is not interested in things playing out that way for anyone. Just like last year, we’ve commissioned a fresh crop of songs for Carols Covered, a collection of classic holiday chestnuts reimagined by some of contemporary music's most impactful artists. While previous Carols Covered collections have featured contributions from names like James Blake, Ozuna, and Fivio Foreign, this year we’ve turned up the yuletide cheer with selections from Jay Wheeler, Ari Lennox, Tate McRae, and Joy Oladokun, among plenty of others. Take it from us: You don’t want to get caught trotting out the same old Bing Crosby joints everyone already has seared into their brains. Throw on the Carols Covered playlist and be the hero of your holiday gatherings. Angus & Julia Stone, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” Julia Stone: “I think when we were kids, we used to have this Christmas CD that we played every year leading up to Christmas day, and it had a version of ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.’ I think all Christmas carols—but the ones that were on this CD [in particular]—just make us feel like that time was a real peaceful time in our family and we always got to be together as a family.” Angus Stone: “With Christmas, it's just a beautiful time to be together—the joy, the love. And our side of that is sharing music and the way that it can be such a special part of it all.” Ari Lennox, “My Favorite Things” “The original version of this song really spoke to me because Julie Andrews is a phenomenal, beautiful singer. Her tone is crazy, and I just wanted to do my own version. My interpretation of the song is just soulful and authentic and me.” Barbara Pravi, “Ave Maria” “The voice of Charles Aznavour reminds me of Christmas with my grandfather. I don't know why, but all the old French songs—Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, Barbara—remind me of my grandfather and grandmother. So I think singing ‘Ave Maria’ from Charles Aznavour makes me feel closer to the child I was.” Danna Paola, “Last Christmas” “I love a Christmas song that has another meaning besides celebrating Christmas. I think the lyrics represent a similar experience to me at some point of my life. My memory with this song, it’s just me in my room, Christmas Eve, singing the song full volume and crying a little bit. It wasn't a nice experience, but it takes me back, and I enjoy that.” Dermot Kennedy, “Driving Home for Christmas” “I chose to cover ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ because it's always been my favorite Christmas song. I think I feel an extra attachment to it now because I'm always away from home. Christmas is the time that I just know I'm going to be home and I can always count on that.” Eden Prince and Karen Harding, “Last Christmas” Karen Harding: “‘Last Christmas’ is definitely one of my favorite Christmas songs. I think it's the way that it, like, chugs along, and it has the bells in the background. And obviously, I absolutely adore George Michael. He's a big inspiration on my music.” Eden Prince: “For me, Christmas doesn’t really start until you start hearing ‘Last Christmas’ everywhere. It really is a sign that the holidays have arrived and it’s time to start buying gifts, before I’ve left it too late.” Eslabon Armado, “Navidad Sin Ti” Pedro Tovar: “I decided to cover this song because it's a good regional Mexican song for Christmas and because I used to listen to it every day on the radio when I was small. The original version, it's very vibey. It has different instruments that you don't really see or use today. Our style is completely different from how the style used to be back then; it’s more like sierreña, more like guitars with the bass. We might add a tuba.” Esther Graf, “Merry Christmas Everyone” “It’s the lyrics of the song that catch me the most. Everybody's able to identify with the song because the lyrics have been kept very general, but it still gives you the Christmas vibes you need. The song is about love and loving each other, and this is the message I want to spread in my music.” Gabby Barrett, “Silent Night” “I decided to cover ‘Silent Night’ because it is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. I think it is so beautifully written—a song that talks about a calm, silent night, and expressing the wonders of a newborn child, our Lord being born. I think it's just beautiful in every way.” Griff, “O Come All Ye Faithful” “It's quite a nostalgic one for me. I grew up in church, so Christmas has always been about being in church and who Jesus is and singing carols, so I guess, as fun as all the other Christmas songs are, I think it's important to bring it back to what Christmas has always meant for me. It felt right to do a traditional hymn.” IDK, “Coal” “This song was made about three years ago, but I always wanted to release it as a holiday record. It’s my depiction of what I would call a ‘Black Christmas’ in a Black household where things may not be as perfect as they may seem in other households. It's my reality of comparing what was taught and shown to me—through TV and all these other things—about Christmas and what my reality of Christmas was.” Jay Wheeler, “Me Voy a Regalar” “‘Me Voy a Regalar’ [by Marc Anthony] is a classic I’ve been listening to every Christmas in Puerto Rico since I was a little kid. The original song really touches me. It’s a really beautiful song and it brings back many Christmas memories. Also, Marc Anthony is one of my favorite artists.” Joy Oladokun, “Jingle Bells” "It's a fun, sort of raucous song. I feel like everybody has a goofy version that they sing in a car or that they grew up listening to. It's a cool representation of Christmastime that doesn't necessarily have any religious or spiritual undertones. It's literally about the sounds and the vibe of the season.” JP Saxe, “River” “This song, to me, brings up being alone on Christmas, sitting at my upright piano, just wallowing in my own emotions, being in a new city on a holiday. I know that's not the happiest of memories, but it's a song that can make you feel connected to people you love, even if you're not with them, and I think that's something we certainly need on the holidays.” Omah Lay, “Winter Wonderland / Don't Worry, Be Happy” “This song brings up memories of time spent with families, especially Christmas afternoons; food, banter, drinks, friends. Nothing could go wrong. It's a song that has been inspirational for decades, regardless of season.” Shenseea, “Hallelujah” "Before I became an official artist, I remember hearing ‘Hallelujah’ on The Voice. The contestants did a cover, and ever since then, I fell in love. What strikes me from the original version is that, to me, it's a prayer. I'm always praying and I'm always giving praises. I thank God every single day. I acknowledge Jesus just for blessing me with the voice that I have.” Sofi Tukker, “What a Wonderful World” Sophie Hawley-Weld: “We decided to cover ‘What a Wonderful World’ because it's definitely one of our favorite songs. Louis Armstrong is a genius. He sings it so beautifully. So we decided to use some jazz chords and switch up the melody to really fit with how Sofi likes to sing.” Tai Verdes, “This Christmas” “The Donny Hathaway version of ‘This Christmas’ is what I would listen to to transport myself into the mood of Christmastime every single time that I wanted to be in that mood. This song brings up the holiday memory of opening my first present—just seeing the presents under the tree. Sometimes there were more, sometimes there were less, but it was always excitement when I saw those presents.” Tasha Cobbs Leonard, “The First Noel” “I would describe my interpretation of ‘The First Noel’ as having a worshipful feel. It's almost like when producing this song, Kenny [Leonard] kind of cleared the way for the vocal and the melody to be on display. When you listen to it, everything is just kind of set to the side and you have this piercing vocal center of the production, center of the mix that really captivates the moment and the feel of the song.” Tate McRae, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” "This song reminds me of warmth and movies and everything I love about the holidays—being with your friends and family. I wanted to try and recreate that with my own rendition. I feel like I couldn't recreate a classic Christmas song. I just wanted to put my own spin on it and have an updated version that my fans can love and appreciate for the holiday season.” Tauren Wells, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” “Before I was making music professionally, I worked at a bookstore in the mall, and my favourite time of year was during the holiday season. At Christmastime, the lines get really, really long, so to entertain everyone, I would sing this song as they were standing in line.” Tia Ray, “Grown Up Christmas List” “The melody of ‘Grown Up Christmas List’ is so touching, and then the lyrics give me a lot of hope and make me think of my family and make me feel happy. I’m using my version to deliver my love to my family and my friends and whoever loves Christmas.” Wolf Alice, “In the Bleak Midwinter” Ellie Rowsell: “‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ is maybe not the first thing that people think of when you think of a carol. It's quite pastoral and quite English in a way, which is quite nice. It's a really beautiful, haunting melody that all four of us enjoy and thought we could interpret in our own way. I think we all thought it was moving away from a more obvious carol choice.” Zivert, “Kaby ne bylo zimy” “One of my favorite Soviet cartoons is Prostokvashino, especially the moment when ‘Kaby ne bylo zimy’ plays. From my childhood, I vividly remember my mother opening all of the windows in our house when the New Year clock started chiming. She would say that she wants to let the New Year in, and the fresh, frosty air was filling our apartment. Now I make sure to always do the same myself.”