5 Canadian Musicians Writing Pandemic Holiday Hits

Dec 16, 2020

Have you heard the new single “The World Needs Christmas” by Marianas Trench bassist Mike Ayley and his wife Emily? They’re only one example of the diverse group of Canadian artists making holiday music this year.

This rush to holiday cheer has artists across Canada working to come up with the next big seasonal hit. But what’s truly behind this hurry to write the prefect holiday song? The answer may be obvious: the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed seasonal preparations into overdrive this year, with many trees and homes decorated before December even began!

Let’s take a look at 5 Canadian musicians trying to write a pandemic holiday hit!

“The World Needs Christmas” – Emily & Mike Ayley

The Ayleys don’t waste any time letting you know what drove them to write “The World Needs Christmas.” The song’s opening line is: “It’s been a long and trying year/Full of anxiety and fear.”

The inspiration is obvious. “I find myself quoting the song in my head all the time when I’m watching the news,” Emily Ayleys said, according to the Vancouver Sun. “This year has been unlike any other one, and not being able to travel to see my family this year and do all the things we usually do is what inspired it…”

The duo chose a classic, old-school, rock ‘n’ roll style waltz, coupled with rather pointed lyric the couple admits are a purposeful choice. They say they wanted the song to transcend trendiness with a timeless vide.

According to Mike Ayley, “We decided months ago that Marianas Trench would do a campaign in support of the Make-A-Wish foundation from the song. The idea being that it’s good to help people that are less-fortunate at a tough time.”

“Family For Christmas” – Jason Blaine

Also inspired by not being able to get home for the holidays, CCMA-winning country singer Jason Blaine gives us “Family For Christmas.” This classic, ballad-style tune references Sinatra and Bing Crosby, and sings about how much that close family contact is a big part of the holidays for so many.

“I live in Nashville with my wife and the four kids, and we would normally be heading up to Ontario for Christmas in any other year,” said Blaine. “But, of course, that’s not possible and it really is going to be missed. After all the things that we’ve all been facing, that family connection is just so important and I wanted to put that into a song.”

Although he said he has an affinity for the many goofy or silly Christmas classics, he chose to go with a more sentimental track. I think he nailed it!

Melt – Jody Glenham

After recently releasing the great album Mood Rock, Vancouver artist Jody Glenham is back with the Melt EP. This three-track record, produced by Louise Burns, is buzzing indie rock distraction from the world around us. “Kiss me cause you feel like it/Forget there’s a world around/Can we just escape/What is left to say,” she sings on one of the groovy, guitar-driven tracks featuring vocal contributions from Toronto’s Blue J.

It’s definitely a different kind of seasonal record – one that recognizes the holidays can be a difficult time of year for some, including herself:

“I had these three songs around in demo form for a long time, maybe since 2010, and I felt this was a good companion piece to Mood Rock,” she said. “They are all seasonal, end-of-the-year-sounding songs that I think address how this time feels for me, which isn’t always great. But we still wanted to have fun with the bleakness of the world right now and put out something that is a bit of a reprieve from that; it’s all a bit unusual.”

A very chilly christmas – Chilly Gonzales

Composer Chilly Gonzales also chose to take the not-so-obvious route with this more contemplative holiday album. With contributions from a variety of artists, including Feist, the 15-track album rest firmly within the more melancholic side of Christmas. Instead, with a star turn-on “In the Bleak Midwinter (feat. Jarvis Cocker)” and a rather less-than-jingly version of Jingle Bells, this album celebrates fantastic melodies.

Gonzales’s aim with this album is to highlight both the historic and community importance in seasonal songs. Thanks to the enduring nature of the songs he chose to include, as well as his obvious love for the material, make this record one of the year’s more thoughtful holiday choices.

“Ugly Christmas Sweater” – Nice Horse

Taking yet a different approach to the Christmas spirit, Nice Horse’s “Ugly Christmas Sweater” is a fun, country love song for the Christmas season!

“Ugly Christmas Sweater is pretty classic Nice Horse, saying something positive and nice and having a total blast doing it,” said Nice Horse’s Katie Rox. “We actually reference I’ll Be Home For Christmas in the song, which is one of my favourites, but this captures another kind of pretty real Christmas experience. Everyone seems to really be getting into it this year ahead of schedule, going, ‘Let’s find something good out there.’ ”

Which one is your favourite? Do you think any will become new Christmas classics? Did we miss and future hits? Let us know!


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