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Kris Allen Talks About Christmas Traditions And American Idol

You might know this musician, he sings a couple of hit songs like “Live Like We’re Dying” and cover of the hit song “Heartless.” Kris Allen won the eighth season of American Idol and released a Christmas album called Something About’ Christmas. The album was released in 2016 and Allen is now touring for the album on a special Christmas tour. The album includes remakes of classic Christmas hits as well as original Christmas tunes.

The show itself was at the City Winery, a brand-new venue in Boston near TD Garden. The vibe of the venue  was to make you feel warm and cozy, like you were already home for the holidays. Families and friends enjoyed some nice wine or food at their tables while listening to Kris Allen jam out Christmas tunes, it was definitely a proper way to celebrate the holidays. Before the show, Voice writer, Will Heffernan, had the chance to sit down and talk with Allen about the holidays and the return of American Idol.

Q: You just performed in Providence before this, how was that?

A: “It was good, really good. I was talking to somebody yesterday and I couldn’t remember if I’ve been there or not in the past 8 or 9 years. The last time I was here was for the Idol show, so it’s been a long time. It was a fun show, sometimes you have expectations of a show, not that mine were bad, but I’ve never performed there and it turned out to be one of our most fun nights so far.”

Q: Are you playing only Christmas songs on this tour or are you playing some classic songs like “Live Like We’re Dying”?

A: “Ya, so definitely Christmas tunes, we’re going for it. There’s props, there’s a lot of stuff. I don’t think it’s like how everyone else does it, it feels a little different to me, it feels kind of fresh in an old school way. It’s a lot of Christmas music, there’s a lot of different things that happen in the show that I think people really love. We play 19 nights or something like that, and three of them are not Christmas songs. Honestly I’ve had people come to the show and they don’t love Christmas music and they came away in a better mood.”

Q: What was the process of making the Christmas album?

A: “When I was making it, I thought, ‘What would I listen to if I was listening to Christmas music?’ I can picture myself playing these songs or listening to these songs, sitting by a fire, maybe with a friend or maybe alone, maybe with a cup of Eggnog, and be warm and a have a little smile on your face. Tthat was the vibe we were going for when we were making the record.”

Q: What’s your favorite song off the album?

A: “I think my favorite classic song that we re-did is “Here Comes Santa Clause”. It feels like a different rendition than what has been done before and it still goes over well. I don’t think we went too far and didn’t do the song justice, so the song feels like the song but it has a different groove to it. Other than that, I think my favorite song that I wrote on the record is “Just Like Snow.” I love that song, maybe because there were some fun things that happened during the song during the show, so it’s fun to play that one.”

Q: How long did it take you to find that picture that you used for the album artwork?

A: “It took a while, it took quite a bit. I called my mom and was like, can you some like old Christmas photos of us? My mom keeps a photo album and she sent me a bunch of them and even not of me and my brother, it was just like of her family as well when she was a kid. None of them quite fit right, I was like ‘Man, I don’t think we’re going to find this and I’m going to have to take a photo in a coat in the snow’ and that’s not what I wanted. Then, she found this photo and was like, ‘I don’t think you’d like this one but I thought I would send it anyway’ and I was like ‘That’s it!’”

Q: You have two kids, does your family have any Christmas traditions that have become new to your family over the years?

A: “No, not really. We’ve been going back to my parent’s house for Christmas since my kids were born so we’ve kind of just adopted those traditions. I think there will be a time, my mom is not going to like this, there will be a time that I think we do Christmas at our house and we’ll make our own traditions but we just haven’t done that yet. Since I was a baby, my mom gets everybody PJ’s, for me, my wife and now for my two kids. We all have to put them on, no matter how bad we look. Then we play a game and spend the night listening to music.”

Q: How did the idea of making a Christmas album come to be?

A: “Making a Christmas record was never on my mind because I didn’t think anything I could do could stack up to that classic Christmas vibe, something I would really want to listen to. I’ve been working with this guy for a while and I thought, if anyone is going to help me make a Christmas record, it’s going to be him. We had the fun project of making a Christmas record and it was a lot of fun. He did an amazing job just capturing what I was going for. It took like two or three days to make and it was just so fun making that album. We made it July but we turned the air conditioner on and made it really cold and we were wearing sweaters. It was the most fun I ever had making a record. There were no expectations really. Maybe that’s the good thing about Christmas because it’s not super personal, it’s like, let’s just have fun making a record and we can maybe be a little cheesy if we need to.”

Q: Can we expect a new original album soon?

A: “The plan is to release something in 2018. I hope that happens; the project is not done. I’m still writing, still working on stuff. I’m not in any hurry to make it because I feel like I’m at a point in my career that this next thing I put out will be the fifth non-Christmas record that I put out and I have a lot of expectations for myself so I want to really make sure that it’s going to be something that I’m really proud of, front to back; something that’s really special and hopefully will last forever.”

Q: Looking back on Idol, what’s one of the most memorable moments since winning for you?

A: “Since winning, career-wise, I’ve gotten to play with a lot of people, got to hang out with a lot of people and make some friends in the music industry. I think for me, the coolest thing that I get to do, it’s always amazing to me to hear a song in the store or play a show and someone come up to me and go, ‘Your music got me through a lot stuff,’ and those moments will always be the best to me. Just because I’m making music for other people, not to impress other peers or other artists or friends or musicians that I look up to. I’m making music for myself and when it touches it someone else, those are the moments.”

Q: What were your thoughts on American Idol coming back so soon?

A: “It was definitely unexpected. There was a big sign off that night and it was like, ‘sSee you later! Maybe never again!’ It was like seven months later, it was like ‘Hey! We’re back!’ I mean, I don’t have any problems with it by any means, I’ve already done some things for the show. I think the partnership with ABC is a good one, I think that’s really smart. If anyone’s got anything figured out, it’s Disney. We’ll see what the show does. I know a lot of the producers and stuff are still the same so I think the heart of the show will still be exactly the same. We’ll see how the judges do, I don’t know any of them personally so hopefully they do well. Hopefully they are constructive to the contestants and it doesn’t become about them and being their own characters on the show. I know even when Simon, Randy and Paula, there was still a little bit of that but I still think the show was focused on how can we cater to the contestants and present them to the audience in a way that is lasting and makes them fall in love with them, I think other shows are not great at that and so hopefully Idol does that. I think they will.”

Make sure you get into the holiday spirit and see Kris Allen perform classic Christmas tunes and original tunes as well. It is truly a gift to see him perform for the holidays. For tickets click the link below.

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