Runaway June has officially shared their entry into the holiday music collection of 2020, releasing the new EP When I Think About Christmas on Friday. The country trio, made up of members Jennifer Wayne, Naomi Cooke and Natalie Stovall, recorded the project this summer, and Stovall shared that working on such joyous material was a comfort to the group during a tumultuous year.
"I love Christmas so much. In such a difficult year, it felt so good to sing music that automatically brings me joy," she told PopCulture.com for our series, PopCulture @ Home. "Christmastime you hear that music and we're all very aware of the way that music transports you and not just your brain, but emotionally, you immediately feel something when you hear songs that you love. And so to be able to sing songs that I love and already associate with joy and happiness and family and togetherness and unity, it was such a gift in the middle of such a divisive and uncertain year."
"It's like, 'Oh, OK, cool. Christmas music is going to make me feel really, really good this summer,'" she continued. "And normally I feel like singing Christmas songs all summer long would be annoying, but it was just, this was the best year ever to record a Christmas album. I do think that Christmas is going to be a lot more emotional this year than it even normally is."
Wayne joked that Stovall's love for Christmas was a factor in her decision to join Runaway June earlier this year. "This year our road touring life kind of came to a halt," she said. "So we were like, 'This is the perfect time to do it.' And we didn't know that Natalie's favorite holiday was Christmas. So, I feel like it was a good bargaining chip getting her to join the band. Like, 'We're making a Christmas EP!'"
When I Think About Christmas features three classic holiday songs — "Sleigh Ride," "O Holy Night" and "Let it Snow" — as well as two originals, the title track and "Christmas on the Radio." Runaway June's signature blend of country strings and harmonies features on every song, and Stovall shared that the trio was "all on the same page" when it came to picking which ones to include.
"Normally, you'd think that there'd be a long deliberation because there's so many great Christmas songs, but it just kind of came together," she recalled. "It was just cool. It was fun. It was exactly what music should be, which was just playing around with sounds and it just is cool."
Wayne co-wrote the EP's title track and shared that after she and co-writers Josh Matheny and Tiffany Goss finished the song, "We were like, 'Gosh, it feels like it's been alive for 50 years.' It just feels like one of those songs that's been around forever. So we thought that was a good sign." You can stream When I Think About Christmas here.