When putting together his second Christmas album, "Winter in the Air," singer David Archuleta dug deep into his own memories of the holidays to deliver a record he hopes will help people find "peace" in turbulent times.
The American Idol alum, now 27, told PopCulture.com prior to the album's Nov. 2 release date that in order to channel the emotions he wanted to convey, he thought about his childhood tradition of watching his mom hanging lights on their house and Christmas tree.
"I used to love, when I was a little kid, sitting in the front room where the Christmas tree was, and there was a decoration that she had ... that were little bells and it played little, traditional Christmas hymns," he recalled. "I just loved sitting there, by myself, in the evening, and listening to the tunes. Something about it was just so magical to me."
One of the songs the decorations played was "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," which was the first song Archuleta said he knew had to be on his second Christmas album. He even included a more direct tribute to his mom in the arrangement of the classic tune.
"I put a Spanish flair to 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman,'" he explained. "Mom, she's Central American and so I even sing a little bit, like a part of the song in Spanish."
The single from the album, "Christmas Every Day," was a bit more challenging for Archuleta to put together, who categorizes his personality as a bit more "serious" than the joyful, poppy holiday tune.
"I love the happy Christmas songs just because it brings back a time, just when I'm like driving down the street and it's snowing and people are happy," he said. "So I was like, 'I want to write a song that will help people feel happy.' That same mood. Like, I wonder if I could sing a song that people would be like, 'I'm gonna play the David Archuleta song to get me in the Christmas mood and just be happy and cheery.'"
"I decided I was gonna have fun something like 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' or 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.' And as I was driving to the studio, I was like, 'Man, I don't know if I can pull this off. Maybe I should just back off.' I was like, 'I have this melody, I don't know if it's good enough,'" he continued.
But with the help of Dave Barnes and Cason Cooley, Archuleta said he was able to record the song he hopes captures the joy of the Christmas season that adds balance to the more traditional pieces he put on the album, including "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "In the Bleak Midwinter" and original songs like "He Is Born," which the singer said is "like my testimony."
"I would want people to feel a peace, where they can feel a stillness," he said of the album's intended effect. "Give people a stillness in these songs. And then the title track, 'Winter in the Air,' I just want to create an image to help people walk through winter and feel the crisp, cold air, and the crunching of the snow, just different little flavors of what I love about this time of year. I hope people can walk through Christmas lane as they listen to the album."
You can hear these tunes and more on Archuleta's upcoming Christmas tour, which begins on Nov. 26.
"Winter in the Air" is scheduled to be released Nov. 2, but you can pre-order the album now. Tickets for the Christmas Tour, which begins Nov. 26, are available here.
Photo credit: Robby Klein