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Dan + Shay’s ‘Officially Christmas’ – Billboard

Christmas Day is December 25.

It is easily identified. Even kids who don’t keep track of the calendar know when the holidays fall.

But when does the full Christmas season begin? Every year, radio programmers debate that as they curate their playlists. Retailers implement it as soon as possible, knowing it makes a profit for them. And the makers of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade would suggest that it begins when Santa’s float reaches the finish line on 34th Street in Manhattan on Turkey Day.

It’s not hard to imagine that in the coming years, the season will begin for some listeners when they first hear Dan + ShayDeclare “Official Christmas”. Happy song – released for nation radio via PlayMPE on November 9th – is the audio equivalent of Christmas at Rockefeller Center, a glittering three-minute activism that grapples with the holiday starting line without actually delivering a conclusion. essay.

“I want a song that’s like an exclamation – ‘It’s officially Christmas,’ you know, whenever possible, if it’s the first of December, if it’s the day after Halloween, the day after Thanksgiving,” Dan Smyers, who co-founded the duo with lead vocals Shay Mooney. “I’d say it’s officially Christmas whenever you feel it in your heart.”

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Smyers had that title in mind and another, “Pick Out a Christmas Tree” when he regularly contacted co-writer Jordan Reynolds (“Speechless,” “Glad You Exist”) with a quick proposal. to make some festival music at the end of August. Reynolds suggested Dave Barnes (“God Gave Me You,” “Craving You”) and Nicolle Galyon (“Tequila,” “Automatic”) as ideal collaborators, and they all met at Smyers studio later. dinner on the same day.

Despite the sweltering summer heat, Smyers lights a patio fireplace and a candle or two, then drops some balsam fir oil into the diffuser to set the mood. They tackled the “Christmas Tree” first, and as that was nearing completion, Smyers revealed his “Official Christmas” title. As odd as the word “official” is for a song, they think repeating it will make the song feel more natural. Smyers put out the first two lines, “It’s officially Christmas / And you’re officially mine.” Galyon interjects the next phrase, “I’m officially wise” … “and it leads to” … to something “not in a store.” It’s like a musical sugar cookie, and no one apologizes.

Galyon suggests: “Christmas music really is an ear-catching candy. “It’s a secret with Christmas music. It will bring out the child in you. And I know that my kids will love it. “

As the foundation for that chorus, they created a descending chord sequence that changes two beats at a time — fast by national standards, but appropriate for the season.

“Christmas songs have more important changes than a rental house,” quipped Barnes. “You can make a Christmas song and it will have a million chords in it. And we love it. ”

When the candy cane’s chorus was complete, they turned their attention to the verses, instinctively separating them from the chorus by zigzagging the tempo. The opening stanza captures the feeling of a vibrant stay in a small town, using Galyon’s birthplace – Sterling, Kan. – do normal measure.

“When you’re driving down Main Street, what do things look like? Is everyone outside? There are things on white [lamp] Reynolds said.

And they included more cozy images in the second sentence: a crackling fireplace, the anticipation of Santa and family singing “Jingle Bell Rock.” Between the weather, love, community, Kris Kringle, and Christmas music, all that was missing for the setting was nativity, and it looked like they had overlooked it.

“Most of it is just about what [visuals] Barnes said. “We talked about that, and we don’t have another reference point for that. Those moments, if it’s not clearly demonstrated throughout the song, it can be a bit messy. “

The “Officially Christmas” Final Touch is a bridge that uses the feeling of a half-time break to give Santa a pause. The lyrics recall how people have longed for the holiday season of the year, and the symbolism is embedded in the celebration of the holiday.

“Everybody needs something to look forward to and more than ever after these last few years,” Galyon reasoned. “Right now, you can feel how important it is in our writing community to write about the future because I think everyone has high hopes of coming out of the other side of things. what we’ve been through with a fresh face, fresh excitement and hope. And you know, as cheesy as it sounds, Christmas is about hope, and about all things new. And so, in a way, that bridge speaks for itself. ”

And it provides a pathway for another upbeat audio track, tuning from the B key to C#.

“I said, ‘Guys, we have to make an important change. It’s not even up for debate. Reynolds said. “Of course, Dan just loves it because it means he gets to work more as he produces the song, but I remember the note we landed on, it started a new key on that same note, so Shay knows exactly where he is going. ”

They ended up writing somewhere between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Smyers and co-producer Scott Hendricks (Blake Shelton, Michael Ray) put together a studio band in just a few days, and they recruited arranger Cody Fry, a Nashville musician currently nominated for a Grammy Award for his elaborate version of “Eleanor Rigby”. Fry applied staccato strings to effect the Beatles’ chorus and infused the trumpet sound into the Chicago feel, recording wind instruments at the Sound Emporium.

Smyers found subtle places to create humor – such as stacking, an electric guitar and strings to simulate reindeer hooves in sentence two – and Mooney threw in a roller coaster. confrontation near the finale, which Smyers built into a harmonious bonus.

“Official Christmas” is likely to become part of the country’s annual holiday tradition, bringing a little cheer to the world at a time when many adults are stressed by the demands of the holiday season. .

“Creating original Christmas music is hard,” says Smyers. “That’s a finite amount of common words, and everything has been said after all these years. It’s just a matter of cleverly rearranging them and trying to say something a little different from what has already been said. I feel like we landed it on this one. I’m super proud of it. ”

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https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/dan-shay-officially-christmas-makin-tracks-1235006649/ Dan + Shay’s ‘Officially Christmas’ – Billboard

Dais Johnston

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