Check out the music video to “Someday at Christmas,” from the new holiday album If The Fates Allow (A Hadestown Holiday Album), above. Featuring the Fates of Hadestown—Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, and Kay Trinidad—the LP dropped November 20 and includes guest appearances by nearly every member of the Tony-winning musical’s cast.
The trio, and the company members who join them on “Someday at Christmas,” talk about the album’s genesis, what Hadestown brings to the Holidays, and what’s it like creating a record in the COVID-era below.
To buy or stream If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album, click here.
Responses have been edited or condensed for clarity or to avoid repetition.
What sparked the idea for this album?
Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer: Last year, I had the idea to make a holiday album with my fellow Fates, so I presented the idea to Van Dean at Broadway Records, who loved it. Due to time constraints and scheduling, we had to put a pin in it, but when we found ourselves in a pandemic and with a little more time on our hands, we revisited the conversation. Van and I took the idea to one of our lead producers at Hadestown, Mara Isaacs, and together we were able to collaborate and create something really special.
Jewelle Blackman: From the time people first heard our voices in Hadestown, they would always say ‘you three sound so great together you should record your own album.’
How would you describe the sound/vibe of the album?
YGN: Orchestration-wise and sonically, it’s an extension of what the brilliant Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose created with Hadestown. It’s soulful and folky and a little outside of the box for a holiday album. [Chorney and Sickafoose provided show's musical orchestrations and arrangments.]
Kay Trinidad: A little bit of everything thrown in with that cool New Orleans vibe.
JB: We stayed very true to what makes the musical so special. It’s not your typical holiday album—just like Hadestown is not your typical show.
What was it like recording in quarantine?
JB: I had to fly in from Toronto, Canada, where I’m from. Flying during a pandemic is interesting to say the least. At the studio the rules were clearly stated that whenever you were out of your individual booths you had to wear a mask and be socially distant. I hadn’t seen the girls in months so our reunion was a little weird, but still wonderful nonetheless.
KT: It was scary to have to go out at first, but I made sure to ask if COVID safety protocols were being enforced, and they definitely were.
What do you hope listeners will get from listening to this album?
KT: Healing, peace, joy, and all the love pouring out of our hearts into theirs. We hope [it] brings light to these dark times and a sense of love, community, and togetherness during the holidays, and throughout this winter season, especially since we are all so far apart right now. I hope this becomes a holiday staple for years to come.
JB: A feel for something familiar that we’ve all been missing with Broadway on pause. And the idea that even in the midst of all this turmoil something beautiful can still be created and shared.
YGN: We are all together, even though we’re far apart right now.
Are there any hidden Easter eggs within the album audiences can listen for?
YGN: I wrote one of the songs on the album. (Hint: it’s song #9 “Gift for an Angel” )
KT: Listen to the last song, the final instrumental line ending the entire album...do you know what song it is?
Any anecdotes from while you were recording the album?
YGN: I think one of my favorite moments was seeing our beloved André again when he came to record “Blue Christmas.” He was wearing an incredibly long Santa hat and it immediately put us all in the holiday spirit.
KT: My first day of recording, I walked into the studio amidst a handful of the company recording “Someday At Christmas.” I couldn't take all the feelings. I was so grateful, moved, excited, and happy to see and hear everyone physically together making powerful, beautiful music as a family again.
Joining the main trio on “Someday at Christmas” are guest soloists and fellow Hadestown alums Khaila Wilcoxon, T. Oliver Reid, Kimberly Marable, and Malcolm Armwood.
What was it like to record this song?
Kimberly Marable: Recording “Someday at Christmas” was a gift that came right on time. You can never go wrong with a Stevie Wonder song. But more than that, during this time of COVID, I think people have been made more aware of the ills of this country, of the world. This song, like our show, makes us see how the world could be! No wars, no hunger, no poverty... just joy, empathy, freedom, and understanding. We’re not there yet, but if we all do our part now, we'll get there.
Khaila Wilcoxon: It was a dream to record one of my favorite Christmas songs. About a week before Liam asked me to be a part of it, I had already been blasting Stevie Wonder all around my house. I also really enjoyed that Alain allowed us to change the lyrics to be more gender-inclusive.
T. Oliver Reid: There’s a hopefulness that we need right now. Right now, it feels like a hope for the things we are currently without and hope for a time without COVID-19. A time when we can join together with family and friends.
Malcolm Armwood: This year, these lyrics hit harder than ever before and, as a Black man, there was a release of hope, pain, and power. Seeing what seemed to be almost every week another Black person killed because of inequality, it saddens me that we are still singing “someday.”
What was it like being briefly reunited with a few members of your Hadestown family during the recording?
TOR: It was honestly one of the best days I’ve had amongst a lot of silver-lined days. To see the smiling faces and to hear everyone’s voices was such a gift.
KM: It was such a joy to be reunited with my Hadestown family to record this gorgeous album. The day I was there, it was mainly the ensemble, and everyone was included. All the swings, the vacation swings, the workers... even [OBC member] Ahmad [Simmons] came back! It was a true family affair. And to get to make music with these incredible humans and the incomparable Liam Robinson... It really was a grand old time. I miss making art with these folx.
KW: Malcolm and I met up and caught a train to the studio. As everyone arrived, we all were trying not to run and hug each other. It was a joy to be back as a family again.
If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album is produced by David Lai, Todd Sickafoose, Liam Robinson, and Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, and executive produced by Van Dean and Mara Isaacs.
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