Vocalist Lauren Henderson Celebrates the Holiday Season with EP Classic Christmas
A contemporary take on four holiday gems
Due out on November 13, 2020 via Brontosaurus Records
Critically acclaimed vocalist, arranger, and musical impresario Lauren Henderson ushers in the holiday season with her newest recording Classic Christmas. Due out on November 13th via the artist’s Brontosaurus Records, this four-track EP finds the “vibrant star singer” (Downbeat Magazine) updating and reimagining a collection of time-tested holiday gems in the company of a top flight rhythm section: pianists Issac Wilson and Sullivan Fortner, bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Allan Mednard.
The songs on Classic Christmas are personal favorites of the singer that have been re-contextualized to fit the modern climate. The project opens with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic “My Favorite Things”, fit with a modern lyrical update that speaks to inclusivity, intersectionality and representation. As a black woman, and a member of the Afro-LatinX community, Henderson uses her art to share her experiences, and address concerning issues. “On “My Favorite Things”, I saw an opportunity to reflect my culture and the social climate in the United States by modifying the lyrics,” she said. This approach is also applied to the third track – a haunting rendition of “Once In Royal David’s City” that has been altered to highlight the strength of women and promote gender empowerment. Nestled between those is “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, which showcases the stunning interplay of the ensemble, and closing out the set is a stirring duet with oft-musical partner Sullivan Fortner on “What A Wonderful World”, a song Henderson hopes “will touch people’s souls, especially as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”
When recording Classic Christmas, Henderson ruminated on a quote by Nina Simone: “It is the responsibility of an artist to reflect the times (in which he lives).” “This year, the holiday season and Christmas may seem different to some people. Many people have lost loved ones, are in difficult financial situations, or feel lost and alone. Many people continue to fight against oppressive administrations and fight for social justice, fair treatment, and for their voices and stories to be heard,” Henderson reflects. “There are beautiful people who need love and support. I wanted these songs to be honest and full of hope.”
Classic Christmas comes on the heels of The Songbook Session, Henderson’s new chart-topping full-length album, released this past April. A collection of jazz and Latin jazz standards, this self-produced record paints a story that reflects Henderson’s vast cultural influences as she sings in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The release peaked at number 5 on the JazzWeek radio chart and received critical praise from the likes of Jazziz Magazine, (“[The Songbook Session] is designed to place Henderson in the lineage of classic jazz vocalists”), Downbeat Magazine (“jazz mastery”) and Broadway World (“a singer possessing of one of the warmest, most inviting vocal instruments”), among others.
Classic Christmas will be available on all digital platforms, including Bandcamp, on November 13, 2020.
- “My Favorite Things”
- “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
- “Once In Royal David’s City”
- “What A Wonderful World” (with Sullivan Fortner, piano)
More about Lauren Henderson
Henderson combines her passion for music, philanthropy and business as the CEO of Brontosaurus Records and an internationally acclaimed recording artist. Recently featured in the Financial Times, Henderson’s achievements are celebrated worldwide. She graduated with her Executive Master of Business Administration from Brown University (RI) and the IE Business School (Madrid) in May of 2019.
Having earned degrees in both Music and Hispanic Studies, at Wheaton College (MA), Lauren continues to combine her love of music and culture. While living in Puebla, México she studied the traditional music of the Yucatán and popular music throughout the country at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. Through her international piano and voice studies, she worked on developing her musicianship. In Córdoba, España she studied flamenco and its similarities to jazz at La Universidad de Córdoba.
Henderson began studying piano at an early age. She grew up singing in church and school choirs, as well as listening to jazz records her parents and grandparents played in the house. Timid as a young musician, she was always reluctant to sing solos, until given a gentle push by mentors shortly before heading to Wheaton College (MA) to receive her Bachelor of Arts. At Wheaton, she discovered her voice, becoming the Musical Director of VUJ, a member of Jazz Band, studying classical voice and musical theatre, as well as finding inspiration in her professors and master classes with artists like Paquito D’Rivera and Take6. She has had the opportunity to study with legendary and influential musicians like Barry Harris at the Barry Harris Workshop. Lauren has had the opportunity to study and perform with Grammy-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit and Grammy-nominated pianist Michael Kanan.
Preparing for her tenth tour of Europe, Henderson has performed in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Mexico and South Africa, living up to her growing reputation as a “vibrant new star singer” – Downbeat Magazine.
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