Video: Carrie Underwood to star in HBO Max holiday special to go with her new Christmas album 'My Gift'
HBO Max announced today an exclusive holiday special for the platform starring seven-time Grammy Award winner, 2020 Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year and Checotah native Carrie Underwood, who will be performing songs from her first full-length Christmas album, "My Gift."
As previously reported, Underwood's yuletide collection "My Gift" will be available on digital and CD on Friday and on red vinyl on Oct. 30.
The streamer will premiere the event this holiday season, according to a news release.
“The journey of writing and recording this album started last year when I finished my tour and we could have never anticipated the circumstances we would be in this year,” said Underwood in a statement.
“Creating this album has been good for my heart, and I’m thrilled to get to share it with the world and to bring it to life with Playtone and HBO Max.”
The five-time Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year will appear with a live orchestra and choir, performing a combination of beloved traditional favorites celebrating the spiritual nature of the holiday, as well as new original material from the highly-anticipated album.
“Carrie Underwood is a multi-faceted talent and we are thrilled to be partnering with her and our friends at Playtone to bring a dose of holiday cheer,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, in a statement.
The Max Original special will be executive produced by Gary Goetzman and Tom Hanks for Playtone, along with Underwood and her manager, Ann Edelblute. The holiday event is set to shoot this fall, according to the news release.
Underwood appeared this morning on NBC News’ "Today," to talk about the holiday special and album, telling hosts Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin about recording “My Gift” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I'm so proud of the music that we were able to create, but, also, we were able to create it this year, through all the obstacles. We just want to bring some Christmas joy to people, so I'm super excited,” she said.
She said she has tried to enjoy quarantining with her husband and two sons during the pandemic.
“I've never been in one place for this long, you know, in the past 15 plus years of my career. So, it's been really great to just really get to know them and watch them grow, especially Jake, who is, like you said, 18-months of old. It is a critical time in his life, And I'm never going to get it back. We're trying to enjoy it,” she said.
As previously reported, "My Gift" includes a special appearance by Underwood’s 5-year-old son, Isaiah Fisher, on the holiday classic that inspired the album title, “Little Drummer Boy,” as well as her first collaboration with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award (EGOT) winner John Legend, on the original track, “Hallelujah,” written by Legend and Toby Gad (“All of Me”).
Underwood told "Today" she was “a little bit” of a stage mom.
“I was in the booth with him, and trying to get him to access all his little 5-year-old emotions, which he can totally do on his own... When I heard the song back with his sweet little voice on it, I was laughing and crying. Just so many emotions. I'm so proud of him,” she said.
The Oklahoma native also discussed her surprise tie with Thomas Rhett for Entertainer of the Year at the Academy of Country Music awards last week.
“All the people around us afterwards were like, ‘We kept asking the accounting firm, are you sure? Are you sure?’ It's also the year of strange things happening, right?” She continued, “I'm more than happy. Thomas is a great guy, and, you know, this year makes it special,” she said on "Today."
In addition, Underwood confirmed that she recently donated a substantial gift to her hometown Checotah schools through her Checotah Animal, Town and School Foundation.
"This year has been tough on so many levels, and we definitely want to encourage people to reach out and give their gifts, pass their gifts forward," she said.
"Schools need Chromebooks because they just don't know what's going to happen with the pandemic, and we were more than happy through my CATS Foundation to help out."
Underwood also spoke about the holiday album on "Circle All Access":
As previously reported, "My Gift" includes two of the new original songs - the previously released "Let There Be Peace" and "Sweet Baby Jesus" - are co-written by Underwood, her frequent collaborator and fellow Oklahoman Brett James (“Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Something In The Water”) and her "Cry Pretty" album co-producer, David Garcia.