INTERVIEW: MICHAEL LONGORIA Sings Us Home For The Holiday's With His New Album "Merry Chris
Broadway's Michael Longoria who is best known for his star turn on Broadway as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys is singing us home with his new Christmas album titled Merry Christmas Darling. After the success of his first album Broadway Brick By Brick, Michael Longoria knew his next album had to feature some of his Christmas favorites.
This romantic holiday album gives a 60's throwback vibe and will put you in the Christmas spirit for sure! Featuring some of Michael's favorite romantic holiday tunes, the album includes classics such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" weaved in with modern day classics such as “All I Want For Christmas Is You," and “Last Christmas."
The album also features the debut of an original Christmas song co-written by Michael Longoria and Rona Siddiqui called “Merry Me This Christmas”. Merry Christmas Darling features music arrangements by Rona Siddiqui and is produced by Grammy nominee Michael Croiter.
RyeTheNewsGuy.com talked with Michael about the release of his new album, the decision on song choices, and where they inspiration for his original new song "Merry Me This Christmas" came from.
Michael Longoria Merry Christmas Darling Album Cover (Courtesy Polk & Co)
Where did the inspiration for the album come from and what made you do a Christmas album?
I wanted to record a romantic Christmas album from the perspective of a Romeo longing to be with his lover on Christmas eve. How the world outside a lonely lover’s window pane brings the heart joy, along with dreams of Christmases past, encouraging his heart to risk it all as the snow paints the town a marshmallow white.
You have a wide range from classic Christmas tunes, to newer pop Christmas songs, how did you decide on the song choices for this album?
I wanted an emotional audio story arc that showed the juxtaposition of a lover’s heart longing for the other half while the world outside celebrates Christmas. The contemporary songs like, Santa Tell Me and My Only Wish (This Year), convey the message of the would be lover wishing for true love should his baby come home for Christmas this year. The more traditional songs like Sleigh Ride and The Christmas Waltz represent the inevitable power of holiday music from the outside world playing on the radio while the troubadour waits by the door for Santa to bring his heart home for the holidays.
With that being said, what made you decide to go with a "60's" vibe/sound for this album?
My entire professional career as a singer (so far) has been in the 60s genre. I started out a sing waiter at Ellen’s Stardust Diner where I had to sing doo wop, Broadway, and 60s songs. My Broadway debut was in a hit show about Tracy Turnblad in the 1960’s musical, Hairspray, and then I had an amazing opportunity to play Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons during their 1963 rise to fame in Jersey Boys. This style of belting your heart out with a true message seems to be a genre of singing that my voice seems to ring true on. So it seemed the perfect treatment to put on these beautiful Christmas songs from several eras about giving your heart to someone while Santa takes a winter sleigh ride..
What was your favorite song to record and why?
Toss up between two songs. Wrapped In Red, which I like to call the “heart beat” of the album. This was the first song that made the list when I was deciding which songs I wanted to record. It’s a story about a guy who has been in love with a cutie from afar for many Christmases but never had the guts to confess. But this Christmas he goes to the object of his affection’s doorstep with nothing more than the words he’s never said. Willing to “risk it all” and “not afraid to fall” as the lyrics proclaim. The other favorite is Merry Me This Christmas, which is a song I co-wrote about the true story of how I met guy at a Christmas Party after a computerized courtship and would later marry him in a winter wedding.
You have quite a selection of musical guests on this album, what made you decide to choose these people and what did they help bring to this album?
I asked my original Jersey Boys buds, The Midtown Men, to join me in the studio on Little Saint Nick. We have been singing harmony together since Jersey Boys opened on Broadway in 2005. After we all left Jersey Boys, we formed a singing group called The Midtown Men and have been touring in concert ever since. I also asked my vocalist friends Rashad Naylor and Kristina Nicole Miller to join me on some of the songs. You can really feel their beautiful voices on All I Want For Christmas Is Your and Sleigh Ride.
You are debuting a new song you wrote called 'Merry Me This Christmas' where did the inspiration come for this? I listened to it, and like most of the holiday tunes, it is talking about a special someone. Was there someone particular you wrote this song for/or about?
I co-wrote this song with my fabulously talented musical director Rona Siddiqui. We set out to write a song telling the story about how I met the man I’d eventually marry. I had just finished Jersey Boys on Broadway and had met the computerized version him on Facebook. We had mutual friends, but had never met. I was in Los Angeles having a go at TV auditions and he was a fresh New Yorker, working for Daryl Roth at the show Fuertza Bruta and also working on a PR campaign for a Broadway show.
I heard a jingle bell alert on my phone calendar letting me know I had to be back in NYC to deal with an apartment lease that was ending; it was December. I discovered that one of our mutual friends was throwing a Christmas Party and proposed that it be the scene for our first date.
In the song, I wanted to capture the sounds of that Christmas party with an old school vibe like the songs that were playing on that Christmas party playlist. And then as the chorus begins, have the soundscape change in color, as if you could describe what love at first sight sounds like in a song, where in an instant, you know. We got married last December and I’m hoping couples with winter weddings put Merry Me This Christmas on their reception playlist!
Where can we buy this album and learn more about you?
Merry Christmas Darling was just released on Broadway Records, Itunes and digital platforms. I also have another album called Broadway Brick By Brick. Follow my singing journeys at michaellongoriasings on Instagram. Twitter @longoriasings
To celebrate the album’s release, Michael will make his Birdland concert debut on Monday, December 10 at 8:30pm at Birdland Theatre. For tickets to this exciting new Christmas concert, please visit http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1775915.