Leah James rings in the New Year early with her gorgeous and hypnotic take on Auld Lang Syne — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
The alternative artist’s version of the annual chestnut comes from her just-released holiday EP December. Out today, the four-song EP offers a brilliant new take on holiday classics, bringing James’ ethereal, dreamlike aesthetic to some of the most timeless songs of the 20th century.
“The beauty behind the lyric of Auld Lang Syne has always been a deeply moving and meaningful one to me,” James reflects. “It invites us to look ahead into the future with hope as well as reminding us to remember our past with gratitude and appreciation. The chance to record such an iconic song has been a great joy for me.”
The release of Auld Lang Syne follows the EP’s lead single, a hypnotic and cinematic version of Blue Christmas. “These songs are so classically engrained in our culture, and most of them have been sung by men with these iconic beautiful male vocals, so I wanted to reintroduce them into the world with my own female version, and I was inspired in that way,” James says.
A sultry collection inspired by the golden age of cinema, December’s vibe is hushed one minute and as lush as a Hollywood film score the next. Layering cinematic flourishes and ethereal production over James’ signature vocals, December offers a provocative twist on beloved classics from the Great American Songbook. “I learned a profound message from my dad,” she reflects. “The only thing that really matters … is how the actual music makes you feel.”
The followup to her 2018 solo debut While She Sleeps, James’ musical output is deeply inspired by her role as a single mother to seven-year-old Eva. “She’s watching me to see what I’m gonna do with my life,” she says. And while parenting may seem like it would interfere with her music career, James finds that it motivates her to be at her most productive and creative, as did her discovery of the tenor guitar, which “allowed me to figure out the chords in my brain that I was hearing. The amount of work that I actually got done was far greater than anything I had done before.”
Check out Auld Lang Syne above, listen to December below, and join Leah James on her website on Instagram.