|Title – ‘Soulful Christmas’
Artist – Jennifer Saran
For those not in the know, Jennifer Saran is a North American alt-pop/adult contemporary artist, songwriter and vocalist based in Hong Kong. Her first full-length album, Merry Christmas, You Are Loved (2015), was a worldwide smash and quickly put Saran on the map; let alone on the radar of some very big names within the business.
Indeed, that debut album was created with legendary producer Narada Michael Walden, and released through his very own uber successful label, Tarpan Records. Luckily for us all, that partnership continued onward with her sophomore album, Walk With Me (2016) and her quite stunning follow up, Wake Up.
Coming full circle on her newest release, Jennifer’s latest album is yet another Christmas collection. Featuring guests The Temptations, and yet again produced by the legendary Narada Michael Walden, Soulful Christmas is out November 24th, 2017 via Tarpan Records.
During the holiday season of 2016, Jennifer released a double-single including the tracks “Merry Christmas To You” and “Soulful Christmas”, and now that latter track has spread its wings and blossomed into an incredible, heartwarming new album of holiday tracks.
1. “Christmas Lover” – Featuring The Temptations
Containing, and kicking off with, the new single “Christmas Lover” featuring The Temptations, as the sax leads us in, it’s baritone singer Dr. Otis Williams who verbally introduces the song. The trumpets sound aplenty on “Sleight Ride”, before everything is slowed down for a Jennifer Saran original, the harmonica driven “Long Road Home For Christmas”.
The finger-snappin’ “Swingin’ Art Christmas Time” is one of the highlights of this joyous album for me, and that’s backed by the lush harp flow of “Some Children See Him”, the stirring violins of “Coventry Carol”, and then the jingle bells of the title track, “Soulful Christmas”.
The funky, banjo-pickin’ vibe of “Soul Cake” is new and highly original, and that’s backed by the soulful “Where Are U Christmas” (“This is for all the people with blue lights on their Christmas tree. Always know someone is thinking of you”), the beautiful storytelling of “I Have My Own Reindeer”, and then the vibrant “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”.
Jingle bells sound once more as they introduce us to both the piano-led “Come Home For Christmas” and then the ode to children all over the world, “Merry Christmas to You”. The ballad “One More Christmas Together” is a saxophone beauty, and that’s followed by the soul funk of “Christmas Delight”. The album then rounds out with the unexpected EDM sounds of “You Are My Christmas Star”, before the Wintry “Frosty The Snow Man” is upon us.
There are 17 tracks on this holiday album and each one is delightful to hear. Indeed, even where Jennifer covers a classic, she strives to make it her own; and for the most part, does just that. Having incorporated soul, R&B, funk and even EDM into her Christmas spirit, Jennifer’s vocals are magnificent on this quite outstanding new seasonal album.
Chock full of some inspired Christmas covers, along with some aforementioned delightfully inspiring originals (which, in this business, to create just one new Christmas song of any worth from scratch is a miracle unto its own), Soulful Christmas is primed and ready to be your musical accompaniment this holiday season.
In closing, each of the 17 tracks are genuine, enduring, and as festively heartwarming as each other and even her originals sound like they’ve been around as long as the chosen classics. So once you’ve purchased this CD for your holiday celebrations, I urge you to then journey through her back catalog and take in all Jennifer’s other work. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed and for that deed alone, I’m sure Santa will add you to his Nice List!
Russell A. Trunk
Check out the music video of Jennifer and Narada doing their original holiday song “Christmas is Really My Thang,” released on her 2015 album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved: