Modern-Day Crooner Charles Billinglsey
Jim and Charles have a conversation about Charles’ inspiration and production process for his new holiday record, It’s Christmas Time Again.
Jim Brickman: It’s the Jim Brickman show as we celebrate the holiday season, and you know, it’s great at the holidays to have all kinds of different music that we celebrate with. And there is an album I want to talk to you guys about in the Artist Spotlight today that features Charles Billingsley, I guy that I’ve known for a very long time—amazing voice, kind of like a traditional jazz and American songbook mixed together. It’s called It’s Christmast Tme Again and you have a brand new song from it called “Silver Bells.” How are you doing, Charles?
Charles Billingsley: I’m doing great, Jim, thanks for having me today.
Jim Brickman: So Charles, tell me a little about this particular style. When you’re doing a combination of classic holiday songs in a traditional jazz and American songbook style, what is the approach? And you know, it’s so good to hear something like this during the holidays when everything is so, kind of pop, and an attempt to make something current— you’re actually sort of making things more traditional, which I love.
Charles Billingsley: Yeah, you know, I traditionally have done a lot of pop-sounding records, but when I listen to Christmas music, I don’t know! I want to go back to the Sinatra days, the Bing Crosby days, the classic style. And so that’s what we decided to do on this record. I want you to know that I waited several years to make it just so I would have the funds and the time, and when we started into this process I wanted to do it the right way, the way they used to do it in the fifties.
I literally went back to the same studio Sinatra recorded “New York, New York” in, East West Studios in Los Angeles, pulled together all the players in the same room at the same time— which, anybody who does recording in this day and age knows that that’s a pretty rare thing. I put together the best arrangers I could find, and we wanted this record to sound like it was right out of the fifties and the forties, and thanks to Tim Davis and Tommy Geurerra and Tim Scott and all the arrangers that made it come out that way.
More on Artist Charles Billingsley
It’s no secret Charles Billingsley is one of Christian music’s most captivating Inspirational voices, but for this singer, worship leader, husband, father and teacher—to name but a few of his leading roles—it’s what’s behind the music that has truly made the man. Launching his career more than two decades ago fronting GRAMMY®- nominated genre giants NewSong, Charles has since headlined more than 3,000 concerts and released 24 recordings as a solo artist. Also a sought-after worship leader at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, and he regularly appears at such popular events as Women of Joy, Gridiron Men and Celebrators, among numerous others.
Yet even with a list of accolades and endeavors this diverse, Charles stands poised for a new season on the wings of his groundbreaking latest studio recording, Right Here. Not only is the project one of Stowtown Records’ debut pop/Inspirational releases, as the label—helmed by industry veterans Ernie Haase and Wayne Haun—recently expanded their roster into the contemporary Christian market, but Charles selected a duo of top producers to steer the recording: GRAMMY®-winner and Dove Award winner Keith Everette Smith and GRAMMY®-winner Seth Mosley, the latter of whom has produced hit recordings for such artists as TobyMac, Newsboys and for KING & COUNTRY.
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