The holidays are in full force and if you're anything like me, you've been anticipating the cheer of Christmas spirit to ease off the woes of 2017. Enter Jeff Michaels, singer-songwriter and pianist, who has been churning out a Christmas song for the past five years. You've probably heard some of his tunes without even realizing it as he has been played on popular shows on MTV and VH1, and soundtracks for major pictures to boot. While his lyrics generally tell the specific story of a crisis like the national debt, or a tragedy as we saw after the Boston marathon bombing, this holiday he tells the story of something a little softer, and a little sweeter.
Michaels puts into words what we've all been feeling - a sense of longing for the holidays to try and push away the gloomy air that has surrounded us. A call to arms against the pessimism that has plagued our media and lives for the past year The video feels like a montage of home movies, almost as if we're taking a peek into Michaels' private moments. A young child opening presents, sewing advent calendars, ice skating, and snowball fights are some of the holiday traditions shown in the video. Along with a large group of Santa clones (not sure how I never caught that before - of course he has clones - that's how he gets to all the houses!) dancing away.
When speaking about "It's Been A Long Time, Christmas" Michaels said "From national tragedies to devastating hurricanes and forest fires, this year was a difficult one for so many. I think we're all in need of a little Christmas, and hoping this song brings some light to the world and warm wishes for a brighter holiday season for all."
The song was created in just two days time, including the video. "This song was a gift," explained Michaels. "I was working on several ideas, but nothing was grabbing me. I scrapped everything, closed my eyes, and hit record. This flowed out, start to finish." Michaels then sent his guitar and vocal demo over to his producer and songwriting partner, Chris Teffner. The John Lennon inspired melody struck a cord between both of them, and the song fell together with ease.
In the spirit of Christmas, we chatted with Jeff Michaels on some of his favorite holiday traditions and took a further peek into what a Michaels Family Christmas is like.
Which holiday song from your childhood means the most to you?
"It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." That one always seems to get me in the Christmas spirit.
You’re walking down the street, feeling great — what holiday song would be playing in the background?
I’m still a sucker for Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas is You." Hard to top!
What kind of holiday shopper are you: Black Friday? Christmas Eve? Yearlong hoarder?
I get it all done in one weekend in early December when everyone is still in a great mood!
What is a cherished family tradition from your childhood holidays?
Leaving cookies out for Santa.
What's a favorite family Christmas memory that has stuck with you through the years? Why?
Going up to a forest in New Hampshire to cut down our own tree when I was like six or seven. The tree we came home with was eleven feet tall and didn’t have a chance of making it through our front door, but my dad was so thrilled we had conquered such a beast of nature that he made me a little tree from the top that he cut off that I got to keep in my bedroom.
What is your favorite Christmas movie?
It’s a Wonderful Life.
Real tree or fake tree?
Both have merits, and both are terrible. I hate cleaning up pine needles, but I also hate trying to get the giant artificial trees back in their box… maybe a tree that comes fully decorated and simply shows up in your living room is more ideal for me.
If you could record any Christmas song cover with any artist living or dead what song would it be? With who? How would you make the song your own?
I’d like to remake the Joni Mitchel song "River". It’s beautiful, but I would give it a happier indie feel that doesn’t make you want to jump off a cliff when you hear it.
What does the spirit of Christmas mean to you?
It means finding time to spend with family and friends around the holidays that is not about presents, or celebrations. My favorite time of December are the holiday parties long before Christmas when everyone is just taking time to appreciate everything that happened during the year.
Finish this thought, "It wouldn't be Christmas without _____.”