Her smooth and soulful voice will fill you with holiday nostalgia.
Uniting romance and nostalgia in ribbons of mesmeric melody, Canberra-via-Melbourne singer-songwriter Laura Ingram has Christmas wrapped in a bow with her newest creation ‘Home For Christmas’.
In the tradition of the great holiday records by artists such as Donny Hathaway, Mel Tormé and Nat King Cole, ‘Home For Christmas’ is a heart-warming and hopeful seasonal song, taking on a greater meaning as the pandemic alters our traditions.
Befitting the magical mystique of the season, it’s an emotional story that depicts the quintessential Australian Christmas celebration that is utterly captivating due to the deeply-talented soul songstress’s softly-spoken, yet incredibly-powerful vocals.
Penned in her one-bedroom apartment during the depths of Melbourne’s stage four lockdown, ‘Home For Christmas’ sees Ingram capitalise on the ballad-driven basics and sleeve-wearing heartbeats of her songwriting.
Backed by delicate drifting piano, Ingram delivers heartfelt lyrics that deal with the desire of seeking connection, capturing the story of thousands stranded globally, unable to see loved ones throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“I hadn’t seen my friends and family from back home for over six months and I was feeling homesick and nostalgic for time together with other humans. So many friends were really hurting during lockdown and I was reading about families stranded overseas, unable to make it back to their home country, so I wanted to write something for them too,” Ingram explains.
“When our luxuries are taken away you can really start to value what’s important, which is human connection and homeland. I wanted to celebrate that feeling of longing and express how much I value the people I love.”
Recorded at Aviary Studios with the revered Nick Edin (Matt Joe Gow, Gretta Ray) as soon as the lockdown lifted, the song pairs Ingram’s fragile and fierce vocals with serene piano courtesy of James Bowers (Au Dré, Julia Stone), gentle acoustics from Kumar Shome (Sampa The Great), and distant, steady percussion from Daniel Brates (Bohjass).
This instrumentation is minimal and tasteful, and with nods to the likes of The Teskey Brothers, Leon Bridges and Alabama Shakes, the seasonal track embraces Ingram’s knack for writing modern songs with an old-world feeling.
“We recorded everything the first weekend of November and by some Christmas miracle mixed and mastered everything in 12 days. It was so surreal and joyous to be singing with a band again after so many months of silence. We all wore big smiles underneath our masks!”
Soft and warm, ‘Home For Christmas’ encapsulates all of the Laura Ingram charm music fans have come to know and love from her thought-provoking debut single ‘Valentine’s Day’. It’s a charm we also witnessed during her Iso-Sessions which saw her paying homage to her favourite songwriters including Stevie Wonder and Kate Bush throughout lockdown.
This nostalgic holiday single pairs with the release of soulful B-side, ‘Christmas Eve’, which pleads for a return to childhood optimism, reminding us to embrace the joy and magic of the season.
View this post on Instagram
To celebrate the new single and all the enduring traditions that the holiday season brings, Ingram has kindly shared her five heartfelt Christmas traditions.
Watch Love Actually with friends and drink and yell every time you see someone wearing a turtle neck
I don’t actually drink anymore but its very fun gathering with everyone watching this film every year. Honestly, the plot-lines haven’t aged well, and that’s kind of its charm. Primo turtleneck action and sing-a-long fun times.
Put up the Christmas tree after December 6
It’s my brother’s birthday on December 6 so we always put the tree up afterwards. My heart goes out to all Sagittarius and Capricorn babies. I see you and you’re special.
Play a show in my hometown
Every year I play a Christmas show at Smith’s Alternative in Canberra. I played my very first show here, and coming back reminds me of how much I’ve grown each year. I love catching up with the home crowd. This year we play on the December 22 in Canberra and I can’t wait to bring this tradition to Melbourne.
Have a moment to reflect on people no longer with us
My dad and I listen to Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’. It reminds us of his mum and all the beautiful Christmas’ we had together. This was a big inspiration for the record.
Call everyone you care about
I send my favourite people a message or give them a call. We pass the phone around and catch up with relatives. Tell people you care, especially the quiet ones. It goes a long way.
If you’re feeling inspired by all the holiday traditions, tune into Ingram’s Holiday Live Stream Concert on Friday December 11, where she’ll be streaming from her home in Northcote. Expect a plastic Christmas tree, wonderful lighting, many chuckles, of course, some reimagined Christmas classics and intimate arrangements of both tracks on the ‘Home For Christmas’ single.
Never miss a story. Sign up to Beat’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food and culture stories three times a week.