Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Chan makes dream come true with Everyday Holidays
Elizabeth Chan gave up a successful corporate career to pursue a childhood dream of writing Christmas songs and fulfilling a quest to “earn a lasting place with the classic Christmas songs played on the radio each holiday season.” The native New Yorker estimates she's penned at least 300 holiday songs since 2011, and it appears her dream has finally come true with the help of Grammy-winning producer Steve Lillywhite (Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel, U2, Dave Matthews Band, Thirty Seconds to Mars). Chan’s holiday hit ‘Fa La La’ off her new album, Everyday Holidays, is currently No. 22 on the Mediabase Adult Contemporary radio airplay chart, and No. 17 on the Billboard AC chart.
The former director of integrated marketing at Condé Nast began chasing her songwriting dream in April 2012. She tells Billboard that when things would get bad at her old job, she would tell her husband and friends how much she wished she could give everything up and just write Christmas songs. “Everybody would be like, 'Oh, that'd be great,' then wouldn't think anything of it. I finally just took the plunge, and here we are,” she explains. ‘Fa La La’ is Chan’s first holiday song to integrate Hanukkah and was inspired by songs such as Donny Hathaway's ‘This Christmas’ and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' ‘Can't Hold Us.’
"I just wanted to write a song that encompassed the timelessness of spending the holidays with your family, but with a modern feel," says Chan, who produced the track herself with help from Lillywhite. Chan says she told Lillywhite she was frustrated and wanted to get the sound she was hearing in her head out into her songs. “[Lillywhite] was like, 'I can help you with that. Let's work on that.' So I went on that journey with Steve for 'Fa La La' to produce the song on my own,” she explains. “We were never in the same room, but he really helped me find my way to produce my own record."
Chan reveals that the first time she heard ‘Fa La La" on the radio was “overwhelming,” especially since it followed Brenda Lee's 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.' “I felt like I was sitting amongst old friends,” she says. Tracks from Chan’s Everyday Holidays also appear on the soundtrack for the E! channel special titled The Kardashians: A Very Merry Christmas. “My long term goal is to leave something behind that is a meaningful Christmas song, something other people can look back on with the same fondness I have for my favorite Christmas songs,” comments the former six-figure executive. “I feel like that's my calling and what my legacy should be. I'm in this for the long haul. The core of my passion is to be part of (the holiday) in a meaningful way."
Chan got additional financing for Everyday Holidays via the Kickstarter crowdsourcing website, where she racked up more than $10,500 in just one month. She is also planning to release two or three more EPs. “For once in my life I’m in exactly the right place at the right time,” she says in a bio posted on LizChanChristmas.com. “Writing Christmas music (and pursuing my dream) has helped me learn to be a better me.” Chan is currently celebrating the holiday season in song by appearing with singer Whitney Wolanin on December 21 in Providence, R.I., and December 22 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Watch the official music video for ‘Fa La La’ off Elizabeth Chan’s debut holiday collection called Everyday Holidays.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Elizabeth Chan is a native New Yorker who was a Showtime at the Apollo winner as a youth. Music and songwriting became a big part of her life, joining a group developed by C+C Music Factory as a 15-year-old. However, the project never got off the ground after six years of effort.
* Chan says her world changed following 9/11 when she thought her parents had died in the attacks. She sayd her elation at learning they were alive made her dream of pursuing a musical career seem “frivolous.”
* After becoming a successful digital media executive, Chan became restless and began to channel her creativity into writing Christmas songs. She also began to perform as an amateur singer.
* Chan answered a casting call for an online documentary series by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) called Failure Club. The experience enabled her to chase her dream of Christmas songwriting while facing the prospect of failure.
* When her stint on Failure Club ended, Chan released her first EP, Naughty & Nice , in 2012. The EP, which features the single ‘A Christmas Song,’ debuted at No. 4 on the iTunes holiday chart and stayed in the Top 50 throughout the season.