Celebrate! An ALL-ORIGINAL Christmas Album Available NOW!
Big news from the Christmas brigade (ie., my home, the studio -- my mind, heart and soul)!!
At last, "Celebrate" is released to the world!
Get the new SIGNED! CD + Album Download
Jon Kubis (my dear friend, co-writer and producer) and I are so proud of this album, and thrilled to feature friends #1 Billboard smooth jazz artist's Chris Standring on guitar, and Jessy J. on sax!!
I can't wait to share the new songs... they come from the deepest yearnings of my soul. I hope they move you, and create an elegant space for your holiday celebrations this year - and for many years to come.
"Versatile singer-songwriter Rehya Stevens makes her deepest emotional impact to date with her new album "Celebrate." Featuring #1 billboard Smooth Jazz artists Jessy J. and Chris Standring, this collection of all - original songs pays homage to the inkwell of timeless Christmas classics by Nat King Cole, Donny Hathaway, Frank Sinatra, Brenda Lee and The Carpenters. With infectious melodies and eloquent lyrics, "Celebrate" is an ultra-passionate collection of classic folky pop, old-school jazz - and fiery swinging' blues - with a vibrant, contemporary - yet nostalgic perspective."
"The strategy many emerging artists tend to take with Christmas music is to just Bing it up and release a sing of White Christmas.
It’s safe, it showcases their talent and it is known.
It’s also boring.
Rehya Stevens is not one to take the path of least resistance.
In her new album Celebrate Rehya has jumped into the deep end of the Christmas pool with songs that are all original. The album is warm, bold and festive.
The entire album is well orchestrated, simple and directly Christmas — a great listen on a snowy December evening by the tree.
Rehya’s Christmas album touches all the bases. From sacred to secular, from joyous to reflective — it is all there."
"Celebrate" closes with another of my favorites--"Snowfall". To me, "Snowfall" is the perfect marriage of words and music, of song and arrangement, of artist and song. A facile description would be of a mid-tempo early 70s Soft Rock tune. But that's just so...facile. The lyrics of "Snowfall", in keeping with the theme that runs throughout "Celebrate", speak to coming home in a way that I think is so relatable to anyone. You spend your early years in a hurry to grow up and move on to a life that's bigger and better. Then you spend the rest of your life trying to get back to what you didn't realize you had (because you were in such a hurry to move on). The house you grew up in--that seemed so big when you were so little--suddenly seems tiny, but in a wonderful way. Little things which you barely noticed or took for granted--like the old windows that let in a bit of the winter chill--suddenly there's something wonderful and extraordinary about them. And every sight and sound of the old home and neighborhood brings back memories so strong, they're as real as the smell of the turkey in the oven in the next room. The lyrics are just utterly brilliant. Ah, but the music to those lyrics and that arrangement. Those lyrics could have been far less effective or, worse, wasted entirely, without the music (and, yes, Rehya Stevens does her own arrangements). The strumming guitar that predominates assumes the feel of the falling snow while the steady beat so completely gives me the feel of being in the car, driving to Grandma's house (or wherever you went or go for your family gatherings). And Rehya's vocals are just perfect for this song; so understated and yet every last bit of emotion is in there. Hey, maybe it's just me, but all together like that? It was a virtual reality experience. One of my Grandmothers has been gone for 30 years, the other for 20, and both of my parents have passed. I have brothers but it's been ages since we gathered for a holiday. But "Snowfall" brings it all back to me as if it were yesterday. So thank you for that.
Technically, "Celebrate" by Rehya Stevens was released October 19. I've only just moved it there on our list (we've had it at October 2, which had to do with the Pledge Music campaign). Autographed CDs (with download included) are available exclusively from the Rehya Stevens web store, while digital downloads should be available wherever digital downloads are sold. If you're looking for something that feels familiar without feeling as played out as day old chewing gum, something new and fresh that delivers those old memories in emotional technicolor with spiritual surround sound, Rehya Stevens' "Celebrate" could be just the string of brightly colored lights your musical Christmas tree has been missing.
Around our household the past couple of years, we've spent more and more time during the (extended) holiday season with our TV on the Hallmark channels, watching the never ending stream of Christmas movies. Say what you want, but they have a snow-lined niche in Christmas season entertainment, and they know how to execute their formula. For me, some are better than others, but by golly they are darned happy movies :-) And I especially liked the one where Captain Kirk showed up and transported the star of the movie into the future. Ok, it was William Shatner playing the mystical role, but it's more fun to think of him as Captain Kirk.
Why am I talking about Hallmark movies? Well, because indie musician Rehya Stevens, with a brand new Christmas CD titled "Celebrate" out this year, has had two of her songs placed in multiple Hallmark Christmas movies.
Listening to "Celebrate," one can see why Rehya's songs were picked. She has a gorgeously smooth, pure voice, she frequently sings of holiday love, and her music has that perfect Hallmark vibe.
"Celebrate" features nine original Christmas songs, a sparkling collection of soothing, seductive, seasonal tunes. "Happy Holiday" kicks off the album, a jazzy, soulful yet bright song tying a bit of nostalgic Christmas imagery into a song of holiday love. "Come In From The Cold" follows, and is very melodic and refreshing. I hesitate to say "smooth jazz", but "Come In From The Cold" is a bit jazzy, a bit smooth, and altogether wonderful.
"Jingle Jangle" is an attention-getter. More upbeat, it hearkens to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", has a great little poppy beat, excellent lyrics, and is a wonderful vehicle for Rehya's vocals.
"Fly Past My Roof" is another ear-perker. Leading off with a bluesy, kinda nasty (in a good way) horn section before sliding back into a slow-tempo first verse, it then drifts through a little evocative piano accompaniment before conceding to the awesome horn section once again. It's like a little journey though the dark woods of Christmas blues, and it's terrific. (If the metaphors don't make sense, please go have a dram of whiskey, then return to the blog - thank you!)
All in all, "Celebrate" is a great soundtrack for a Christmas season evening at home. Rehya Stevens shows her talent as a complete musician throughout the album. So, pause that Hallmark Christmas movie (it'll be on again, really) and listen to "Celebrate" with a nice glass of wine. You'll have a great evening!
Now, as occasionally happens here in the Christmas music blogosphere, good friend Stubby also reviewed "Celebrate" over at his place. Stubby did an ab fab review and provided a lot of information about Rehya Stevens, her background, and her career. Rather than repeat all of that over here, I'll point you over to Stubby's for a terrific post about "Celebrate": Stubby's Review of Celebrate
One more thing before wrapping this up - Rehya's e-mail signature line contains a quite from Fred Rogers: "Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex". Anyone quoting Mister Rogers in their e-mail is all right by ol' Der Bingle :-)
Following is a list of the Hallmark movies that have included the songs listed below:
"The 12 Gifts Of Christmas," "A Prince For Christmas," "All I Want For Christmas," "Dear Secret Santa," "Christmas In Palm Springs," "Christmas Under Wraps," "A Perfect Christmas List"
"When You're With Me"
We get a lot of requests here from artists who would like us to give their Christmas song or album a boost. And while we do our best, we can't always keep up with demand.
We are thrilled, however, to tell you about Rehya Stevens, an LA-based artist with strong pop and jazz roots. Her holiday album 'Celebrate' dropped this past October, and it's an absolute winner. 'Celebrate' is packed with original music, from upbeat and catchy pop tunes ("Happy Holiday," "Jingle Jangle") to jazz throwbacks ("Fly Past My Roof," "Celebrate") to folk-rock and more. We know it's a cliche to say this, but there really is something for everyone - this is perfect tree-trimming music. And it's even more perfect for snuggling by the fire with someone you love.
She's released three singles - the lush, gorgeous "A Christmas song," the bouncy, Brenda Lee-inspired "Jingle Jangle," and our current favorite, "Fly Past My Roof," which boasts Nelson Riddle-like horn arrangements, clever lyrics and rhymes, and Stevens' smoky, intimate voice showing off a rather amazing range.
'Celebrate' is an undeniably romantic album - playing it loud just might conjure the kind of snowstorm that keeps you and your loved one from having to work. It's also beautifully produced, perfectly melodic and deeply satisfying. We usually don't pick up on the current year's crop of holiday music until the following spring, but if Rehya Stevens' 'Celebrate' is a preview of what's to come, we'll be paying a lot more attention.
You can purchase 'Celebrate' (with three free tracks) and get a signed CD here: https://rehyastevens.com/
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A couple of years ago, I did a post about my favorite Christmas songs. So feel free to travel back to that one here. But it occurred to me that it was time to introduce – plus or minus a few classics – some new tunes. Somebody somewhere is always releasing a Christmas or holiday album. Sometimes the artist will surprise you. For sake of space, I’ll feature a handful in the post but put them all in the Spotify list. Be sure to give it a spin.
First up, Rehya Stevens (pictured above). From her website: Rehya’s father introduced her onto the local professional Jazz scene when she was 11 years old.
Requirements included learning the American songbook and stylings of Etta James, Sarah Vaughn, Diane Schurr, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Shirley Horn, Natalie Cole and Diana Krall. Her father, Peter Martin played keyboards for artists including Diana Ross and the Supremes, Bobby Caldwell, Bill Medley.
Rehya’s got a nice new Christmas album of originals called Celebrate which she’s co-written with her collaborator, Jon Kubis. Kubis is currently keyboardist and arranger with Ray Chew Live, the house band on Dancing With The Stars and Showtime at the Apollo.
Let’s kick the holiday season off (a little early) with “Fly Past My Roof,” with a lush big band arrangement by Kubis. And yeah it swings, baby!