Sam Sparro is “going blue. The gay Aussie singer, who first landed on our radar with 2008’s “Black And Gold,” is celebrating the holiday season with Christmas in Blue, a 4-track EP featuring jazzy takes on Yuletide standards like Wham’s “Last Christmas,” as well as the all-new “Christmas In Your Heart.”
“My friend Tim, the pianist and music arranger, and I were sitting around the piano and he started playing ‘Christmas Time is Here’ from A Charlie Brown Christmas, which I love,” Sparro tells NewNowNext.
“It’s one of my favorite Christmas songs because it’s got this sadness to it, and there’s a bit of melancholy for me around that time of year. All the song selections, like the title, have a blue feeling.”
We chatted with Sparro for a hot minute about his holiday album, what he’d like for Christmas and—in an exclusive scoop—his new relationship status.
Do you have a favorite holiday album?
“Oh, without a doubt Mariah Carey’s first Christmas album, [Merry Christmas]. I think “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is the last song that’s been entered into the timeless Christmas canon. I actually didn’t want to do an original song [on this album]. Then Tim and my manager convinced me.
Nobody ever does it right, but I just wrote a song about trying to find that feeling of Christmas you had as a child among lot of conflict. We’re all feeling a bit exhausted and rundown from the bullshit—so that’s what “Christmas in Your Heart” song is about.
If it makes the Christmas songbook, who would you love to cover “Christmas in Your Heart”?
Is it too ambitious if I say Beyoncé? [Laughs] I feel like Beyoncé can always really slay a ballad moment when she wants to. I’m a big fan of Kelly Clarkson’s voice, too.
Is there a holiday song you absolutely can’t stand?
“Definitely. I hate ‘Silver Bells.’ It’s terrible!
So it won’t be on your next Christmas album?
No. Unless we can find a way to really remix it and… No, it’ll never make it.
What’s the worst holiday gift you’ve received?
God rest her soul, but my grandmother would try and buy me clothes. Don’t buy your gay grandchildren clothes. She would buy me these really bro jock clothes that would never be worn. But she tried.
You rock a fine stache. Are you all about Movember?
Sometimes I’ll walk into a place where they’ll just assume I’ve temporarily got this mustache and make some reference to Movember. But they don’t know I’ve had this thing for years now.
I’ve cut it down and feel naked without it. At least once a week someone tells me I look like Freddie Mercury.
Will you be celebrating the holidays with someone special this year?
I’m actually engaged to be married! I’ve never shared that publicly. I’m not sure why I decided to do that just now. [laughs] He’s not in the industry, he’s a private citizen, a civilian. We’ve been together a few years and we’re really happy. We laugh a lot.
Have you been following the marriage equality fight in Australia?
Yeah, from a distance. Kylie Minogue was really great at getting involved in the “Say I Do Down Under” campaign. It shouldn’t be up to a public decision. If it wasn’t ruled on by the Supreme Court in the U.S., who knows where we would be with it [here]. Some people have no idea how to vote.
What would you like for Christmas this year? We’ll make sure the fiancé gets the hint.
How about gun reform? That would be really great. I’ve been really into collecting cassette tapes, so some good cassettes. The new album I’m working on is really inspired by my cassette collection from when I was a kid, so I’ve been buying a lot of 1989-92 New Jack Swing and pop and Janet and Whitney Houston, and things like that.
Christmas in Blue is out November 17.