Kate goes festive

FROM pop princess to jazz diva, Kate Ceberano has really done it all.

Over the past 25 years, she has released hugely successful pop albums, she has conquered the soul genre, and she has appeared in films and musicals.

Earlier this year, she demonstrated to Australia and the world just what a talent she is when she released Bittersweet: a jazz album, with legendary jazz performer Mark Isham, to audience and critical acclaim.

She toured the country to celebrate her quarter-century in the music business biz and had audiences young and old dancing in the aisles.

Now she can add Christmas Angel to her list of achievements.

Kate Ceberano – Merry Christmas hit the shelves last month, marking her first foray into the land of Christmas tunes. and she says It is an album she is exceptionally proud of.

“I just love it,” she said.

“When we did it, Chong (Lim) and I, we wanted to make it so beautifully wacky, light and quirky, but obviously we wanted to drown it with sentimentality.”

With that goal in mind, Ceberano set out about to find some of the most popular Christmas standards, and a few surprise extras along the way.

White Christmas, Jingle Bells, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Happy Christmas (War Is Over) all take pride of place, alongside modern favourites such as I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Jingle Bell Rock.

Surprises include Spanish festive tune Feliz Navidad, and the sexy Santa Baby.

Then, to top it all off, Ceberano has brought in one of the most popular performers in the world, Ronan Keating, to sing duet with her on It’s Only Christmas, adding a double dose of star power to the last track on the album.

“To me (the track with Keating) tops it all off – it is the mistletoe over the door,” Ceberano said.

“He is the voice of Notting Hill and Love Actually and all things romantic. His voice is the voice of love and he has become the voice of that mood for me and I feel very, very honoured for him to give me that mood.

“I just think he just makes it even more special for me.”

Merry Christmas clearly draws on the experience Ceberano gained on Bittersweet, with a sexy jazz feel to many of the songs, showing that, even after 25 years, she , Ceberano is still maturing es as a performer.

But After such a long time in the industry, why has she chosen now to release an album of Christmas favourites? Well, It comes down to a little person in her life whose very existence in December revolves around a visit from Santa Claus.

“Early on in the year, every year, I say I should make a Christmas album,” she said. explains.

“But I never have before. Now, with my daughter, ... the significance of Christmas for a five-and-a-half-year-old is more than life itself.”

So now, with a healthy dose of Christmas spirit, Ceberano has created an album that which she believes is just like a healthy dose of Christmas spirits.

“It’s like that little bit of liqueur tucked into the Christmas pudding,” she joked.

“And let’s be honest, a little dash of brandy never hurt anyone.”

Merry Christmas reunites Ceberano with musical director extraordinaire Chong Lim, with whom she first worked on Dancing With The Stars.

Ling is responsible for creating the music for some of the biggest acts in Australia, including David Campbell and David Hobbes, and Ceberano believes his ability to find the character inside a performer makes his work so special.

“We always wanted to work together after having that fabulous, wacky experience on Dancing With The Stars,” she said.

“That was the highest point of fun I have had in my entire life. So I asked him if we could get that person who came out in Dancing With The Stars. Could we get her to sing the Christmas songs?”

And Her wish was granted, with 12 very different characters making an appearance on what is sure to be the must-have album this holiday season.

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