This holiday season, we’re highlighting local businesses as part of our #StayLocal2020 campaign. Scroll to the bottom for more information.
by Joey Phoenix
It’s an unusual holiday season in an unusual year, and while you can still expect to hear some new songs on the radio alongside Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” one local collaboration has produced a Christmas bop that has a specific message of gratitude this holiday season.
Gratigroove released “Thank You It’s Christmas” on November 7th, an original song giving thanks to essential workers, healthcare professionals, and those who have risked their lives and health to help us all feel a little safer.
The inspiration for the song’s lyrics came to Karen Scalia (she/her/hers), writer and actor and founder of Salem Food Tours, one morning after seeing a healthcare worker leaving a night shift. The impulse to just say “Thank you” hit her so strongly, and she knew in the moment that she had to do what she could to amplify this gratitude on a much broader scale.
“I heard the chorus clear as day in my head,” Scalia remembered. “So I wrote it down as soon as I could and then called my nephew.”
Earlier this year, Scalia had mentioned to her nephew, musician and Berklee graduate Derek Dupuis (he/him/his), that she had intended to write a holiday song, but even she wasn’t sure what form that would take. Then, like great bursts of inspiration often come into being, she found her spark and the rest started to unfold quickly, beginning with the two of them working out music and lyrics.
“I had set this in motion,” she said, “but it felt like I was on a conveyor belt. Things just started to happen and it really all came together quickly in a beautiful collaborative effort.”
The project was a joint effort between family and friends, including singer Samantha Dupuis who is featured on the single, Dan Dupuis on drums, and Carl Ayotte on saxophone. Local musician Chris Wilson added bass, guitar and additional instruments. Scalia and her sister Stacey Dupuis added backing vocals.
Mixing and Mastering “Thank You It’s Christmas”
One of the challenges Scalia faced once “Thank You It’s Christmas” had been written and recorded was how to finish the song professionally. She decided to do some research to see who she could bring onto the team for this final creative effort, which is how she found Grammy Award winning mixer engineer Ignacio “Nacho” Molino.
“Not only did I see Grammy Awards, but I saw that he was attached to both Salem, MA and Brooklyn, New York,” said Scalia, a long term resident of both cities. “I knew this was the right person for the job.” So she called him.
In another step in a string of serendipitous coincidences that has occurred throughout this project, Ignacio was going to be visiting his mother in Salem that very weekend, and the two met up for coffee to see if it would be a good fit.
And it was. So while the track was recorded at home studios, it was mixed and mastered by Grammy award-winning artists Ignacio Molino and Daniel Ovie.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the result,” she said. “There is a very classic quality to it, but it’s a song that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their age or where they live.”
One of the ways that you can help Karen Scalia and Gratigroove amplify their message of gratitude is to call your local radio station and request that they play the song or share the Youtube video on social media.
“I would be very happy to know that a nurse in Ireland or an essential worker in Italy had heard it,” she added.
Joey Phoenix is the Managing Editor of Creative North Shore and the Digital Content Manager for North Shore Pride. Follow them on Twitter @jphoenixmedia or send story ideas/pictures of weird animals at email@example.com
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We wanted to shine a spotlight on many of the small businesses that make up the fabric of our communities and support them as much as we can throughout the Winter.
Stay tuned to this event for information on businesses throughout the North shore. We will be highlighting the humans behind the small businesses, showcasing specials and promotions, and also curating experiences that will make your local shopping even better!
A priority this year will be to educate consumers on the safety protocols that so many of our fantastic businesses have implemented in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.