Cross Country Checkup·Q&A

Jenn Grant reflects on the year 2020 and shares her love of the holidays

Last month, Halifax-based singer-songwriter Jenn Grant released her holiday album, Forever on Christmas Eve, and has been traveling throughout the city spreading Christmas cheer. She spoke with Checkup's Ian Hanomansing about what it is she loves about the season.

The Halifax-based musician released her Christmas album, Forever on Christmas Eve, last month

Singer-songwriter Jenn Grant will celebrate the holidays with fans during a Christmas music special, streaming on YouTube. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Though 2020 has been a challenging year, singer-songwriter Jenn Grant has made the most of it.

Last month, the Halifax-based artist released her holiday album, Forever on Christmas Eve, and has been traveling throughout the city spreading Christmas cheer. On Christmas Eve, she'll be streaming a Christmas special recorded in her Lake Echo, N.S., home.

Grant joined Cross Country Checkup host Ian Hanomansing ahead of Christmas to perform a couple songs — and share what it is she loves about this time of the year.

Here is part of that conversation.

We did a show a few weeks ago, and one of the themes that emerged was silver linings that people had. What are you most grateful for in 2020? 

We actually are really grateful for so many things. Danny [Ledwell] and I've been touring together for at least a decade now — a lot of it together, some of it on my own. And we did the last nine months of touring with our son, who is two now. And I was also six months pregnant the last [part] of the tour.

Jenn Grant's holiday album, Forever on Christmas Eve, features the single Downtown Christmas Eve. (Jenn Grant)

I think our last show was Valentine's Day in Halifax. It was a beautiful show — it was just probably my favourite show ever. Everything came together. And then I was like, it's over. There's nothing else, what's happening?

But ... it was such a great summer. We had a baby in June, and we just got to really nestle down and do about eight years of home projects that we had been not able to focus on, and just kind of reconnect as a family. 

While we know it's been a really hard time for so many people, there's been so much love and joy for us during this last many months.

What's Christmas going to look like for you and your growing family? 

We've been crazy busy because I put out the record, and we're having a Christmas special that we filmed in the house ... you can get tickets to that, if you want, on my website. 

I've been carolling around Nova Scotia. I did a contest where I said people could email me and ... nominate somebody who really needed an extra boost of Christmas cheer. 

So I've been visiting people on their lawns — people I've never met before — and dressing up like Santa and running around my neighbourhood, and just really going full tilt trying to bring the Christmas joy to the HRM: the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Tell me the story behind your song, Downtown Christmas Eve

I wrote it a few years ago, I wrote it by the fireplace in our home in Lake Echo. 

This is my 13th Christmas with Danny now, and we had some really great memories of sometimes walking around the country, sometimes walking around looking at the Christmas lights — and I mean, I'm a sucker for a good string of lights. 

I love the glow and I love the way it makes you feel, and it's sort of a magical time of year and I think it brings people together. It's got an array of emotions around it in the holiday seasons, but it's nice to tap into that kind of romance and special quality of the light in the dark.

Before we let you go, tell me about your Christmas special that's going to be on YouTube on Christmas Eve. 

It's going to be a really great big special. I did have some shows booked in Halifax that we cancelled for everyone's safety, of course. But then I got really, really excited about the idea of having a real special because I grew up watching Christmas specials. 

So it was beautifully recorded in our home in Lake Echo, which we decorated from tip to tail, and there are baking segments and there's an attempt at comedy by me — sort of.

There's a great band, there's outfit changes. There's my kids and my dogs and we're really excited about it.

Written by Jason Vermes. Produced by Sabrina Jonas. 

Hear Jenn Grant's interview and performance of Downtown Christmas Eve above.

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