On Thursday, December 3, HBO Max is spreading holiday cheer with the debut of Carrie Underwood’s new music special My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood. In the Max Original, Underwood performs a combination of beloved traditional favorites celebrating the joy and hopefulness of the holiday, as well as new original material from her first ever full-length Christmas album My Gift (check price at Amazon), which was released earlier this fall.
In the first of the Christmas specials, Underwood is accompanied by her band, as well as a live orchestra and choir, conducted by Underwood’s longtime friend, Emmy Award-winning musical director Rickey Minor.
The special features many heartfelt moments and performances, including a duet with John Legend, singing “Hallelujah,” an original song he co-wrote with Toby Gad, which appears on her My Gift album. Viewers will also get an inside look behind the scenes of Underwood recording “Little Drummer Boy” with her five-year-old son Isaiah.
“I’m thrilled to be collaborating with Playtone and HBO Max to bring My Gift to life,” said Underwood.
“Just like the album, I hope this special will help bring some much-needed joy and become part of the soundtrack to people’s holiday festivities this year as it streams throughout the season and beyond.”
My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood is executive produced by Gary Goetzman and Tom Hanks for Playtone — which has garnered 52 Emmy Awards and 107 nominations — along with Underwood and her manager, Ann Edelblute.
The special is directed by Emmy nominee Sandra Restrepo, with production design by Tom Lenz and wardrobe styling by multiple Emmy Award-winning costume designer Marina Toybina.
“This special is an homage to the classic, timeless holiday specials, highlighting the vocal gifts of the incomparable Carrie Underwood,” said producer Goetzman. “She’s an artist who transcends genres and shows here why audiences love her around the world.”
Produced and arranged by GRAMMY Award-winning producer, mixer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Greg Wells, My Gift debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country, Christian and Holiday charts. My Gift marks the eighth straight album Underwood has debuted #1 on the Billboard Country chart. My Gift also debuted at #1 on the UK country chart (her fifth #1 on the chart) and #1 on the Canadian country chart.
The second of the Christmas specials, this one coming to Apple TV+ on Friday, December 4, is titled Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special.
Carey invited a special lineup of guest superstars, including Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri, Misty Copeland and Mykal-Michelle Harris, to take part in this holiday event. Extra special appearances are also made by Carey’s twins, Moroccan and Monroe.
Faced with a holiday cheer crisis, the North Pole knows there’s only one person who can save the day: Santa’s great friend, Mariah Carey. Combining musical performances, dynamic dancing and groundbreaking animation, the undisputed Queen of Christmas jumps into action to create a holiday spectacular to make the whole world merry.
Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special is executive produced by Carey, as well as Ian Stewart, Raj Kapoor and Ashley Edens for Done + Dusted. BAFTA Award winner Hamish Hamilton and Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Roman Coppola direct, and also serve as executive producers, and the special is written by Caroline Fox.
The soundtrack single and new music video for “Oh Santa!,” co-written by and featuring Carey performing with Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, will be will be distributed by Sony Music and released on Apple Music and other streaming platforms December 4.
The companion soundtrack to the special is full of brand new interpretations, and will also include Snoop Dogg and Jermaine Dupri as additional musical guests, in addition to a new version of “Sleigh Ride.” The soundtrack will be available December 4 exclusively on Apple Music, and all other platforms on December 11.
Apple Music will also celebrate the release of the Apple TV+ special in an exclusive interview with flagship anchor Zane Lowe on December 7, where Carey runs through her personally-curated playlist of favorite holiday songs, and talks about her new music and recent memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey.
Then on December 25, Carey will also appear on Apple Music Hits, Apple Music’s new radio station, for a six-hour Holiday Hits special, featuring the biggest festive songs, including “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and telling fans about her own holiday memories, with additional artists and hosts sharing their own Christmas messages.