Leslie Odom Jr. has a soft spot for Christmas. And it’s no wonder. The Tony Award winner started to sing because of a special holiday gift he received while growing up.
“My parents bought me a karaoke machine when I was around 9 or 10 years old,” Odom told The Huffington Post. “There’d be no career in music for me without that Christmas I learned how to sing on that machine.”
The former “Hamilton” star ― who played Aaron Burr in the Broadway sensation ― channeled those holiday memories while recording “Simply Christmas,” a new eight-track set that finds Odom taking on such classics as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “First Noel” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”
One of the tracks ― “The Christmas Song” ― makes its debut on HuffPost ahead of the album’s Friday release. The song ― featuring the opening lyrics, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire / Jack Frost nipping at your nose” ― was famously recorded by Nat King Cole in 1946.
“Our original inspiration in the recording industry was this: We wanted to record the music that Nat King Cole might make today,” Odom said. “Every now and again, it’s nice to pay tribute to that original inspiration. He started us on our path.”
And the path continues with Odom. Listen to his version of “The Christmas Song” below, and go here to purchase the album, which hits shelves on Nov. 11.