Difference Media recording artist and one of Southern Gospel’s most lauded soloists, Ivan Parker, released Christmas Dreaming October 5. Produced by Garry Jones (Canton Junction, Brian Free), the collection offers a nostalgic take on six timeless holiday favorites and four beloved carols. Parker's signature vocals are showcased atop big band horns, jazz piano riffs and lush orchestrations as he seamlessly delivers a range of Christmas classics, from “There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays” and “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “What Child Is This,” among others. Recently, Ivan Parker took a few minutes to share about the creation of Christmas Dreaming and some of his favorite holiday traditions and memories.
Congratulations on the release of Christmas Dreaming about two months ago! What has the feedback been to you regarding this release?
Thank you! The feedback on this record has been great, and it is truly touching to see people enjoying the music God created and reminiscing about their Christmas memories through it. Ultimately, it is such a blessing to experience a dream fulfilled and to see people’s lives impacted for the Lord. If it puts a smile on one person’s face and brings them home to the true meaning of Christmas, that’s all that matters.
What prompted you to create a Christmas album for 2018, and how long was this album in the works?
This album was several years coming, and I was so thrilled to finally begin recording it earlier this year. I started piecing it together in my mind and taking notes over the last five years. Through this album, I wanted to bring back the spirit of Christmas and remind people of the peace and joy that brings us closer together at the holidays. Regardless of what goes on in the world, I wanted this music to allow people to forget the problems and the things that divide us and take them back to what the season is all about. Most of all, I want people to understand the real reason for Christmas: Jesus, the true Hope of Christmas.
How do you go about selecting which ten Christmas songs to include on such an album?
It was a fun process! I knew I wanted this album to be sonically set apart from the typical gospel album, and I wanted to include classics that meant something to me personally. These songs naturally stood out to me because they were songs I listened to as a child. I wanted the music to fill people with the joyful sounds of Christmas and also point them back to the real Reason for the season.
What, or who, was your influence to make this album’s tracks centered around a big band and jazz sound?
When I first started the planning process, I began to think of what Christmas sounds like to me. I knew I wanted to encompass the feel of artists like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. That crooner sound has a nostalgia about it that inspires me and fills me with many happy Christmas memories.
What is one Christmas tradition you and your family ensure you complete each year?
When my kids were young, we would always enjoy getting hot chocolate and driving around to see Christmas lights. Teresa and I still enjoy doing this even though Ryan and Josh are now married with families and are starting their own traditions.
What is one of your favorite Christmas memories?
I think it’s wonderful to keep Christmas memories handy because it brings smiles and makes for a happy heart, but it is so important to make new memories. It has been an amazing blessing to experience Christmas through the eyes of my granddaughters. We love to spend time with them during the holidays to celebrate this beautiful season and create new memories.
Looking forward to 2019, what are you most looking forward to in the new year?
I am looking forward to making more memories with my family and continuing to lift up the Lord in song. I plan to keep sharing the Good News to the world. I believe God has great things in store for 2019 and I am excited for it!