Holiday Artist Spotlight – Charleene Closshey2019-12-14T21:11:23+00:00

American singer/composer/actress CHARLEENE CLOSSHEY fuses her classical music background, “shimmering vocals” which “feel almost of a bygone era”, and her Celtic heritage to create songs performed in films and on stages and radio airwaves across the globe (some even blessed by the Pope). Her song, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”can he heard on radio stations across the USA, UK, and Europe.

Charleene Clossehey

“I Head the Bells on Christmas Day”

What inspired you to record a holiday song?

Christmas is quite actually the most wonderful time of the year! And not just because of the celebrations and festivities and ‘holly jolly, fa la la la la’ feelings, but because it’s a time where all of life seems to center back to its very core – love incarnate. Even in the hustle and bustle, the world begins to slow. Colors become more vivid. Kindness more easily spills out of us all. We see our brothers and sisters as just that. During this time, there is a greater permission to remember we are all connected and to act accordingly. The specific holiday someone celebrates during December becomes less important because all our celebrations reconnect us to ourselves and, in turn, to each other. Truly, the most wonderful time of the year.

And who wouldn’t want to make music about it?! Heck. I made an entire album.

What is your fondest holiday memory as a kid?

As a child, I suspected the whole “Santa Claus” heist as rather tricky. So, every year, I would sleep on the living room sofa between the chimney and Christmas tree after setting traps to catch “the delivery man”. Well, it never worked (my former military intelligence officer father was always way to craft for me!), but I think I began cultivating the ability to ask questions, to search out answers, and really explore what ideas or thoughts or philosophies best work for my heart. So, not a totally unproductive hunt. 

Do you still get excited about seeing gifts under the tree? What was your most favorite surprise?

My love language is Giving Gifts, and I take expressing love quite seriously! Every gift I give must be wrapped beautifully with the most colorful metallic paper, glitter ribbons standing 6 inches high off the present, and various holiday accoutrements (like jingle bells or fresh holly or sparkly Christmas ornaments) to accentuate the love I feel in this giving to the receiver. And, I like to wrap not only my gifts, my gifts from everyone else in my family as well! I’m the official Holiday Wrapper. Plus, all the spectacle under the tree makes for an extra special Christmas morning…

What is your favorite Christmas/holiday song (that isn’t yours)?

My first memory of Christmas music was an ivory colored 8 track my parents would pull out every November of Bing Crosby’s “That Christmas Feeling”. The songs were short, sweet, and poignant. “I love that Christmas feeling; it does my heart so much good. Strangers I meet, all seem like friends and the world’s just a neighborhood.” On this same album was the song which would later become my first Holiday Radio single: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” with lyrics by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. “Wrong shall fail, and Right prevail with peace on Earth, good will to men!” And, every song on this album is just as powerful and profound. It didn’t matter if the lyrics were light, the singing was happy and strong and true.

No one sings Christmas like Bing Crosby. 

What are your fondest musical memories associated with the holiday season?

In your opinion, what is the all-time best holiday song?

Do you believe in Santa?

Yes. Next question?

Full disclaimer: I believe in the Spirit of St. Nicholas – the spirit of goodness and love – which is available to us all if we just choose to act and live accordingly. It’s the same spirit which is celebrated in Christianity with a virgin birth and ultimate sacrifice, in Judaism as the miracle of illumination, even in more earth-based traditions of perfection winter to illustrate the strength of stillness. It’s everywhere, if we simply choose to believe.

What message do you want people to hear when they listen to your song?

What do you enjoy more? Receiving gifts or giving them?

I’m a gift giver! Granted, it is fun to receive, but I find most joy in giving.

What charities do you support?

Animal charities are always close to my heart, supporting and giving voice to those without a voice. Animals are the purest connection to spirit as they love without condition (yes, even my cats 😉 and mirror for us what’s really going on in our hearts and lives at the moment. This awakening to deeper compassion is what recently inspired my decision to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, which I thoroughly enjoy!

What are your top 5 favorite holiday songs?

  1. “That Christmas Feeling” (Bing Crosby)
  2. “O Tannenbaum” (Vince Guaraldi)
  3. “Sleigh Ride” (Harry Connick, Jr.)
  4. “A Christmas Festival (Medley)” (Leroy Anderson)
  5. “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo” (TransSiberian Orchestra) OR “The Holly and the Ivy” (The Cambridge Singers)

Have you ever gotten a lump of coal in your stocking?

Nope. Though I am totally compelled to give som coal this year! Check out Pacha Soap’s “Lump o’ Coal” salt block with activated charcoal powder! HA!!

Have you been naughty or nice this year?

In the South, there are certain things one never asks a lady, such as her age or weight or religious or political inclinations. The Naughty & Nice List falls under these same auspices. You won’t hear it from my lips!

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