INTERVIEW: Tommee Profitt Instills Hope With His Christmas Album, “The Birth Of A King”

Photo: Nolan Knight

Acclaimed producer, composer, and recording artist, Tommee Profitt brings a larger-than-life quality to everything he touches. In the last few years alone, he has achieved tremendous success, earning accolades and acclaim for his genre-warping work with platinum-selling artists like Migos, Hunter Hayes, and NF, and has been featured in over 200 sync placements in the film, TV, and gaming worlds. This year found Tommee, like may other artists, switching gears, focusing on a passion project that has been a long time in the making and is very near and dear to his heart: his recently released cinematic Christmas album, The Birth Of A King.

Clocking in at over seventeen songs in length and including features from a wide array of artists including Avril Lavigne, Stanaj, Ruelle, Jordan Smith, Crowder and many more, The Birth Of A King is not only an incredibly ambitious release, but it also provides fans with something that they’ve all been needing this year: hope. Carefully crafted to evoke emotion and feel like a feature length movie, The Birth Of A King is an epic Christmas album unlike any other that will easily become a staple in households for years to come.

With The Birth Of A King out now, we caught up with Tommee to talk about the album’s lengthy and challenging writing process, the inspiration behind the reworking of the songs, the artist features and much more. Listen to The Birth Of A King and read the full interview now below.

 

Prelude Press: 2020 has found many people diving into passion projects while they’re stuck at home, and for you, that meant finally putting the finishing touches on your new album, The Birth Of A King. How has the year looked like for you?

Tommee Profitt: What a weird year! This was 100% a passion project that I’ve dreamed of making since 2005, and I was super excited to finally jump into it earlier this year when the whole world shut down due to Covid-19. I’ve actually tried to start this album every year for the past five or six years, but had too much on my plate, so the quarantine freed up my schedule to make it. With this album, I’ve never had more fun making music in my entire life!

Back in October, you finally celebrated the release of The Birth Of A King. Now that it has been out for a few months and you’ve had some time to reflect on it, what are some of your favorite things about the album?

People’s reactions have been pretty special to me. Christmas music is so personal to people; everyone has their own playlist and favorite albums/songs that they pull out each and every year. Christmas music is part of their lives, and I think being a part of THAT is an honor. People have told me that this is the album their kids will grow up listening to and has instantly become a staple in their house. That’s what you dream of when you make a Christmas album. Also, more importantly, I love hearing how the album is impacting people. My goal was to accentuate the power of the story of Christmas through a dynamic soundtrack, and I love that people are sensing that.

I know the album has been a long time in the making, so I can imagine that finally having the final product out for the world to hear is incredibly rewarding. What was the most exciting or fulfilling part of working on the album?

Seeing the vision come to life in real-time was pretty special. I dreamed of this album, but I didn’t know what it would sound like, or what musical parts I would write to it, or who would sing on it, so as it all came together, it made me even more excited. It was so fun collaborating with so many different people to make this happen. As the LP was being created, it seemed like a common theme that kept coming up was “hope.” I think it became apparent to me, while I was making the album, that at the end of 2020 (arguably one of the worst years in modern history), people needed (and wanted, and were more open to) hope than ever before. So that became part of the mission during the whole recording process.

What was the most challenging aspect of working on the album?

I think the most challenging part was coming up with what to do with each and every song. I wanted some tracks to be true to the original but with a more fresh sound, while others I wanted to completely reimagine and do something different. It was a balance, for sure! Some ideas came quickly, while others stumped me and I had to really work on them for weeks. There’s 17 songs on this record, so it was definitely a ton of work to arrange every single one, but that’s also part of the fun. Getting up at 5am and scribbling on notebook paper in the studio with crazy hair, that’s what we as creatives live for!

You also self-produced the album! What was that process like? Did you learn any important lessons during that time?

Yeah, I’m a “producer artist,” so my albums are always productions that have featured singers on them, and I love that. Producing is my favorite part of my job, so getting to work on that aspect and make those production decisions of what I wanted the album to sound like was very rejuvenating. It was fun to try new things, and I felt like I was able to put all of my different musical backgrounds (cinematic, hip-hop, worship) into one project.

You’ve mentioned before that you really wanted to focus on making a Christmas album that sounded like a movie soundtrack. What was the inspiration behind that sound? What do you hope listeners feel when they hear it?

When you think about the synopsis of the traditional Christmas story: “A King is being born, greeted by Angels, who’s coming to save the world” – that is epic! You can’t write a more epic story than that. So I thought it deserved an equally epic soundtrack. Something to feel like a movie and transport people to the place where the story was actually happening, as it was happening. I hope people receive The Birth of a King like a movie. I think people who believe in the story of Christmas will love the power within the album, and people that don’t can also enjoy it as an epic story like they do when they watch Lord of the Rings. It’s an amazing story either way!

The Birth Of A King also features some incredible collaborations with a huge array of artists. What were they able to bring to the table to help these songs come to life?

As I was arranging these songs, specifics artist came to mind for each track; it was all about their voices. I truly believe that these are some of the best singers on the planet! I’m so honored to have gotten to collaborate with them on this project. I think the only way that an “epic” project like this would work, is if the singers gave equally dynamic performances, and they all crushed it. They were all asked to sing the highest notes they’ve ever attempted to on this album, and they all went for it and worked hard until they got it. It was amazing to see the effort and willingness to deliver such powerful performances from all these artists. I think when you combine big, cinematic music with their powerful singing, that’s the recipe for my vision to make the most epic Christmas album ever made.

With The Birth Of A King out now, do you have any other big plans for the rest of the year or looking toward 2021?

I think I’m going to just continue doing what I’ve always done: making tons of music, mostly for TV and film, and continuing to work with artists as well. Now that this project is behind me, I really don’t know exactly what is next, but I’m excited and motivated like never before. 2021 is going to be a good year!

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