During her formative listening years, rising country artist Reyna Roberts learned Christmas classics from some of the most powerful voices (literally and in commercial reach) of the last three decades.
When asked for a favorite Christmas song from her childhood, Roberts listed Mariah Carey's "O Holy Night" and Christina Aguilera's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." As for country influences, she gravitates to Carrie Underwood's treatment of a clear personal favorite, "O Holy Night."
Beyond connecting with spiritual and sentimental source material, Roberts found inspiration for her budding vocal style from popular renditions of timeless songs.
"For me, listening to Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, they had these huge voices," Roberts told Wide Open Country. "That's always what inspired me, so I would try to sing the songs just like them."
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"O Holy Night," a musical telling of the nativity story that dates back to a 19th century French poem by Adolphe Adam, appears on Carey's 1994 holiday collection Merry Christmas. It's the same eight-times platinum album that brought us Carey and Walter Afanasieff co-write "All I Want For Christmas is You." Underwood has sang "O Holy Night" since at least 2009's Carrie Underwood: All Star Holiday Special and included a new recording on 2020 Christmas album My Gift.
It's been a solid 30 years in the mainstream for "O Holy Night," which also suited the performance styles of Martina McBride, Celine Dion, Josh Groban and Lauren Daigle.
Aguilera's 2000 album My Kind of Christmas brought more than another awe-inspiring take on "O Holy Night" to Roberts' CD player. Aguilera wowed Roberts with a cover of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," a song first recorded by Judy Garland for the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis.
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