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We love to celebrate Christmastime at CCM Magazine. Of course, first and foremost, it is all because of Jesus Christ—God-in-flesh coming to humanity in the form of a perfect, virgin-born baby. Somewhere, way down the line from that, and all it represents and means to us here on earth, we celebrate the music of this season—a mere, man-made reflection of that miracle.

Sure, we’ve graced our holiday-time covers with the biggest artists of any given time whom have delivered Yuletide flair, usually someone seasoned at recording the season. However, and with all due respect to our upcoming December 1, 2016 cover artist—author of arguably one of the most reflective and popular Christmas songs of all-time—I’m certain that the artist and album that warranted this interview, cover story, and CCM cover could be considered the best we’ve ever heard. And, it’s her first.

Before you unwrap the candy cane or sip on that peppermint mocha, you might want to first consider the palette. “You talk about Bourbon Street,” Lauren Daigle responds to my question about her upbringing as she sits across from me in the CCM Magazine conference room. “But all the locals go to Frenchman Street. I grew up going to Frenchman Street and listening to the brass bands on the street corners. Just the sentiment of the sound, that air… You can hear saxophones bouncing off the walls of the French Quarter and you don’t know if they’re ten or just one street over because of the sound that reverbs throughout the whole city.”

With her first Centricity Music Christmas offering, Behold: A Christmas Collection (buy)—the album that almost wasn’t—you will experience brass bands and saxophones bouncing off your decades-old decorations of green-and-red-glittered donned walls. Bringing a little bit…um, make that a lot of her home to yours, I’m willing to bet the smells of crawfish and jambalaya will be creeping out of a lot more kitchens north of the swampy southlands this year, accompanying the unique new sounds of Christmas 2016.

CCM Magazine: We love Behold … But it’s not just another jazzy holiday album. This is… Well, it’s thick, dirty…Bourbon Street. How do you think it’s going to translate to straight-arrow Christian music audiences? Personally, what’s your expectation?
Lauren Daigle: Originally we started it out as just an EP, but it was just so fulfilling, so we turned it into a full-length. In that, that’s when the question was brought up. “Do we keep all Christian songs, or do we…? In my camp, what we call it is “extending the tent pegs.” We thought, “Maybe this is a way to capture all the people that enjoy Christmas?” Whether they’re Christian, non-believers…maybe it’s what will win those—maybe it takes their ear in a little bit and they say, “All right, what’s all this about?”

All that to say, we trust [the Christian music fan] will understand that the goal is to reach all people—every tongue, every eye, every tribe, every nation would know who Jesus is.”

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About The Author

Kevin Sparkman
Managing Editor

After both on-stage and front-office experience in the Christian recording industry, (including co-founding Exit 3 Entertainment, Inc. and General Manager of hip-hop label Beatmart Recordings), Sparkman returned to Salem in 2014 from a Dir. of Communications position in the United Methodist Church. He became the Managing Editor of CCM Magazine in January 2015.