Singer-songwriters Van Andrew and Tori Miller met earlier this year as rival contestants on season 19 of NBC’s, The Voice. During the blind auditions, both Andrew and Miller won the hearts of the judges and joined Team Gwen, only to be pitted against one another in their first battle round. While their time on the series has since come to its end, their fateful encounter on the competition forged a budding songwriting partnership with incredible promise – evidenced by the pair’s collaborative debut, “A Merry Little Christmas.”
Deck the halls with boughs of holly
And we’ll pretend like we’re all jolly
I never really liked this time of year
For a silent night, the world is screaming
And missing you is always in season
But I know that’s not what you wanna hear
So have a merry little Christmas
Have a merry little Christmas
And a happy New Year
“We recorded a rough voice memo in Van’s living room in Nashville,” Miller shared with American Songwriter, “we were just drinking Miller High Life and talking about how we should take the hours we docked as battle partners on the show and churn out a really well-written and vocally tight song together.” That is exactly what they did. “A Merry Little Christmas” is a minimalist arrangement of acoustic guitar and pianos, leaving a perfectly carved-out space for Andrew and Miller’s exceptional vocal performance to shine.
“It just kind of fell out of us,” Andrew shared. “As we began writing it, I realized I was putting pieces of myself and story into the song. ‘A Merry Little Christmas’ is about a guy who is standing on his front porch in the middle of the holiday season thinking back on a failed relationship. How are you supposed to have a holly jolly time, when you are still hung up on the past?”
Shortly after writing the song together in Nashville, Andrew drove to Miller’s hometown in Northwest Arkansas to track acoustic guitar and vocals at Redbeard studios. “The instrumentation came together in a serendipitous sort of way,” Miller recalls, “we were graced with the handiwork of Beta Radio’s, Brent Holloman, for the track’s guitars and pianos. He felt like the perfect fit for what we were trying to communicate and accomplish, and I know we are both thankful for the work and creativity he put into the tune.”
Reminiscent of modern folk icons, Noah Gundersen and Phoebe Bridgers, the duo’s blend is remarkably haunting throughout. Though predominantly intimate, the track is a subtle progression towards an impassioned climactic ending that Andrew fittingly calls the gut-punch of the song. With plans to write and release new music in 2021, “A Merry Little Christmas,” is a strong opening for Andrew and Miller. The newly-formed duo hopes their four-minute melancholy carol will remind listeners, “they aren’t alone in feeling alone – especially around the holidays.”
Stream the exclusive American Songwriter premiere of Van Andrew and Tori Miller’s “A Merry Little Christmas” below.