As Zooey Deschanel winds down a hectic 2011 that included a successful sitcom launch, scattered film appearances and a Christmas album as one-half of She & Him, the singer/actress tells Billboard.com that she is already in the preliminary stages of putting together the folk-pop duo's next full-length.
"I've been writing a lot," says Deschanel, "so hopefully we'll be in the studio pretty soon." Instead of diving into the proper follow-up to 2010's "Volume Two" this year, Deschanel and guitarist/producer M. Ward took a detour and decided to issue "A Very She & Him Christmas," a 12-track holiday covers album released in October on Merge Records. Since its release, the album has sold 128,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"We just do what we want, really," says Deschanel, who tracked "A Very She & Him Christmas" over a six-day span with Ward. "There's no grand plan for our career, or something. The wonderful thing is that we're on an amazing indie label that's super artist-friendly, and gives us the room to do our thing. This is just something we've been wanting to do for a long time, and actually we wanted to get one out last year, but it was too hard to get together. So we ended up getting in the studio in April and got it done."
Since the holiday album's release, She & Him have performed "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" on "Ellen" and "The Christmas Waltz" on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Deschanel also picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Song Written for Visual Media, for "So Long," a track she contributed to the "Winnie the Pooh" soundtrack.
Meanwhile, Deschanel has translated her silver screen success to primetime: her Fox sitcom, "New Girl," in which she stars as a quirky hipster named Jess, was picked up for a full season after debuting in September. While Deschanel appeared in supporting roles in big-screen comedies like "Your Highness" and "Our Idiot Brother" this year, she has yet to sign on to any film roles for 2012, instead focusing on her freshman sitcom.
"To me, this is much more comfortable," she says. "Even though the hours are really long, it's more comfortable to me to work with a character and develop it over time… I know we have a big hiatus in the spring and summer though, so that's when I can do other projects."