Chely Wright Unwraps 'Santa Will Find You' From Holiday EP: Premiere

Matthew Rodgers
Chely Wright

Chely Wright's "Santa Will Find You," premiering exclusively below from the Manhattan-based singer-songwriter's upcoming holiday EP, has a bit of history behind it.

Wright originally wrote it with Mindy Smith, who included it on her 2007 album My Holiday. It's been recorded by other artists since, but Wright always felt that it was a song she wanted to have her way with as well. "The song really kind of stuck in my head over the past couple of years as something I had to record myself," Wright tells Billboard. Originally written with military personnel deployed overseas in mind -- "I was trying to write a song to say what the loved ones left behind would say," Wright explains -- it took new meaning while spending last Christmas with her wife's parents in Pennsylvania and having their five-year-old twin boys asking some hard questions.

"Our boys were so freaked out that Santa was not going to know where to deliver those presents," Wright recalls. "He did, of course, and when I recorded the song earlier this year I played it for them and their eyes lit up -- 'So he really does know?!' 'Yes, he does. He has a magic way of finding you...'"

Wright has heard other recordings of the song over the years, and the one that's stuck with her most is by Libera, a London choir that recorded it during 2016, with a video to go with it. "We were in Vermont for the holidays two years ago, in a shop buying snow boots for the boys, and I kept hearing the overhead music and going, 'What is that? I love that. That's a great melody,'" Wright remembers with a laugh. "It was my wife who said, 'That's "Santa Will Find You!"' That's always a neat surprised when that happens."

The Santa Will Find You EP comes out Oct. 26, featuring three new songs and one other, "It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)," that's been recorded by Smith, the Indigo Girls and others. "It's been tugging at me to make a holiday record for a long time, especially since I had a couple songs that have a track record already. I felt like I had a head start on it," says Wright, who begins a 10-date holiday tour on Dec. 12 in Decatur, Ga. "I figured if I could write three more solid songs I'd have enough for an EP. I mean, if I can’t sit down and write three good songs, I should quit my job, right?"

Wright also recorded an EP of new material alongside Santa Will Find You; Titled Revival, it's due out during early 2019 and, she says, will be different from her previous output. "One of the reasons I wanted to work with Dustin (Ransom) and Jeremy (Lister) is I knew that would take me to places I hadn’t gone before," Wright says. "This is my 25th year of making records. It can be pretty tempting to go back to those old, comfortable, what-made-you-famous things. So I really pushed myself...to do things differently. We didn't recreate the wheel or our sonic landscape; I think people will hear something different but it also sounds like me -- the best of both worlds."

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