JT Hodges Gets Festive With 'Christmas Stars' Film & Holiday EP: Exclusive

J.T. Hodges
John Shearer

JT Hodges

JT Hodges will star in the upcoming Lifetime holiday film Christmas Stars and today (Nov. 14), the country singer and actor shares a sneak peak of the movie with Billboard as well as the exclusive premiere of his holiday EP All Through the Night: A Christmas Collection, out tomorrow.

In a trailer for the film which features Hodges singing a beautiful rendition of “Silent Night,” his character, Spence, is seen falling in love with R&B artist Layla (Erica Durance). Hodges served as both an actor and music arranger for the film.

“I’ve always loved the challenge and opportunity to act,” Hodges tells Billboard. “What made this role so special is that I got to portray a musician and have creative freedom to arrange, as well as perform, all the Christmas music integrated into the film. So, that’s a two-for-one. These songs are classics, but Lifetime gave me the reins to take them in another direction. It was definitely a challenge and I’m really proud of the final product.”

Hodges says playing the role of Spence was somewhat easy, and he was a relatable character as Hodges is also a songwriter himself. He has the stars in his eyes to make music, chase his dreams and pursue a career that some can only fathom,” he notes. “I get that. I remember what it was like the first time I played to an audience that sang my songs back to me. I remember what it was like the first time I heard my songs on the radio. This character in the film is dreaming and chasing after that, and that’s very relatable to me.”

While fans will have to wait until Dec. 13 to see the film Christmas Stars, Hodges' new holiday EP is available to stream below a day ahead of its release. The singer-songwriter says his goal for the six-song project was to make the classics “as original and cool as possible.”

I approached each song in the studio just like I would when recording a record -- from the key, to the arrangement. I’ve always wanted to cover these songs, so when I read the script, I knew we needed a little edge to make these songs work for the film,” he says. “Spence is a country rocker, so ‘Deck the Halls,’ for instance, is polar opposite of how we would normally hear it. ‘Jingle Bells,’ as far as tempo, has a John Mellencamp approach. We really had a blast giving these Christmas classics an edge!”

While the holiday standards have been embedded into Hodges’ life, he says he had a distinct vision in mind when it came time to record “Deck the Halls.” What he envisioned the song to be was from the perspective of an old man sitting in a rocking chair watching everyone else decorate the house.

“[He was] just enjoying the moment and observing family, instead of being in the middle of it. I think there’s a sense of content for the elderly and older folks being able to witness the joy of children and young adults in the Christmas spirit,” he says. “It’s cool to see a piece that you arranged in the film. The reason why I did this movie -- the challenge to arrange all the music. It’s very gratifying.”

A trailer for the film set to the music of “Silent Night” and Hodges’ Christmas EP are below.