Americans might know Katherine Jenkins as the runner-up on the 2014 season of Dancing With the Stars, but the Welsh mezzo-soprano is also a unique singing talent. Although classical albums don’t tend to be huge sellers, Jenkins’ releases have sold millions of copies, and she’s earned a plethora of awards, including the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. She’s now applying her gifts to a new endeavor: creating a a Hannukah song. (She’s already released a Christmas album, so this is uncharted territory for the singer.) Billboard is exclusively premiering Jenkins’ new holiday song, “8 Nights of Joy.” Listen below.
“8 Nights of Joy” comes with a heartwarming origin story. “My husband & I chose to write a song to celebrate our first Hanukkah together as a married couple,” Jenkins tells Billboard. We wanted to write something… that celebrates the season but also explains the main messages of the festival of light in a way for everyone to understand.”
The song wasn’t only motivated by romance — Jenkins was shocked to find out that there aren’t that many Hanukkah songs, especially when compared with the extensive Christmas-song catalog. “Obviously Hanukkah is a new holiday to me, so naturally when Andrew was explaining its meaning to me, I asked about songs for the season,” she says. “When he told me there were very few Hanukkah songs, we decided to write one!”
The track was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. You can pre-order the deluxe edition of Jenkins’ Home Sweet Home here. The album comes out Jan. 27, 2015.