Tate McRae, Ari Lennox, IDK and More Light Up Apple Music’s 2021 ‘Carols Covered’ Playlist

Carols Covered
Courtesy Apple Music

Apple Music has released an expanded, exclusive holiday collection with its second annual “Carols Covered” playlist, available in Spatial Audio. The playlist will launch with 15 songs November 19, and then an additional 10 from artists around the world will be added in the following weeks — available for just 90 days.

The tracklist and artist quotes are below; participating artists are: Ari Lennox, Eden Prince x Karen Harding, Eslabon Armando, Gabby Barrett, Griff,  IDK, Jay Wheeler, Joy Oladokun, Karen Harding, Shenseea, Sofi Tukker, Tai Verdes, Tate McRae, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Tauren Wells, Wolf Alice, and international artists  Angus & Julia Stone, Barbara Pravi, Danna Paola, Dermot Kennedy, Esther Graf, JP Saxe, Omah Lay, Tia Ray, Urakami Souki, and Zivert f. LYRIQ.

Ari Lennox “My Favorite Things”

Eden Prince x Karen Harding “Last Christmas”

Eslabon Armando “Navidad Sin Ti”

Gabby Barrett “Silent Night”

Griff “O Come All Ye Faithful”

IDK “Dark Christmas”

Jay Wheeler “Me Voy a Regalar”

Joy Oladokun “Jingle Bells”

Shenseea “Hallelujah”

Sofi Tukker “What A Wonderful World”

Tai Verdes “This Christmas”

Tasha Cobbs Leonard “The First Noel”

Tate McRae “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

Tauren Wells “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”

Wolf Alice “In The Bleak Midwinter”

***International Tracks***

Angus & Julia Stone “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” (Australia)

Barbara Pravi “Ave Maria” (France)

Danna Paola “Last Christmas” (Mexico)

Dermot Kennedy “Driving Home For Christmas” (Ireland)

Esther Graf “Merry Christmas Everyone” (Germany)

JP Saxe “River” (Canada)

Omah Lay “Winter Wonderland / Don’t Worry Be Happy” (Africa)

Tia Ray “Grown Up Christmas List” (China)

Urakami Souki “White Christmas” (Japan)

Zivert f. LYRIQ “Zima” (Russia)


Ari Lennox on why she covered “My Favorite Things” 

“I really love the movie Sound of Music. The original version of this song really spoke to me because Julie Andrews is a phenomenal, beautiful singer. Her tone is crazy, and I just wanted to do my own version.”

Eden Prince on why he loves “Last Christmas”

“The original version of this song is such a classic, but I’ve always seen it as quite a sad love song. So I wanted to try portraying it in a way that reflects that sadnes. As a dance music producer, my vision for this cover was to create something that was upbeat, but melancholic and quite reflective musically, bringing out what I love about the original and presenting it in a slightly different way.”

Eslabon Armado on why he loves “Navidad Sin Ti”

“it’s a good regional Mexican song for a Christmas type vibe and I used to listen to it every day on the radio when I was small. The original version, it’s very vibe-y. It has different instruments that you don’t really see or use today, nowadays. And it’s very original, and the voices are clean.”

Gabby Barrett on “Silent Night” being one of her all-time favorite Christmas songs

“I think it is so beautifully lyrically written, a song that talks about a calm, silent night, and expressing the wonders of a newborn child, our Lord being born. And so I think it’s just beautiful in every way, and I’m excited to have everybody hear it.”

Griff on the nostalgia around “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful”

“I grew up in church, so as fun as all the other Christmas songs are, I think it’s important to bring it back to what Christmas has always meant for me. I think the melodies in these kinds of old traditional songs are so beautiful, and they’re made to be sung by lots of people. So I didn’t want to over-complicate it too much.

IDK on “Dark Christmas” 

“Originally, it was going to be on my album, “Is He Real?” but I never ended up putting it on there… But I always wanted to release it as a holiday record. I never really had the opportunity, so me putting this together was my depiction of what I would call a “Black Christmas” in a Black household where things may not seem, well, may not be as perfect as they may seem in other households. It’s my reality of comparing what was taught and shown to me through TV and all these other things about Christmas and what my reality of Christmas was.”

Jay Wheeler on why he picked “Me Voy a Regalar”

“It’s a classic I’ve been listening to every Christmas in Puerto Rico since I was a little kid. Also, Marc Anthony is one of my  favorite artists. The original song really touches me. Although they are different genres, I think it is a very beautiful song, it goes along the same lines, with a lot of feeling, and my singing is all about love and feeling.”

Joy Oladokun on covering “Jingle Bells”

“It’s a cool representative of Christmas time that doesn’t necessarily have any religious or spiritual undertones. It’s literally just about the sounds and the vibe of the season. Christmas is a time consistently where even if life is hard, there’s still this sense of unity and goodwill in the air.”

Karen Harding on “Last Christmas” being one of her favorite Christmas songs

“It’s the way that it, like, chugs along, and it has the bells in the background. And obviously, I absolutely adore George Michael. He’s a big inspiration on my music. So, yeah. I love this song, and I hope that you like the version that we did.”

Shenseea on why she loves “Hallelujah”

“What strikes me from the original version is that, to me, it’s a prayer. I’m always praying and I’m always giving praises. I thank God every single day. I give gratitude. I acknowledge Jesus just for blessing me with the voice that I have. each stanza is making a confession or telling a story or a testimony.”

Sofi Tukker on what makes “What a Wonderful World” a perfect song

“Louis Armstrong is a genius. He sings it so beautifully. I think it’s important to always remind ourselves that there are beautiful things in the world, and it is a beautiful world, even in times that are very difficult. We have always strived to be a very positive band in terms of the messaging that we have in our music, but it is really difficult to write lyrics that are both positive and not cliche. And I think this song is the perfect example of a song that just rides that line just perfectly and it’s not cliche. It’s just wonderful.”

Tai Verdes on what memories “This Christmas” brings for him

“…the Donnie Hathaway version is what I would listen to transport myself into the mood of Christmastime every single time that I wanted to be in that mood. This song brings up the holiday memory of me opening my first present, not even opening the first present, just seeing the presents under the tree. Sometimes, there were more, sometimes there were less, but it was always excitement when I saw those presents.”

Tasha Cobbs Leonard on “The First Noel” 

“This song kind of brings up a holiday memory. When I was younger, my aunt would take a group of kids from our church. So it was our youth ministry, honestly. And we would go caroling from house to house. You don’t see that that often now, but this kind of takes me back to that memory of caroling from house to house.”

Tate McRae on the nostalgia that “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” brings

“this song reminds me of warmth and movies and everything I love about the holidays, being with your friends and family. And I wanted to try and recreate that with my own rendition. I feel like I couldn’t recreate a classic Christmas song. I just wanted to put my own spin on it.”

Tauren Wells on his version of “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”

“I love the groove of the song. You can tell that the guys in NSYNC were just having a lot of fun with it. But we slowed it down in my version a little bit, changed the pocket up a little bit, so you really feel of groove to it. I love music that has that pocket, that groove and rhythm to it that just gets you moving, gets your head bobbing, and really gets you in the feeling for the season.”

Wolf Alice on putting a modern slant on “The Bleak Midwinter”

“It’s a really beautiful, haunting melody that all four of us enjoy and all four of us thought we could interpret in our own way, and spoke to us in that sense. It’s not maybe the first thing that people think of when you think of a carol. It’s quite pastoral and quite English in a way, which is quite nice. I think we’ve Wolf Aliced the hymn basically.