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LOS ANGELES (AP) — There isn’t much Cher hasn’t done in her career. She’s achieved EGOT status, she’s the only artist to have a No. 1 song in each of the past six decades — heck, she’s got her own gelato business, Cherlato. But a Christmas album? That’s new territory.
So, why now?
“I just didn’t want to do one,” she told The Associated Press. “I didn’t know how I was going to make it a ‘Cher Christmas album.’”
The secret, of course, was to lean into the incredible eclecticism of her career, all while avoiding the sleepy, saccharine pitfalls of a “Silent Night” -heavy holiday release.
Her first new album in five years, the appropriately titled “Christmas,” releases Friday. In some ways, it required Cher to find her voice again. She hadn’t sang since a March 12, 2020, performance in Oklahoma City was canceled when a Utah Jazz basketball player tested positive for the coronavirus.
So she called up her vocal teacher, “Adrienne Angel, who’s 96, who came out and hung with me and we worked every day.”
On “Christmas,” Cher enlists an all-star list of collaborators. There’s Cyndi Lauper on “Put A Little Holiday In Your Heart,” Stevie Wonder on “What Christmas Means to Me,” Darlene Love on “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home),” Michael Bublé on “Home,” and even the rapper Tyga on “Drop Top Sleigh Ride” — you read that last one correctly.
But working with others in this way is something she says she’s never done before. When you’re Cher, do you really need a featured voice?
“Well, with Darlene, I wasn’t going to sing her song without her,” she says of the song they first sang together 60 years ago on “A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector.”
“Christmas” is dedicated to Cher’s late mother, Georgia Holt, who died just before the holidays last year. But don’t mistake this album as therapy — the act of reclaiming Christmas in the face of loss, or a way to memorialize Holt.