Release date: October 2010
Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You is the third studio album, and first holiday themed album from American Idol season five runner-up Katharine McPhee. The album was released on October 12, 2010. The album features mostly covers, and one original song, "It's Not Christmas Without You". The album debuted at #11 on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart and sold 1,000 copies in its first week. As of December 8, 2010 the album has sold 14,000 copies.
McPhee began recording the album in Los Angeles, in July 2010. "Christmas really is my favorite time of year," says McPhee. "It takes a little imagination to be recording in the summer, but I don't need a ton of Christmas lights in the studio to inspire me. I know these songs so well. These are the songs I listened to growing up. Hopefully my versions will be unique, but at the same time timeless; full and rich yet simple and intimate."
The idea for this holiday album came about after the success of her first Christmas single, "I'll Be Home For Christmas," which was released last year. The song was a huge hit, downloaded over 500,000 times exclusively on iTunes. "I've been blessed to share Christmas with my family and close friends. Life on the road has made me realize how many people spend Christmas alone. When visiting military hospitals or even meeting fellow travelers working during the holidays, it made me reflect on how hard it can be to celebrate anything when you're away from those you love. These experiences inspired me to write an original song for the album called 'It's Not Christmas Without You.'"
The producer of the album is Allen Sides, one of the most respected engineer/producers in music. A two-time Grammy winner for albums with Burt Bacharach and Joni Mitchell, Sides has also worked with Eric Clapton, Alanis Morrisette, Faith Hill, Mary J. Blige, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald.
Co-producing the album is Grammy nominated producer/engineer/ arranger Steven Miller who has worked with the Dave Matthews Band, Pink, Suzanne Vega and George Winston to name a few.
The title track of the CD, "Christmas Is The Time…To Say I Love You," is a rarely covered song originally recorded by rocker Billy Squier in 1981. The album is also be filled with familiar classics, whether traditional or contemporary, from "O Holy Night" and "This Christmas" to a medley of "Away In A Manger"/"O Little Town Of Bethlehem" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" featuring trumpeter Chris Botti.