Christmas songs are plentiful this time of year, but nothing gets us in our holiday feels quite like Donny Hathaway’s soulful yuletide classic “This Christmas.” Released in 1970, the song has been the gift that keeps on giving for generations of music lovers. Many have covered the song over the years, but nothing has come close to the original – until now, that is. Donny's eldest daughter Lalah Hathaway has chosen to remake “This Christmas” into a duet with her beloved father.
Lalah previously recorded a solo cover of “This Christmas” for Spotify Singles in 2017, but this new rendition is something extra special. This song not only marks the first time ever that Lalah Hathaway is singing with her father on a recording, but the world is also hearing previously unreleased Donny Hathaway vocals on this version. The Hathaway's Christmas collaboration brings to mind Natalie Cole's posthumous daddy-daughter duet with her father Nat King Cole on "Unforgettable," and it is just as stunning and heartwarming.
This updated version of “This Christmas” begins with a new intro. We hear Lalah's voice first when she sings the lyrics, "Oh, miss you most of all this Christmas," before she pauses and then shouts, "Daddy, count it off!" Donny is then heard giving a four-count before the familiar music drops in.
What follows is pure magic and the harmonious blending of two of the greatest voices in soul music. We have been waiting for this moment for a long time, and Donny and Lalah Hathaway's vocals sound even better together than we ever imagined.
The accompanying music video, directed by Lalah and Phil Beaudreau, is a touching tribute to her father. It opens with the songstress sitting at a vintage gold Fender Rhodes electric piano clad in all gold. Footage of Donny animated in sparkling gold appears above and behind her. His shimmering animated imagery at the piano and singing mirror Lalah’s throughout creating an ephemeral reunion that fills our hearts with cheer and eyes with a tear or two.
Earlier this month, Lalah took to Twitter to respectfully quip that someone needed to invite her on television to perform her daddy's record after seeing yet another weak performance on the small screen. Well, comedienne/talk show host Sherri Shepherd and her executive producer Jawn Murray heard her loud and clear and booked Lalah to world premiere "This Christmas" live on Sherri.
It was during her interview on the show – also a first for the singer – that we learned more about the new version. “This duet is real and organic. They found it in a vault. After, you know, a hundred years of saying there’s nothing in the vault,” Lalah told Sherri. “And it was this beautiful rendition of this song that had space for me. And it was like it was waiting for me,” she continued.
Lalah told Sherri that Natalie Cole actually encouraged her to pick at least one song from her father's catalog and do a duet. She could not have chosen a better one than “This Christmas.”- Advertisement -
After chatting it up with Shepherd, Hathaway then debuted the song during her first-ever live television performance with her father. The studio audience was on its feet as Lalah sang while pictures of her father filled a screen behind her on the festively decorated stage.
Whew! What a song! What a performance! What a moment! Lalah Hathaway did her thing and made her daddy proud. Watch Lalah performing her “This Christmas” duet with Donny Hathaway on Sherri below and add this version to the top of your playlists this holiday season and all those to come.- Advertisement -