Local songwriters JIM COZENS and GAVIN THOMAS are making a bid for this year's Christmas No 1 spot with their brand new Christmas song “Here’s to the Spirit of Christmas”. Their friendship and musical collaboration goes back many years. “We first met in Guildford back in the 1980s” says Jim. “We were both in bands, neither of which lasted, but we kept in touch.” Fast forward to 2014 when Jim was returning to England after working in the USA, and Gavin was playing regular solo gigs, and running a critically acclaimed Open Mic Night. “I heard Jim was back in the country, and I invited him to come and play a set at one of the GT Sessions at The King's Head.” Gavin explains. “We have a large number of extraordinarily talented local singers and songwriters who play regularly on a Thursday night, and I knew that Jim would fit right in.”
And indeed he did.
“I was inspired by the musicianship and creative chemistry at these live music nights, and was keen to work with Gavin on some new songs.” said Jim. “The Christmas idea just popped into my head, and I found myself in Spain sitting on a sun-drenched terrace writing about snow.”
Jim and Gavin worked on the song together over the summer, recording it at a small studio in Godalming with young producer Seán Anderson, and a host of local singers helping with the chorus harmonies. "I’m absolutely delighted with the way it turned out.” says Gavin. “It’s often difficult to keep the spark and spontaneity when you get into the recording process. But the song just got better and better, and more and more fun to work on.”
The final part of the creative process was to make a video. Jim and Gavin recruited veteran BBC cameraman Andy Lee to help them light and shoot it. “Andy was terrific.” says Jim. “He took my visual ideas and made them fabulous. Our very generous neighbours gave us the use of their barn for an evening, so we found a Christmas tree, filled it with twinkly lights, fired up the band and rolled the camera.” (Watch the video here.)
And now it’s all to play for.
The song is ready for downloading and streaming through all reputable sites, and the video is up on YouTube. Promo CDs have been delivered to the radio stations and the record is registered for the UK charts. But will it get there?
“All it needs now is attention. This is a Christmas record completely home made in Surrey.” says Jim. “We don’t have the budget to compete with the major labels, but we have huge faith in this project and, let's face it, stranger things have happened.”
They have indeed ... and why not this Christmas?
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