David talks It's Christmas with The Ottawa Citizen

December 16, 2014
David Myles

Myles to go: Halifax singer croons for Christmas

In 2012, Halifax singer/songwriter David Myles teamed up with Nova Scotia rapper Classified to record Inner Ninja. The single went quadruple platinum in Canada, won multiple awards including a Juno for rap recording of the year and inspired Myles to hire Classified as one-half of the production team on his last album In the Nighttime.

Now Myles has a new album, It’s Christmas. It includes tunes like the Bing Crosby crooner classic White Christmas, the carol Silent Night and some originals, with much of the album having a retro, jazz standards touch or a country-ish vibe.

In other words Myles, 33 years old and the father of a little girl named Maria, has pretty catholic tastes when it comes to music.

Patrick Langston talked to him about those tastes, his new album and Christmas in advance of his yuletide show at the NAC Studio Dec. 18 and 19.

Q. Where does this album sit in the Myles discography?

A. In some ways this is like a watershed record. It allowed me to explore a couple of things I’ve always wanted to, and one is singing other people’s classic songs. (Also) I have a real affinity for jazz standards, and these Christmas songs, the really big ones, are in essence jazz standards.

Q. You’ve reinterpreted some of the older songs, songs like Sleigh Ride, but you’ve done White Christmas in traditional crooner fashion. Why?

A. It was fun to get into that because you can croon a little bit; in fact, you feel like you have to — they’re not songs to be rushed. I wanted to strip (White Christmas) down because it’s always orchestrated and really big, so we thought why not make it like it this quiet country moment, like Jim Reeves – a country crooner. It was nice to go, “I don’t need to rush this song; let’s just take it easy and sing it.”

Q. The Gift is one of your own songs about a guy who never had time for family or friends at Christmas because he was too busy and now he has nothing. Where did that song come from?

A. The reality is it’s the song that’s probably most close to home. I’ve had one day off since October, which is great, but especially when you have a family you start thinking about how much work is too much. The song is about losing sight of the important things, and that’s the core message of the song and the album: that Christmas is a time to re-evaluate what’s important to you.

Q. You’re on the road right now, so is your own home ready for Christmas?

A. I wish I could say for sure. I was talking to my wife last night, and the Christmas tree is up, and I’m pretty sure it’s decorated. My daughter was totalling losing her mind on the phone telling me about the tree. I’m excited to get home and do some trimming myself.

Q. What will Christmas be like for you and your family?

A. It’s going to be our first Christmas as a family unto ourselves. My parents are going out west so we won’t be going to Fredericton which is what we often do, and my mother-in-law has come over from Norway. I think on Christmas Eve we’ll have fondue because my wife’s family is Swiss, and if we combine that with my family’s Christmas tradition of the richest seafood chowder ever, it’ll be a lot of rich dairy.

Q. What about Christmas shopping: are you skilled at it?

A. I’m terrible, I’m the worst. I over-represent the (male) stereotype. Thankfully, we keep it pretty minimal so there’s no expectations – or my wife may have just given up on me.


When: Dec. 18 and 19, 8 p.m.

Where: NAC Studio

Tickets: NAC box office, 1-888-991-2787, ticketmaster.ca

by Patrick Langston, Ottawa Citizen