Alannah McCready Releases Her Version of “The Christmas Song”
Growing up in Minnesota and getting her first pair of skates at the age of three, it was inevitable that Alannah McCready was going to become a hockey star. “It’s called the state of hockey for a reason,” she notes. The Minneapolis native discovered her expertise as a hockey goalie at skating camp at the age of 10 when she stopped all but two shots from entering the net, proudly telling her father, “I think I might be good at that.” But it was her mother who imprinted her with a love of country music that she grew up on in Oklahoma, the young McCready learning how to sing by watching the techniques of Trisha Yearwood and Martina McBride. “These individuals exemplified who I wanted to be, and that’s when I knew what I wanted to do,” McCready praises of the country icons. In between rounds on the ice, she spent her childhood days offering free concerts to her family, her mother often finding her four-year-old daughter in the bathroom at weddings entertaining the guests. “Everything was a song. When I was talking, I would just start singing what I was talking,” McCready describes of making every moment a musical one, a habit she admittedly has yet to break.
Grew up near Minneapolis, Minnesota, listening to a diverse range of music. Can you share a favorite memory of listening to music with your family during the holidays?
I come from a music-loving family on both my mom’s side and my dad’s side! So many of my favorite memories from Christmas are all of us sitting in the living room with the fire going, drinking hot chocolate, and listening and singing along with our favorite holiday songs.
Attended the University of Madison, Wisconsin, on a full athletic scholarship for women’s hockey (two-time NCAA national champion). How have you carried your can-do attitude and confidence from the ice rink into your music?
I am so thankful for all of the mental and physical tools that I developed from playing hockey at such a high level. As an independent artist, it can sometimes be hard to find the motivation and keep a “schedule” when you are not working a 9–5. I am so lucky to have developed a strong work ethic and sense of determination from many years of pushing myself to the next level and staying mentally strong while on the ice. That experience has served me well in the music industry because we all know how much of a roller coaster this industry can be!
After graduating college, you went to New York to work in public relations for a sports management company. What are some of the best takeaways from this position that you now use to market yourself as an independent artist?
My years of running the day-to-day lives and social media of professional athletes gave me many tools that I use in my own career, whether it be interview etiquette, my social media skills, or even just knowing how to best promote my brand and my music.
Moving to Atlanta in 2013. You’ve shared that the city helped you start over and fall back in love with your music. In February of this year, you relocated to Nashville. One of the highlights has been performing as a Nashvillian on the Whiskey Jam stage at the Winners Bar Nashville. How has that experience inspired you as a pop-country artist?
I am so grateful to Nashville for welcoming me with such open arms! I love the camaraderie that other artists have for each other here. I am so lucky to have already met so many awesome colleagues and friends. Since moving in February, all of my experiences have been so positive and confirmed that Nashville is the best place for me and my music.
“Sings 2000’s hip hop in spare time.” What are some of your favorite artists from the genre?
“Something Like That.” Released this past winter, the single, co-written with Will Gittens, is about what you want in a relationship versus what you’ve had. Did you go into the writing session with lyrics in mind?
We actually didn’t! We were in the session, and Will was playing something silly on the guitar, and we laughed, and he said, “yeah, or something like that,” and it was sort of a lightbulb moment. We were immediately like, “that’s the title,” haha. Then it turned into a kind of deep dive into what people think they need in relationships versus what really is important. I am at a point in my life where if someone can’t offer me simple things like being honest, being kind to me, and spending time with me, then it probably isn’t going to work out.
“The Christmas Song” … is one of my favorite holiday songs, so I decided to release my own version of it this year. This song brings me joy whenever I hear it because I am instantly reminded of holiday moments with my loved ones over the years. My family loves to spend Christmas singing our favorite classic Christmas songs. So I hope my version brings you joy this holiday season as well!” Which Christmas songs top your holiday playlist?
Well, definitely “The Christmas Song.” I am so happy I was finally able to release a cover of it! My other holiday favorites are “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” “Santa Baby,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” and “White Christmas.”
Tell us about your dog Zoe! What kind of dog is she, and how long have you had her?
My baby, haha! Zoe is a miniature Australian shepherd. She is eight years old, and I have had her since she was six weeks old! She is my sidekick and best friend!
Upcoming EP will be released in early 2022. What can fans expect to hear on the release?
I think this EP is the most vulnerable and relatable music I have ever written. There is a little bit of everything from an upbeat girl-power anthem to something very sad and introspective. Then, of course, there is a lighthearted love song and a duet with Will Gittens. I am so proud of this project, and I absolutely cannot wait for everyone to hear it!
singer/songwriter | alannah mccready
Alannah McCready has made a lifelong habit out of pouring her heart and soul into every task she puts her mind to…