When it comes to the Christmas holidays, some people crave the hustle and bustle while others do their best to cope day to day. If Moncton-based singer Naomi Striemer is feeling the stress of her upcoming hectic schedule, she does a marvellous job of masking it.
When we caught up with Striemer last week, she was getting set to leave for trips to Ontario and Nashville before performing in Moncton this Sunday, ultimately preparing for what she expected would be a busy few weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays.
“In between taping my syndicated radio show and doing interviews for a number of local media outlets, I am getting ready to head off to Ontario to perform with a Philharmonic Orchestra,” Striemer excitedly says. “From there, I go to Nashville to record some material for my next non-Christmas album before coming back to Moncton for a couple of speaking engagements and my show on Sunday night.”
When talk turns to her newest release, the five-song Christmas EP, Striemer says that constantly being asked when she was planning on releasing a holiday effort added more pressure on her than her current schedule does.
“For the past three years now, I have done Christmas shows and it never failed that people would ask if I had a Christmas album available. I would typically respond by saying that I had been trying to write Christmas music but that writing Christmas music isn’t as easy as it sounds. I have always felt that everything that could be said has already been said via the Christmas songs that are out there now,” she says.
But after being asked by both her parents and fans alike if a holiday release was imminent, inspiration to finally undertake a Christmas release was partially aided by Striemer’s dog and in the most unlikely of seasons at that: summer.
“This past August, I was walking my dog and thinking about Christmas and how that time of year can be so chaotic and stressful. I called my producer in Ontario and asked his thoughts on whether doing a Christmas release was a good idea. It was then I realized that I had to sit down and write a Christmas song but instead of focusing on what hasn’t been written and trying to zone in on that, I chose to approach songwriting from a perspective of what Christmas means to me. It is where my single This Is The Time comes from. I sat down at the piano and had the song written in 20 minutes; a song three years in the making done in 20 minutes,” Striemer laughs.
Though she ended up having little more than a month to cut the EP, Striemer easily rose to the occasion of completing her mini-album in time, writing a second original track (God’s Only Son) to accompany traditional holiday songs O Holy Night, Joy To The World and It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.
“Sometimes pressure can work in your favour but to think you have to compete with songs that everyone knows and is familiar with becomes a competition that you can’t win,” Striemer says. “I discovered that you need to go into your own world, figure out what Christmas is to you and no one else and expand upon that.”
Article published in December 9, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript