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Skylar Laine got into the holiday spirit with Christmas carols and a new song when the American Idol Season 11 finalist flipped the switch Friday night lighting up the Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn.
Laine, who appeared with several young patients from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, sang holiday standards such as “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland” and a song widely associated with Elvis Presley, “Blue Christmas.”
“I can’t get as low as Elvis, but I’m going to do my best,” the congenial vocalist told a spirited audience.
She praised the King’s vocal style in an interview before the performance.
“Elvis is amazing, not just for his Christmas music but for all his music, because of the way he sings and the vibrato that he has in his voice … nobody else has that. It’s something unique,” she told WREG News 3.
The Brandon, Miss. native also talked about her debut CD, which she said is not moving forward as quickly as other Idol contestants’ albums.
“It’s going a little bit slower, but we’re working toward it,” she said.
The fifth-place finalist unveiled one of her new songs, “Settle Down,” at the ceremony. Laine co-wrote the tune with Chris Destefano, who has written for Idol alums including Carrie Underwood (“Good Girl”); Kris Allen (Shut That Door (And Keep That Devil Out)” and “Turn the Pages”); David Cook (“This Is Not the Last Time”); and Haley Reinhart (“Now That You’re Here”). She also collaborated on the track with Anne Preven, who has written for Madonna, Natalie Imbruglia (“Torn”), Demi Lovato, Jordin Sparks (“Battlefield”), Adam Lambert,Taylor Hicks, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus.
With the lyrics, “my cousin’s on her second baby/and my ex is on his second wife,” the song centers on a protagonist torn between dreams and familial expectations.
“It’s about going off from your home town and your parents want you to settle down, but you know one day you’ll come back,” she told the crowd.
Laine is signed with 19 Management and has been working with several Nashville-based songwriters, including Nathan Chapman, Brett James, Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey, Jeremy Stover and Chris Tompkins.
Watch video of Laine at Graceland, including her performances of “Settle Down,” “Blue Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland,” below.
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