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You'll find Alicia Keys' new record, 'Santa Baby,' winking under the mistletoe

Alicia Keys.
Courtesy of the artist
Alicia Keys.

The title of Alicia Keys' new, and first, holiday album – it's kind of hard to believe she hadn't released one already – is called Santa Baby, after the double-entendre-heavy Eartha Kitt single that was somewhat scandalous at the time of its release in 1953. Keys opens the new record with a cover of it, which she tells Morning Edition is one of her favorites.

Elsewhere on the record she covers Christmas staple Vince Guaraldi, explaining that her cover of "Christmas Time Is Here" is "my mixture of young Michael Jackson, meets Quincy Jones, meets Vince Guaraldi," the technically challenging "Ave Maria," John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," among other winter essentials.

Keys also penned a couple of originals for the album, which she wrote to remind listeners that "love, and this good energy that I think we all call towards us and want for the holidays, is something we can have all year-round."

She spoke to Rachel Martin about finding her own path through well-worn classics and the approach she took on her own additions to the holiday canon.

To hear this conversation, use the audio player at the top of this page.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.