Johanna Jones rose to fame when her at-the-time boyfriend proposed to her on "American Idol." The video garnered over 35 million views within the first two weeks of being posted.
Almost a year after her appearance on "American Idol," Jones is releasing a Christmas album, titled “It’s Christmastime,” using songs that were originally written for her senior capstone project while she was attending Brigham Young University.
Jones chose to write Christmas songs because she believed it would be a challenge for her. She has been holding onto the songs for a few years and decided the 2020 holiday season would be the best time to release the songs.
“The world is a little bit crazy right now, and I think everybody needs something new and something Christmas-y to brighten their spirits,” Jones said. “That’s kind of why I decided, this year, to release them and record them the right way.”
When Jones put herself up to writing Christmas songs, it proved to be more of challenge than she thought. Working on a deadline proved to be quite the task.
Often, songwriters use experiences or stories from their lives and incorporate them into their music. With her Christmas songs, Jones worked to create a feeling more centered around the holiday by retelling the story of Christmas.
One of the things she worried about most was the ability to incorporate the story of the holiday without sounding tacky or mimicking what other artists have already done.
It was quite a lengthy process for Jones.
“I have to say, some of the songs I really pulled out last second but some of the songs were definitely a little bit more inspired, especially the ones about Christ, where I felt like I had some extra help,” Jones said.
Jones had been working on the songs featured on the album over a span of four years, she said in a statement, giving her the time she needed to perfect them.
While, during her capstone project, the songs were written and produced, they were not the quality she wanted nor up to industry standards.
“Throughout the years, I’ve just been really saving up to get these done right, working and figuring out who would be the best fit to produce them, who would understand the feeling of the songs and really just making sure timing was right,” Jones said. “If you miss your window for release with Christmas songs, you have to wait another year. This year, I wasn’t going to miss that window.”
Christmas just so happens to be Jones’ favorite holiday, another reason why she was inspired to write songs for this specific season.
It’s the time of year that brings her the most joy, Jones said.
“It’s filled with warmth, we talk about light, and I think everyone feels more loving toward each other,” Jones said. “I don’t know what there is not to love about it.”
The writing process brought her peace, and she said she hopes that the songs will bring that peace to others during the holiday season.
For Jones, her favorite holiday tradition is her family’s Christmas morning celebration. This comes complete with egg casserole, orange rolls and their special celebration to kick off the gift giving.
In addition to these traditions, Jones said she will definitely be listening to her newest album as she shares her work with others.
While Jones became most known for her appearance on "American Idol" and the proposal video that went viral, she is looking forward to possibly continuing to write Christmas songs throughout her career while pursuing her hobby and focusing on her family.
“Truthfully, if my legacy becomes someone who writes Christmas songs and releases Christmas albums, I wouldn’t be sad,” Jones said. “Maybe — every year or so — release a new Christmas song moving forward, I think that would be a pretty good legacy to leave behind.”
As for her next project, Jones said she would like to release new music, but her efforts will be locked in on a music video for one of her newest Christmas songs. Additional songs are planned to be released in the new year, as well.