The ultimate seasonal soundtrack – chosen this year by Natalie Maddix of House Gospel Choir
If you thought Santa was busy at this time of year, spare a thought for House Gospel Choir. Playing four landmark end-of-the-year parties throughout December – with up to 150 band members taking to stages in London, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow – the HGC is bringing the club and the church together for a Christmas party they can take on the road.
“We’ve never attempted to do a tour at Christmas time before,” laughs choir founder Natalie Maddix. “But it feels like the perfect year to do it. This is the 10th Christmas of House Gospel Choir and it’ll be our biggest London show yet. So it just felt right to get out across the country and meet some of the people that have been supporting us over the last few years.”
And what a last few years they’ve had. Glastonbury, V Festival, Bestival and Lovebox beckoned, as did Ibiza, Singapore and Jessie Ware’s wedding. They sang with Loyle Carner at the Mercury Music Prize Awards; joined Emeli Sandé for Channel 4’s Stand Up To Cancer; headlined Hyde Park with Kylie; and performed with Beverley Knight, Gregory Porter and Tom Jones. There’s also an album in the works.
First though, Christmas. We asked Maddix to pick the songs for our 2023 Alternative Christmas Playlist – and she didn’t have to think too about what to include. “I did this thinking about the Christmases in my house growing up,” she says. “From the minute people wake up in our house at Christmas, the music goes on. And it stays on pretty much until EastEnders. So I would like people to be able to cook and clean and just have a good time with their family to this music.”
Rounding out a year that’s seen divisions growing all over the world, Maddix is also keen for her playlist to represent the message at the heart of the Gospel House Choir – now more important than ever. “The name of the tour is ‘Love Is The Message’, and that about sums it up for me. The way the world is at the moment, it’s quite hard to see where the love comes from. But I have a strong belief that love conquers everything. If we can find it in ourselves to love ourselves and each other, 2024 will be a really great year. It’s interesting that those are the founding tenants of rave culture and dance music, as well as mirroring what you find in the Gospel. So there has to be some universal truth in that.”
Here then, from Gospel House Choir, is the perfect Christmas playlist: from gospel to garage, Jim Reeves to East 17, and Guinness punch to Prosecco…