The New Orleans singer/songwriter is crowd-sourcing seasonal video and photos for her new Christmas song.
The first sub-60s temperatures in months have New Orleanians reaching for sweaters and thinking of cool weather to come. That, naturally, leads to thoughts of the Christmas season, and this year the big four of holiday touring spectacles will visit New Orleans: Mannheim Steamroller (November 14), the Brian Setzer Orchestra (December 8), Trans-Siberian Orchestra (December 10), and John Waters (December 17). Each is over the top in its own way—much like Christmas—but Kelcy Wilburn of Kelcy Mae is already thinking of something more modest.
Two years ago, Wilburn wrote “Christmas with You (Merry Me),” thinking of the song as a bittersweet expression of love. She has been with her partner for four or five years, but they had yet to spend Christmas together. As she wrote on the Kelcy Mae website:
Social and legal constructs dictated that our relationship was not as equal or meaningful as that of married, straight couples, and since we didn't have that status, why stir the pot by choosing one family to visit over another or not visiting family at all?
The song started humbly—“Basically, it was just saying I want to spend the holidays with you”—and Kelcy Mae played it last Christmas season. When the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, the song took on new significance for Wilburn. With “merry/marry,” she thinks of the song as “a queer marriage proposal,” Wilburn says.
Now she is working on the video and is turning to America for help. Wilburn has shot footage of her singing the song for a music video, but she is asking people around the country gay and straight to submit Christmas photos and videos to incorporate as well. Because marriage equality passed this year, Wilburn is also interested in photos and footage from pro-marriage rallies and celebrations.
“I’m trying to focus it mostly on the LGBTQ community as a celebration of this year,” she says. “The first same sex couple to be married in Caddo Parish sent in their stuff.”
The song itself isn’t obviously gay-themed, but Wilburn believes it has elements that clearly speak first to the gay community. “It’s not very often you hear ‘marry me’ come from a female voice,” she says.
Right now, she is finishing the recording. She wants something more spare than her sound on her EP The Fire and She knows she will add strings, but Wilburn has some other arrangement decisions to make. “Still deciding between jingle bells/no jingle bells—tough choice,” Wilburn says, laughing.
Those interested in submitting media for her video may do so through her website. The deadline is Friday, October 16, and she expects to have the results before the public by early December.
“I don’t like holiday stuff before Thanksgiving, so I’ll probably wait until Thanksgiving’s over,” Wilburn says.