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Singer Liam Forde toasts Kay Thompson with his own rousing arrangement of “The Holiday Season”

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Liam Forde
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Liam Forde

On this episode of AOS, WBGO producer Trevor Smith chats with singer Liam Forde who is toasting Kay Thompson with his own arrangement of "The Holiday Season."

It’s Christmastime in the city. During the season, one thinks of silver bells, busy sidewalks filled with shoppers, and the wonderful music. One of the musical gifts that New York brings to the world is its remarkable Cabaret scene — where the worlds of theater and nightclub music collide.

“A lot of Broadway actors would do their Broadway show and then go to their nightclub act after.” says Liam Forde, an award-winning vocalist and actor who has firmly established himself as one of the most delightful and daringly creative Cabaret performers of his generation. His lively and joyous performances and recordings are reminiscent of one of his heroes – vocalist, songwriter, and author of the Eloise book series: Kay Thompson.

Thompson emerged as a radio star in the 1930s with wild and entertaining vocal arrangements that landed her a gig at MGM as the head of the vocal department. One of Kay’s most memorable songs is “The Holiday Season”, best known as the later half of a medley with “Happy Holidays”, recorded by Andy Williams.

Liam toasts Kay Thompson with his own rousing arrangement of “The Holiday Season”, which features pianist Billy Stritch, known for his longtime association with Liza Minelli — Thompson’s goddaughter. It’s a romp that would be fitting for both a packed New York City nightclub, or a Christmas party, as Liam imagined.

“I think what I'm proudest of with this single is that it just sounds so unapologetically warm,” says Forde. “It just has this old fashioned joy that feels so true to me. Old fashioned Christmas party vibes.”

“The Holiday Season” — the single from Cabaret performer and vocalist Liam Forde is out now.

Trevor has been listening to WBGO for nearly half of his life. The station has remained near and dear from the first time he tuned in via a portable radio on a bus from his home city of Hartford to New York.