“This dream of writing Christmas music was something I had literally in my mind and in my heart since I was a child” Elizabeth chan, a songwriter known for his Christmas music catalog, tells Yahoo Life. “Even when I think about it now, I cry because it’s just something that has always been a part of who I was. When I was a kid I used to say how much I wanted to write Christmas music or how much I loved Christmas music. It was cute. And when I grew up it started to be, what are you talking about? It never went away, this idea that I could write Christmas music, this need to write Christmas music – it never left my mind or my soul. And it was always something that was in my heart.
Chan may be the reigning queen of Christmas music now, but it was quite the road to get there. Although the musician owns several Christmas albums and holiday songs that have appeared in movies, television and commercials, she tells Yahoo Life that her life was once “like everyone else.”
“I had a regular job,” explains the former marketing manager. “I had a boss. I had a 9 to 5. I showed up at a desk. I have worked very diligently. I was the first in the office, I was the last to leave sometimes. I ate all my meals at the office. I brushed my teeth, lay down and start over. “
As a child of immigrant parents, she was told that markers of success, like financial stability and raising a family, couldn’t come with the lifestyle of a musician. Confident that her parents knew what was best, Chan reflected on her corporate career. Then, in 2011, something changed: Chan’s stressful lifestyle led to heart problems and shingles, and she wondered if that was all life had to offer.
“I had this revelation where I realized I had spent all these years rinsing and repeating, doing the same thing,” she says. “I felt like something was missing.”
Chan found this missing piece as he looked back on a constant in his life: his passion for Christmas music.
“I started to imagine what my life would be like in five years,” says Chan. “If I wrote Christmas music, what could I see that could change my life? I know it sounds so silly, but I really sat down and wrote this vision statement about what happiness looks like and how I can achieve it. And that’s when I really didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew I had a vision. I knew my heart had never escaped wanting to write Christmas music.
Chan quit his job and put his energy into recording Christmas music, but it wasn’t easy. She says it took several years for her music career to take off – and they were the “hardest” of her life.
“There were days when I didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills because I had used up my savings. My husband and I ate dollar pizzas, ”she explains. “Every penny I had, I put back to writing music, recording music back then.”
Her dream led to arguments between her and her husband, who stressed that he had not “married a musician”. Chan says he’s right; she wasn’t a musician when they met, but she become a. Still, she wasn’t sure there was a “place” for her in the industry.
“I really didn’t get to the point where I was sure I was doing the right thing for maybe three years after the start of my journey,” she says. “It’s been three long and difficult years.”
Now with several albums to his credit – including his most recent, appropriately titled Christmas queen – Chan has more than found his place in the industry. She even qualified for a Grammy nomination in the spoken word category.
“The biggest lesson I’ve ever learned is that if you really love something, don’t give up because the minute you give up, the magic stops happening,” she said. “It’s not easy to pursue your dream, but there is magic.”
—Video produced by Jacquie Cosgrove.
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