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Daniel O’Donnell: ‘My friend Marc Roberts’ Christmas song will bring joy to families’

There’s a real warmth when you think of Christmas and Marc brings in to life in this lovely Christmas song that he’s written.

Marc Roberts

Daniel O'DonnellSunday World

To have a song that will be part of people’s family festivities every Christmas is the dream of many songwriters and for my long-time friend Marc Roberts that dream has now become a reality.

Marc this weekend released his very first original Christmas song,

It’s Christmas Time, and it has gone straight to Number One in the all-genre iTunes chart.

He shot to the top of the chart ahead of the likes of Elton John & Ed Sheeran, Dermot Kennedy and Madonna. So you can imagine his big smile when he checked the charts.

Many years ago Marc encouraged me to co-write with him and it was a really rewarding experience when we did end up composing several songs together.

Marc normally writes while strumming a guitar, but he says that the Christmas song came to him while he was tinkling on a piano.

He tells me: “I didn’t sit down to write a Christmas song, but when I sat down and played the first couple of chords on the piano I got the line, ‘Everyone is counting the hours for Christmas Day to arrive…’, and from that it literally wrote itself in about 20 minutes because it was a case of being in the moment.

“And then when I decided that it was going to be a Christmas song I wanted to get all of the older values of Christmas that we would have had as kids.

"All the images of snowflakes, chestnuts, choirs, family, friends…all those things that make you feel warm.”

Marc, who came second in the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest – the last time we came close to winning - says that what he loves about Christmas is that no matter where he is in the world, he always returns to his native Crossmolina, Co Mayo, for that special few days in the year.

“For me, it’s always been about family,” Marc says. “I return to my mother and father in Crossmolina, I visit my relations in the little parish of Eskeragh, outside Crossmolina, on Christmas Eve and sing in their local church.

"And then every Christmas morning I sing in Crossmolina in Mass and it’s lovely to be a part of that local community gathering.

"You meet people that you might not have seen all year, and often friends that have returned from abroad.

“I love Christmas for that reason.

"You can be doing anything for the whole year, you can be any place on the planet and still on that particular morning you are a kid again. In the song I wanted that feeling that we had as kids of what Christmas is really like.”

There’s a real warmth when you think of Christmas and Marc brings in to life in this lovely Christmas song that he’s written. “I didn’t want the song to be brash and commercial,” Marc says. “I did want it to be warm and probably a little bit sentimental.”

It’s Christmas Time was produced by Grammy-nominated Irish producer Billy Farrell, who has worked with groups and singers such as The Corrs and Brian Kennedy.

However, when a songwriter puts a song out into the world it becomes everybody’s else’s song.

It no longer belongs to the singer songwriter, and judging by it’s instant success many people are making Marc’s song their own this Christmas.

Topping the charts with It’s Christmas Time is the icing on the cake after a great year for Marc, who is also one of the top presenters on Galway Bay FM radio.

After the couple of years of lockdown, Marc returned to touring his award-winning show, A Tribute to the Music of John Denver.

It’s Christmas Time by Marc Roberts is now available on all digital platforms and to request from your local radio station.

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