Deck the Halls and Coffee Tables

Our holiday issue is hitting mailboxes this week, and I hope the community likes its present!This issue features a voice (and a face) I’ve grown up humming with — Michael McLean. I first hinted about this interview here and here, and then I let the cat out of the stocking here. It’s hard to contain my excitement about meeting the man who created the soundtrack to my growing up years in Idaho and Utah. Let’s just say “I see a diamond” when it comes to Michael McLean! I’ve purchased my Christmas spirit several years in a row by seeing his “Forgotten Carols” in both states.My favorite parts of the interview are in the printed version, but there were other tidbits that didn’t make it into the word count. For example, he told of a BYU comedy troupe doing an impersonation of him years ago. The Michael “stand-in” wore big glasses and a curly wig and asked the audience which of his songs was their favorite. When they couldn’t decide, the fake “Michael” strummed up and down the piano keys and said, “Yeah, my songs all sound the same to me, too.”I will admit I laughed at the story, but I immediately worried Michael would be offended. He said at first that joke didn’t sit well with him — he works so hard to create unique music. But then he said in a way he HAS spent his life rewriting his first big hit, “You’re Not Alone.” His songs teach that we can get through the ups and downs of life with help from above.This interview was one of my all-time favorites in the 10-plus years of Utah Valley Magazine. And it’s not just because he made me laugh. Or that he gave me a signed copy of his new children’s book. Or that he forced me to take Peanut M&Ms “for the road.” I loved this interview because Michael is real. He brought up the depression he has battled. He admitted having insecurities. We adjusted the photo shoot time to accommodate housecleaning and his mother’s dentist appointment. He is not trying to put on a perfect facade. He just happens to be extremely talented and willing to share his notes with the rest of us. Yep, we’re not alone — or forgotten. Thanks, Michael, for reminding us about the age-old meaning of Christmas!