Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive linemen Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata may not look like Santa’s little helpers, but they’ve got as much Christmas spirit as anybody at the North Pole.
The trio spent their free time over the summer recording a Christmas album — aptly named “A Philly Special Christmas” — to benefit the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center in Philadelphia. Oh, and to make lots of people smile.
“We are first and foremost having fun. We are celebrating Philadelphia. We are celebrating friendship. We are celebrating Christmas,” said Charlie Hall, drummer for the band The War on Drugs, who produced the album, in a minidocumentary about the music.
Kelce was the instigator for the unique project, but quickly got more people involved, including a vocal coach.
“I had an idea that doing a Christmas album would be great. The problem is that I can’t sing, so I knew I was going to have to coax guys that could sing to come do this,” Kelce said in the minidoc.
Kelce, Johnson and Mailata do most of the singing on the album, but they invited other Eagles, including quarterback Jalen Hurts, to make guest appearances.
Ahead of the release of the full album on Dec. 23, the brain trust behind “A Philly Special Christmas” is releasing a new single every Friday.
So far, they’ve shared their take on “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home.)” “All Your Christmas Wishes Come True” will be released this week.
Here are three reasons why you should be tuning in, even if you’re not a Philadelphia Eagles fan:
Jordan Mailata is an amazing singer.
As Kelce noted, the Christmas album wouldn’t have been possible if none of his teammates could sing. But some of them can. Really well.
Mailata, in particular, is a star. It’s as if he stumbled off a stage onto a football field as a teenager and then forgot where he came from.
“I think Jordan’s just playing football to launch his singing career. I think some people choose ‘American Idol’ as their start, but he was like, ‘I’m going to maybe ... play left tackle and then go into singing,’ I think it’s actually genius,” Kelce said in the documentary.
Hall, who comes from the world of music rather than the world of football, also praised Mailata.
“I can’t believe he plays football. ... He can really sing,” he said.
The album benefits people in need.
Although songs from “A Philly Special Christmas” are available for free online, associated merchandise is for sale on the album website.
All proceeds will benefit young people in the Philadelphia area rather than the players-turned-singers or their team.
“The album will be released by Vera Y Records, with all proceeds going to Philadelphia’s Children’s Crisis Treatment Center to fund a holiday toy drive,” Sporting News reported.
The website for “A Philly Special Christmas” shows that the album and a Christmas bundle, which includes the album, greetings cards and magnets, are already sold out. But you can still support the cause by buying the cards and magnets on their own.
It’s impossible to listen without smiling.
If you’re not a professional singer, it can be uncomfortable to perform for others. But Kelce, Johnson and Mailata are clearly used to being in the spotlight on the football field — and don’t take themselves too seriously.
The minidocumentary about the making of “A Philly Special Christmas” shows the trio goofing around and laughing in the recording studio. Their joy infuses the songs that have been released so far.
“This record was born out of friendship and a love of Philadelphia. We wanted to create something special that would bring people together during the holidays. May you listen to this record with your family and friends, and feel the same joy and happiness we felt making it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,” the album website says.