"I arranged a Christmas song – I think it was for a class assignment – and I just loved what came out of it," said the songwriter/producer. "I think we did that song in chapel at Grace every year."
Now a further refinement of that song (a version of "Joy To The World") is part of his new 17-song Christmas album with guest vocals from artists all over the musical map.
The new project ("The Birth of A King") is as wide and diverse as Profitt's own career. He did all the musical arrangements and instrumentation.
"There are cinematic moments like (movie) trailer meets hip-hop," said Profitt from his Nashville area studio. "And there are other things that are just beautiful, timeless orchestral Christmas ballads."
He titles his newer "Joy" arrangement "Joy to the World 2 (He is Come)." It features vocals by Clark Beckham, the 2015 runner-up on "American Idol."
One noteworthy fact: every one of the 17 songs comes from either a traditional carol or a contemporary Christian holiday anthem. There's not a single mention of a sleigh ride or a fireplace. The official release date was Oct. 16, 2020.
PLAYING ON THE THEME
"The theme of this album is: a King is being born on earth and the angels are greeting him because he's coming to save the world. That's the most epic story you could ever tell," he said. "And it needs an equally epic soundtrack."
One of Profitt's personal song highlights: "Noel (He is Born)," the artist's take on "The First Noel" with an added chorus. "It has a classic Christmas feel but still feels new and fresh, It's universal, like a global Christmas song," he said.
Others include "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" with vocals by Kari Jobe and "O Holy Night" sung by Tauren Wells and pop music star Svrcina, a song which you may be hearing on Christian radio this holiday season. (listen to the audio online).
Profitt studied the vocal range of these artists and arranged the songs accordingly. Most of them he had worked with previously and they responded positively to his invitation to join in.
Among other Christian artists on the project, Chris Tomlin, We The Kingdom and David Crowder. There are also several mainstream artists, including Avril Lavigne.
"It has something for everybody," he said. "I wanted to bridge the gap between my 20-something video game audience and my 'Mom' audience who decorate the house and bakes cookies with the family – music that everyone can put on."
Profitt, 35, was on a musical course early in life. He made his first record album in 7th grade. The Milford, Mich. native came to West Michigan's Grace Bible College (now Grace Christian University) in suburban Wyoming to major in music theory and production. That included several worship music classes along the way.
"That's what I did for a long time around Grand Rapids, lead worship," he said of his role in several churches and for area concerts with his Tommee Profitt Band.
But his production and arranging skills led to off-stage work with major Christian artists such as Britt Nicole and Colton Dixon. He was signed by Capitol Records as a songwriter/producer and it became his full time pursuit, winning a 2016 Dove Award for his work on an album by fellow-Michigander NF (Nate Feuerstein).
COMPILING HIS CREATIVE ACITIVY
You can add the formal title of "composer" to Profitt's resume. His musical arrangements have found their way into more than 200 outlets, including movie trailers, TV shows and professional sports arenas.
He has released six albums in a "Cinematic Sounds" series.
For some reason the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) sports organization has discovered several of his anthemic scores. "Yes, they use my music for their promos or walk-in music," he said. "I don't watch UFC, but I can see why they think it's a good fit," he added of his grand, sweeping style.
A recent effort saw him collaborate on TobyMac's new musical lament "I'm Sorry." Profitt arranged, produced and co-wrote the song with Toby. (See the music video online )
His career "pause" during the COVID-months working on the Christmas album has Profitt adjusting his creative efforts.
"It's too much to keep writing and producing for everyone, as much as I want to do that," he said. "I want to continue to be NF's right hand man, but I'm gonna step back a bit and be releasing more music myself."
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