Adrian Younge has carved out an enviable niche in the underground music community. A producer, composer, Linear Labs studio head and co-owner, with his wife Sherry Younge, of the combination hair salon and record store Artform Studio in Highland Park, the artist is best known of late for work on the stellar score to the Netflix/Marvel series “Luke Cage.”
Over the years the versatile Younge has collaborated with artists including Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, Kendrick Lamar, Bilal, Schoolboy Q and Snoop Dog. Perhaps more impressive, he also knows how to rock a Christmas song, which The Times is premiering.
The song, called “The Saddest Christmas Tree,” is taken from the forthcoming collection “Christmas Soul.” Produced exclusively for Amazon Music — they’re calling the compilation “an Amazon Original playlist” -- the release features new and reworked holiday-themed music by artists including rapper-producers Blu & Exile, Los Angeles Afro-Latin funk band Jungle Fire, Chicagoan-in-L.A. rapper Open Mike Eagle, the soulful crooner Nicole Adkins and R&B experimenter Dawn Richard (who covers Prince’s “Another Lonely Christmas”).
Younge’s original song draws on the “A Charlie Brown Christmas” vibe of Vince Guaraldi’s classic score, but extends it into the realm of the mystical through the voices of Brooke deRosa and Rebecca Engelhardt, a.k.a. Voices of Gemma.
“We sought to create a song that took us back to our childhood, those special times where nothing was more important than Christmas,” Younge said in an email.
“The bells of Christmas are calling us to save the saddest Christmas tree,” the voices sing in harmony, as if angels were orbiting the dying tree. Bells mix with a down-tempo rhythm; strings add majesty.
The entirety of “Christmas Soul” will be available exclusively for streaming on Amazon Music starting November 24.