Interview: Nina West for "The West Christmas Ever" Album
Courtesy of Nina West

Lisa Frankenstein by Nina West was my Halloween anthem this season. And “The West Christmas Ever”, Nina’s new EP featuring 5 all-new original songs and 3 magical Christmas interludes voiced by Disney Legend Jim Cummings, is 100% gonna be the soundtrack of MY holiday season. I had the pleasure of talking to Nina about her new album and all things Christmas, where I found out which she likes better – Christmas or Halloween.

Hey, Nina! It’s good to talk to you again! How are you?

Nina West: I’m so good! I just got back today from Australia and shot a lyric video for one of the songs on the EP, and I’m really good!

So, there is a huge thing going on online Halloween vs Christmas and most people love them both but are either team Halloween or team Christmas at heart. Do you have a preference?

Nina West: I am Team Season! As in, this is my favorite time of the year because they all kind of go back to back so I’m not really team one or the other. And we’re leaving out Thanksgiving! Which honestly…I’m Team Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday where I’m surrounded by food! I love Halloween for the playfulness of it all and the costumes and the fun and the magic of Halloween, but I love Christmas for the tradition and the decor and, religious or not, the secular sense of it. This season is about hope and giving and I just love having three holidays come back to back. We have a chance to really have three distinct modes of celebration.

So, why did you decide to put out a Christmas album?

Nina West: It was a no brainer for me. I just really love the season and there’s something about Christmas music in particular.  I’ve always dreamt of being a part of that tradition. My favorite Christmas song is Darlene Love Baby Please Come Home, it’s epic and big and sad and poetic and beautiful, it’s Christmas! Holiday music allows this idea of reflection, thoughtfulness, giving, and peacefulness coming into your life, which doesn’t really echo during any other season. I wanted to be a part of the tradition of Christmas.

Courtesy of Nina West

Well, I love the album. I’ve listened to it three times today. I loved Christmas Arrow,  Cha Cha heels, and It’s Chris Miss. Those are my top three. So, I wanted to know do you have a favorite song on your album?

Nina West: Well it’s a really eclectic EP. The songs are all five very different parts of what makes up Nina. There’s a Christmas ballad, Santa Will Be Gone, and it’s a really beautiful song. The classic Nina campy is definitely Cha Cha Heels, which is inspired by John Waters and Female Trouble and Dawn Davenport, and I couldn’t believe no one had done a Christmas song about it yet!

I’m a huge Disney fan and I love Jim Cummings. Why did you pick him to be your narrator, your Father Christmas?

Nina West: Like you, I am a massive Disney fan, and one of my favorite Christmas films is Mickey’s Christmas Carol. And as I got older and learned about the people behind the stories and the storytellers, that’s when I learned about Jim Cummings. I loved him as Ed in [The] Lion King, and of course, I’m a fan of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger and hearing that voice always kind of launches it back to childhood. I met him and his wife briefly at D23 and it was just so wonderful. And I was like how can I just take this to another level that’s very Andrew and very Nina and continue to tell the story of Chrismas that I wanted. It was a no brainer to be like ” I should ask Jim Cummings”, and he didn’t even flinch he said yes pretty quickly. I asked him to be Father Christmas and he did it in one take, it was magical.

The interludes, which were written by my friend Patricia Taylor; she’s my best friend. We met in college. She kind of captured everything story-wise I was trying to capture for the EP. Even though the five songs you feel are all over the place, they do come together in a really great way because of the interludes. And having Jim on it, it’s overwhelming. He’s such legend and he’s so respected and revered, and just the fact that he said yes to me[…].It’s just, it’s awesome and it makes it just feel complete and gives it that extra special Christmas / Disney magic. My favorite part of the album is Jim’s storytelling.

Okay. One more thing. Tell me about ‘A Drag Queen Christmas’.

Nina West: We start on November 19. We kick off the tour in New Jersey and we’re on the road the entire holiday season through December 29. We’re going all over the country. We start in the northeast, and then we go down to the Midwest around Thanksgiving time. Then we get to travel through the middle of the country in the panhandle and then we travel over to the west coast and then come back down and wrap up in [the] South. Basically, it’s like all of your favorite drag race entertainers coming together to celebrate the season!

Who are you most looking forward to performing with on the tour?

Nina West: I am really excited to be with Latrice [Royale] again. Nobody has energy like Latrice. It’s gonna be great to be on the road with her, especially during the holiday season.

Well, that’s all my questions. Thank you so much for talking to me. I really appreciate it and I can’t wait to see you on tour in Los Angeles!

Nina’s album The West Christmas Ever is available now! You can find it here. Need a little sample before you take the plunge with her album? Check out her video for “Jingle Juice” below.

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