O Holy Night Saga Revealed, Pt. 6

Dear Readers,

Thanks for your patience throughout this never-ending Saga. Today is the day you’ve been waiting for. I suspect it will be somewhat anti-climatic. But, you asked for the truth. “You Can’t Handle the Truth” (oh … sorry, that was Jack).

Seriously, if you missed the other posts in the saga, be sure to catch up by reading:
Introduction (Part 1)
I’m Declared the Singer on Radio (Part 2)
Time to Vote (Part 3)
Time to Vote – More Callers (Part 4)
Fred joins the Chris & Brad with the Gray Area, 106.9 Free FM, San Francisco (Part 5)


Part 6 – The Grand Finale, True Identity Revealed

I’ve been thinking about how to best present this. As I’ve been saying this week, my phone interview with the real singer is nearly 1-hour long. Now, I must confess how tempted I was to post another 6-part series of audio clips over the next week – just to stretch this thing out longer … but you can only milk a story so long, right?

So, I’ve decided to type some quick, simple answers for those who really need the quick details. And then, I’m going to link to 6 separate clips of the nearly 1-hour long phone interview that you can listen to at your leisure. I know most people barely have time to read my blog … I’m honored for those that do – especially those of you who take time to comment. So … having time to listen to an hour long interview is out of the question. Hopefully, the audio clips below will give you the opportunity to hear it in “chunks” when you can.

Q: Who is the real singer?
A: His name is Steve M., and he is from the Nashville, TN area. Steve hasn’t given his last name, but with the story he tells, you can connect the dots and figure it out. If you are a clever blog person, you can also find it hidden on fredmckinnon.com!

Q: Is the singer a professional or amateur?
A: Steve is a professional musician, producer, arranger, and orchestrator. He’s been making his living producing and arranging music in Nashville for decades. He has worked with some of the more famous artists in history. By his own admittance, Steve is not a great vocalist. (really?) … but he is a professional in the music industry.

Q: Was the singer seriously trying to perform the song?
A: No, Steve was up late in the studio with Kevin, his Engineer. They’d just completed the “real” recording of the song featuring Guy Penrod, a now-famous vocalist for the Gaither Vocal Band. After Guy sang the solo and left, Steve and Kevin were playing around, celebrating the fact that the “tracking time” of the recording was finally finished. They were making jokes about how high the singer could sing, and that maybe it was his “long hair” that helped him hit the high notes. Steve, the producer and composer of the soundtrack, jokingly said “I can hit those high notes” and went out into the studio to sing it. Kevin recorded it – Steve hammed it up and had fun throughout the track.

Q: What was the original intent of the song?
A: The backing track was professionally composed and scored by Steve M. It was part of a Christmas album for the Christ Church Choir in Franklin, TN. The actual recording of this song features the exact same track, but Guy Penrod singing the vocal and the CC Choir singing the very high “fall on your knees” section that our friend, Steve, butchered so well!

Q: How did this song get on the internet?
A: Nobody knows for sure. After that funny night in the studio, Kevin made a cassette tape for Steve to keep for himself and stored the big 2-inch track master tape with the project. The album was later signed to the now-extinct “StarSong” record label. Star Song was eventually acquired by a larger record company. Steve, our singer, suspects that when the assets of Star Song were purchased by the bigger label, a recording engineer or intern was assigned the task of backing up all of the company’s 2-inch tape masters into digital format and discovered this funny outtake. From there, various engineers in Nashville began emailing the song around as a joke. As for the original 2-inch tape masters … they are MIA and cannot be found. Their location is still a mystery.

Q: Why come forward:
A: Steve decided that he’d seen enough YouTube videos and other postings where people were claiming to be the real “O Holy Night” singer. For years, he and his brother kept it a secret – enjoying hearing all of the rumors and tales as to what the real story was. After counting more than 15+ videos on YouTube of people claiming to be the real singer, Steve decided to come forward and share his story.

Q: What proof is there?
A: Steve has sent me the orchestral score to the track, the original backing track, the track with the choir, and the produced track with Guy Penrod singing it as performed on the Christmas album by Christ Church Choir.

Q: How can I contact Steve?
A: Steve discusses ways to contact him in the final part of his interview.

Phone Interview:
(note: I recorded this with “Skype”. The audio quality is terrible, and my headset on the mic didn’t work very well. I had to convert it into .wav files for ProTools, and apply heavy compression in attempts to level out Steve’s voice with the volume of my voice. I didn’t have a means to put my voice and Steve’s voice on separate tracks).
Part 1 (Welcome and Bio Information – 6:18)


Part 2 (Background on O Holy Night – 2:41)


Part 3 (The Recording Process – 16:05)


Part 4 (Why Break the Silence – 5:04)


Part 5 (How Was it Released – 7:50)


Part 6 (Your Testimony – 11:06)


Well, it’s been a blast – and I sure hope you enjoyed this saga … and it will be a source of fun for everyone! To my friends at 106.9, Chris & Brad … it was fun .. and hope you’ll still have some fun with it again … would love to hook you up with Steve!

Your comments?

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About the Author
Fred McKinnon is a Pianist/Composer from St. Simons Island, GA. Checkout the full BIO for more information and a complete bio. Worship Interludes Podcast - This podcast features instrumentals for prayer, meditation, soaking worship, relaxation, study music, and rest. Visit the Podcast page to listen or subscribe. Follow on Social MediaFacebookYouTubeInstagramTwitter

10 comments on “O Holy Night Saga Revealed, Pt. 6

  1. I must say, that was very satisfying. Enjoyed the interview! Thanks for posting it, Fred!

  2. Chris says:

    Thanks for telling the story, Fred. It’s been fun!

  3. mandy says:

    oh my… .i don’t even have words for how wild this whole story is!!!!

  4. Kevin Eades says:

    Finally! This was a great ride Fred!

  5. Peter Park says:

    I hope I get to be as good as you when I grow up. Blessings to you my brother.

  6. Matt Paasch says:

    It was me….

    The year was 2003. I had gotten this song from my youth pastor on cassette. He wanted to put this file on cd, and asked me to convert it. He told me that This song has been passed along from Baptist pastor to pastor in the Heartland Baptist Bible College circut.

    The plan was to give it to our pastor as a prank, saying this is a professional from Tenessee (that’s where our pastor was born and raised). I even when so far coming up with artwork for the cd and case (I’m a graphic designer).

    So I put it on using Adobe Audition, and cleaned it up a bit (the quality wasn’t the best). I emailed it everywhere and even posted it online several times on several websites, one being The Singing News Forums. So I guess you can blame me…. but it was too good not to pass along!

    If you want the file I have that I converted from cassette, it is located here: http://www.box.net/shared/fdkfrt9iey

    If you compare the file to any of the other ones found on the internet, you see that this matches up perfectly!

    I’m sorry Steve! But it was me!

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