Canada’s Jeffrey Li brings more chills down your spine than the North Pole winds in the new holiday song, “Jesus Happy Birthday”. A beautiful piece, complete with Li’s mature voice laced with hope, this is the song that should be spinning nonstop on the Christmas station near you. A clean, spiritual message and a voice as bright as the Star of Bethlehem, “Jesus Happy Birthday” returns listeners to a place of love and dignity in 2020.
One of the biggest highlights to this song is Li. You can tell he’s youthful, and his wonderment for Christmas is tangible. There is an innocence to him, but not a lack of maturity. He sings with the confidence of a thousand men, and you can almost imagine him singing this song from the mountaintops. He reminds me a lot of Josh Groban. I have to laugh, though, because before I made the connection that Li was on America’s Got Talent and actually sang a Groban song, I didn’t put two-and-two together. Li doesn’t have the baritone timbre in his voice, and that might come with age. But for now, he has the pipes to create an astoundingly beautiful pallet. Listening to “Jesus Happy Birthday” is like witnessing a child see the first snowfall, or seeing your favorite holiday movie. Such anticipation and such joy – you can’t look away, or stop listening.
He will always be the king, Li sings. I patiently waited for a choir, or another voice. Really, Li doesn’t need a backing vocalist or choir. He has enough gumption and power in his own voice. I was surprised to hear the electronic guitar, making shapes with a solo arrangement. It was quick, and I’m okay with that. I felt like it added another texture to the song. Very unexpected. In some ways, and this might be a stretch, it almost reminded me of a Disney movie soundtrack. We don’t often hear of songs with Christian-leanings in major movie soundtracks, but Li’s voice spreads such warm, wholesome cheer. It’s hard to imagine such a robust sound from such a young singer, but he champions this song better than any evergreen performer.
The rhythm in the song is very understated. It’s a moving current under Li’s voice, a mix of the guitar, bass and a rousing (perhaps) timpani drum. I felt like the song’s movement, again, is led by Li, but the does open the door for the guitar. The tempo and vibe of the song is very spiritual. It’s not solemn, but stoic.
Li is based in Toronto. At 15 he’s appeared on America’s Got Talent, NBC’s Little Big Shots and numerous other global television programs. He also performed at the 50th Special Olympics Ontario opening ceremony in May 2015. His 2020 releases also include “I Do If You Do” and “Anniversary”. Fans of Groban, as well as Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Bublé and Jars of Clay will definitely love “Jesus Happy Birthday”. It’s a lovely track and Li is a godsend to music.