Leslie Mendelson has shared a studio performance of "Happy New Year" (watch/share). Initially released as a single at the end of 2018 by the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, Leslie was compelled to revisit the song as a send off to 2020, undeniably one of the most trying years in modern history.
"Back in October I was taking requests for a live stream I was about to play at City Winery and someone asked for my song 'Happy New Year,'" explains Leslie. "I was thinking that it was a little early to play a holiday song, but seeing as how badly everyone wants this year to be over with, I decided to include it and it felt really right singing it that night."
In early December, Leslie would visit Applehead Recording in Woodstock, NY to film a live studio performance of the stirring piano ballad. It's a fitting end to the year for Leslie who released her latest studio album, 'If You Can't Say Anything Nice...' in April in the middle of the lockdown. Having to cancel tour dates with both The Who and Jackie Greene, as well as her own headline shows, she was relegated to supporting the album through live stream performances while quarantined alone in her Brooklyn apartment. In doing so, she soon found that a handful of the album's tracks recorded with full band arrangements had taken on new life in this stripped down setting. This led her to record a solo acoustic EP, 'In The Meantime.' with fresh takes on "If You Can't Say Anything Nice...," "Lay It All On Me" and "Speed of Light" along with two covers: Joni Mitchell's "People's Parties" and John Martyn's "Head & Heart." Issued via Bandcamp in July, it would become her second release of the year.
With this latest performance of "Happy New Year," Leslie continues to make the best of a bad situation, while offering a wish for better things ahead as the calendar flips to 2021.
"I'd like to think of this recording of 'Happy New Year' as my own little gesture to usher in 2021 with a bit of hope and optimism," concludes Leslie.