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Ralph Bavaro/NBC

Christmas season got into full swing on Wednesday with the help of Alessia Cara and Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas at NBC's lighting of the iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree.

Cara performed her original holiday tune, "Make It to Christmas, from her 2020 release, Holiday Stuff, as well as her cover of the classic "Jingle Bell Rock," available on Amazon Music.

Thomas performed "Small Town Christmas," before teaming up with Brad Paisley for "Santa Don't Come Here Anymore." Both songs appear on Thomas' new holiday collection, Something About Christmas Time.

Christmas in Rockefeller Center also included appearances from Harry Connick Jr., Norah Jones, Pentatonix and Carrie Underwood.

The night, which also featured Radio City Music Hall's high-stepping Rockettes dance troupe, among others, concluded with the lighting of Rockefeller Center's 79-foot tall, 85-year-old Norway Spruce, which was donated by a family from Elkton, Maryland.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Tai Verdes: @franzmars photographer; Rob Thomas: Jim Trocchio

This year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will feature established stars like Andy Grammer, Rob Thomas, Kelly Rowland, Sara Bareilles and Nelly, as well as rising artists like Zoe Wees and Tai Verdes. Tai's happy for the opportunity to get in front of viewers who don't know him from TikTok or the radio.

"It's always really awesome to see the different steps that you can take to be exposed to more people," he tells ABC Audio. "Especially with something like the Macy's Day Parade, it's kind of cool to see something that I've seen for like years and be a part of that."

Tai will sing his hit "A-O-K" while riding on the Jennie-O float, but he laughs, "Honestly, they could put me on any float, and I'd be happy."  He doesn't even mind that he'll miss Thanksgiving dinner with his folks back in California.

"My family would usually just eat dinner together, we don't have any crazy traditions, so it's not like I'm missing out a lot," he says. "But I'm also going back and having, like, a 'Thanksgiving dinner' after -- on, like, Saturday and Sunday."

Rob Thomas is also a first-timer when it come to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He'll be singing a song from his new holiday album, Something About Christmas Time, while riding aboard the Hallmark Channel float, and he and his wife are equally thrilled.

"I'm stoked...my wife, growing up in Queens, [NY], that's been her entire life," he tells ABC Audio. "Christmas starts when Santa Claus goes past Macy's, then, from that moment on for her, it's the holidays."

"I'm excited about doing it and I'm excited about doing it on the Hallmark float," he adds. "That's huge! That's serious Christmas, right there.  I am knee-deep in Christmas at that point!"

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Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for Live Nation

Trying to follow up one of the biggest songs of the last 20 years is a tall order, which is why Rob Thomas says he isn't concerned about whether or not "Move," his new duet with Carlos Santana, is as successful as their first duet, "Smooth." But Rob says the reason he specifically doesn't worry about that stuff is because of some advice that Carlos gave him 21 years ago.

"I'm three years younger now than Carlos was when we first did 'Smooth,'" Rob tells ABC Audio. "And at that very, very young age, Carlos taught me something that was very, very important that I hold on to, which is: The world is not as complicated as you make it seem sometimes, and you really are only in control of your motive, your intention and your purpose."

According to Rob, Carlos told him, "Those are the three things that you can control. And whatever the outcome is, that's going to be the outcome, but you can't worry about it while you're putting something into [the universe]."

"So, I don't think I've ever really been concerned about whether something was going to perform," Rob says, addressing the topic of "Move's" success versus that of "Smooth."

"When I do something and I'm creative and I'm listening to that frequency in the universe that gives me a song, then I feel like I've already succeeded," the Matchbox Twenty front man states. "And I think the only time that I fail is if I stop listening to that -- or I start trying to control it."

In addition to "Move," which in addition to Carlos also features American Authors, Rob has a new holiday album out, Something About Christmas Time.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Atlantic Records

Rob Thomas has just released his first holiday album, Something About Christmas Time. He put out his first Christmas song, "New York Christmas," back in 2003, though, so what took him so long to finally make an album? Rob jokes that you only have to look at his current hit "Move" -- his first single with Carlos Santana since 1999's "Smooth"  -- to know the answer to that question.

"Well, I think, just like with the Carlos song, my M.O. is I like to do something, and then about 20 or 22 years later, I like to follow up on it when it's still hot," he cracks.

All kidding aside, Rob says, "Every year, I want to do a Christmas album, and every year, it's too late because I always think about it at Christmas."  But then came the pandemic.

"When everything started to shut down in the beginning of 2020, I was home and I had that summer to make a record," he tells ABC Audio. "I wasn't on the road and it wasn't making a solo record. I wasn't making a Matchbox [Twenty] record. And so it was the only summer that I'd ever had where there was that kind of a time."

"I knew that I didn't want to do a lot of the traditional Christmas covers," he adds, noting that he preferred "songs that I grew up with and the artists that I grew up listening to."

He ended up with mostly original Christmas songs, plus covers of Ray Charles' "Spirit of Christmas," and Bryan Adams' 1985 song "Christmas Time" -- a line from that song gives the album its title, in fact.  And Rob got Bryan's stamp of approval, too.

"He loved it!" Rob laughs. "He liked that I also named the album after the song!"

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NBCUniversal

Halloween is over and the countdown to Thanksgiving is on.  A slew of performers have already been announced for the 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is returning to full strength after a limited 2020 version.

Rob Thomas, who has a new Christmas album, will be singing aboard the Hallmark Channel float, while Andy Grammer will be performing and riding on the Entenmann's float. "A-O-K" singer Tai Verdes will be on board the Jenni-O Turkey float. 

Other acts who'll be participating include Nelly, Kelly Rowland, Darren Criss, Kim Petras, "Control" singer Zoe Wees and country stars Jimmie Allen, Chris Lane and Mickey Guyton.

The 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will air from the streets of New York City on NBC from 9 a.m. ET to noon, November 25 in all time zones.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

  • Updated

Atlantic Records

Rob Thomas' holiday album Something About Christmas Time is out next week, but you don't have to wait to hear a preview of one of the duets that's featured on the project.

Ingrid Michaelson joins Rob for a version of "Christmas Time," a 1985 holiday tune by Bryan Adams, a snippet of which is posted right now on Ingrid's Instagram Story.  The album's title is taken from the lyrics of the song.  The project also includes collaborations with Bebe Winans and country star Brad Paisley, as well as an updated version of "A New York Christmas," which Rob originally put out in 2003.

Ingrid also has her own holiday release: a deluxe version of her 2018 album Songs for the Season, due November 5.  That project includes collaborations with, among others, Jason Mraz and actress/singer Zooey Deschanel.

Here's the track listing for Something About Christmas Time:

"Save Some Christmas for Me"

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

"Christmas Time" (Ft. Ingrid Michaelson)

"That Spirit of Christmas" (Ft. Bebe Winans)

"Small Town Christmas"

"New Year’s Day"

"Santa Don’t Come Here Anymore" (Ft. Brad Paisley)

"I Believe In Santa Claus" (Ft. Abby Anderson)

"A New York Christmas ‘21"

"Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas (Samy’s Song)"

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BMG

If Carlos Santana’s new album, Blessings and Miracles, were a painting, Rob Thomas says their collaborative track, “Move,” was the “one little color” that made it complete.

The Matchbox Twenty frontman tells ABC Audio the follow-up to 1999’s smash “Smooth” came about organically -- and it just so happened to fit perfectly within the album Santana was already making.

“There was this beautiful moment that was happening in the universe where I was working with Zac [Barnett] and the guys from American Authors with this track and it just, it had this light to it,” Rob explains.

“And when I reached out to Carlos to see if he wanted to play guitar on it, it just turned out that he was making Blessings and Miracles. And it was like this painting that was missing this one little color and it turns out that ‘Move’ was the color that kind of fit into what he was doing.”

Rob says getting to be part of “this beautiful world that Carlos has created,” along with other album collaborators including Steve Winwood and Chris Stapleton, “was a gift.”

Blessings and Miracles is out now.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Atlantic Records

Rob Thomas is bringing us holiday joy with his first-ever Christmas album.

Due out October 22, it's called Something About Christmas Time, and is available for pre-order now.

Over the years, Rob has released two Christmas songs: 2005's "New York City Christmas," and last year's “I Believe in Santa Claus." 

He recently told Rolling Stone that the album features original songs, as well as covers of songs by Bryan Adams and Ray Charles, plus guest appearances by Ingrid Michaelson, gospel star Bebe Winans and country star Brad Paisley.

“It’s something I’ve always kind of wanted to do,” Rob told Rolling Stone. “But I didn’t think anybody needs to hear me sing ‘Jingle Bells.’ You know, nobody needs to hear anybody honestly sing ‘Jingle Bells’ again. But I think I managed to pick some really cool covers, so I think it’s got its own original sound.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

  • Updated

BMG

The official video for "Move" -- the single that reunites Rob Thomas with his "Smooth" partner Carlos Santana -- has arrived.

The black-and-white clip features Thomas singing alone under a stormy, lightning-filled sky, while Santana tosses off his signature guitar licks standing on a mirror in a black void. In the second verse, American Authors singer Zac Barnett joins Santana on the mirror, which begins to crack. Later on, Santana stands on top of a massive pile of speakers, playing the maracas.

"Move" is from Santana's new album, Blessings and Miracles, which arrives October 15.

In addition to "Move," Rob's other musical project is a Christmas album, though a title and release date have yet to be announced. However, he's posted a snippet of a new song that appears to be called "Christmas In a Small Town."

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Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for Live Nation

Rob Thomas has yet to return to touring, and Rachel Platten just had a baby, but you can see both of them perform this weekend, for free.

Both artists will be singing at GLA Global Gala 2021, a fundraiser for the Global Lyme Alliance charity.  Hosted by Gretchen Carlson, the virtual event will feature appearances and performances from around the world. In addition to Rob and Rachel's performances, Andrea Bocelli will also be singing, as will American Idol alum Pia Toscano.

Rob's involvement is no surprise, given that his wife Marisol suffers from Lyme disease. Last year, he appeared at Avril Lavigne's virtual benefit for the Global Lyme Alliance.  Avril also has Lyme disease.

You can sign up now to watch the event, which takes place Sunday, October 3 at 12:30 p.m. EST. Visit GlobalLymeAllliance.org for more information, and to donate.

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