Jen Lilley has plenty to be thankful for this holiday season.
Lilley, who lives in the beach cities and is expected to appear as part of the Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks show Sunday, Dec. 13, recently released her first Christmas CD, “Tinsel Time,” on the Manhattan Beach-based label Robo Records. Her Lifetime film, “The Spirit of Christmas,” airs Dec. 19 on the cable channel, and she is celebrating nearly three years on “Days of Our Lives” as the iconic soap reaches a milestone 50 years.
“I think that passion is better than coffee so it was something I was really driven to do,” said Lilley about making time to record “Tinsel Time” in her busy schedule. “Somehow you just carve out time to do what you want.”
“Tinsel Time” features seven songs, including two originals, “Santa We’re All Waiting on You” and the title track, which was co-written by Manhattan Beach resident Rob Christie, founder of Robo Records. Other songs include classics “Santa Baby,” which Lilley plays ukelele on, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “Jingle Bells,” “I’ve Got my Love to Keep Me Warm” and an acappella version of “Silent Night” with “The First Noel.”
“It was an inspired impromptu thing that really worked,” said Lilley of “Silent Night.”
On “Days of Our Lives,” Lilley plays the conniving Theresa Donovan. Her love interest on the soap is Brady Black, played by Eric Martsolf. The co-stars went to recording studio last year to record “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
“I thought I would start with that one because it’s a duet and Eric was on Broadway for years. He has an incredible voice,” Lilley said. “I (thought) let me record a single and see if anybody likes it or see if it’s this grand illusion I have that I can do this. We had a lot of success with it, but I remember driving to the studio knowing that Greg Field and Chuck Berghofer were going to be there and I was weeping joyful tears the entire way there.”
In between the hectic shooting schedule of “Days” and recording her CD, Lilley found time to film “The Spirit of Christmas,” which she teases with her video for “Tinsel Time.” “The Spirit of Christmas” was shot in January and February during a freezing Boston winter, with snow drifts reaching 13 feet or more. She calls the film “less of a ghost story, more of a fairy tale.”
“We probably got $1 million of production value out of all the snow,” Lilley said. “I remember days there were wind advisories and you weren’t’ supposed to go out. My character was always running outside without her jacket in a huff … I lost 5 pounds in the three weeks just from shivering.”
Overall, Lilley said recording the Christmas album was a “dream I didn’t expect to happen so early in life.”
“There’s a lot of kinetic energy going on, it has been ‘Days of Our Lives,’ the CD and the movie. It has been a very exciting time in my life … I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights, but I can’t stop smiling.”
View the full article here.