Published on December 3rd, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
J. Robert Spencer On His New Holiday Single “Waiting On Christmas” & Upcoming Projects
Tony Award-nominated actor J. Robert Spencer had a lot of fans talking as the original “Nick Massi” in the Broadway production of the long-running GRAMMY Award-winning musical Jersey Boys. He has also won over fans as part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning show Next To Normal and within his live performances alongside other Jersey Boys alumni in The Midtown Men.
New from J. Robert Spencer is his Christmas-single, “Waiting On Christmas,” which was written at the suggestion of his daughter Raine. Spencer recorded his Christmas song at Rockhouse Productions in St. Joseph, Minnesota. The studio belongs to Spencer’s touring manager Jeff Vee, the son of the late 1960s singer Bobby Vee. The St. Agatha’s fifth-grade girls’ choir from Portland, Oregon lent their angelic voices to the recording, while proceeds from “Waiting On Christmas” will be donated to help with Annual Appeal financial aid for St. John The Baptist School in Milwaukee, Oregon.
I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with J. Robert Spencer about his new single and more. Additional information on the actor and his various projects can be found online at www.jrobertspencer.com.
“Waiting On Christmas” is your new single. Did you write it outside of the holiday season?
J. Robert Spencer: I actually wrote “Waiting On Christmas” on December 23, 2017. My family and I had been listening to Christmas songs all season long and my 9-year-old daughter wasn’t enjoying some of the newer holiday songs that were on the radio. She prefers the older classics like Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Andy Williams. That’s when she said, “You should write a Christmas song Daddy!” So, I sat down and wrote the song in 5 minutes. When I sang the chorus my daughter said, “That’s really good Daddy!”
You have found a lot of success of Broadway. Was the initial goal to be a singer/songwriter?
J. Robert Spencer: Songwriting came later in my life. It first began with acting, singing, and playing drums at the age of 11. Ironically, all the musical gifts I was honing in on as a child was preparing me to be an actor on Broadway. But the singing and songwriting was always my zen. I would perform at open mic nights, subway platforms, on the street, all the while honing my skills as a songwriter.
Do you have a studio album of non-holiday material in the works?
J. Robert Spencer: I do have a lot of songs recorded over the years. But it seems that nowadays albums are obsolete and that why I went the route of releasing “Waiting On Christmas” as a single! But I plan on releasing more original singles as the years roll by.
Aside from writing music, what are you currently working on besides The Midtown Men?
J. Robert Spencer: Playing Abraham Lincoln in a hilarious bluegrass musical comedy about the Civil War called UNCIVIL.
What is the last concert you attended for fun?
J. Robert Spencer: Maroon 5 with my wife!
What has been your favorite album of 2019?
J. Robert Spencer: Last couple of years I’ve loved: Gary Clark Jr.’s This Land, the Marcus King Band’s Carolina Confessions and Alice In Chains’ Rainier Fog.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
J. Robert Spencer: Believe in Santa!