November 27, 2011

A JBB EXCLUSIVE: Catching Up with Kristofer McNeeley’s Life in LA & Season’s Greetings: A Jersey Boys Christmas Album!

November 27th, 2011

Kristofer McNeeley
Kristofer McNeeley

It was a marvelous treat to chat recently with former JB Las Vegas cast member Kristofer McNeeley, who updated us with exciting news about what has been happening since he and his family’s big move to Los Angeles! As one of the phenomenal background vocalists on Season’s Greetings: A Jersey Boys Christmas album, we are thrilled that Kristofer has also shared an inside glimpse of his extraordinary experience in the making of this spectacular recording with JBB readers!

Jersey Boys Blog: Great to catch up with you, Kristofer! What’s been going on since your big move to LA?

Kristofer McNeeley: Hey Susie! It’s always great to talk to you guys. Life has been very full since the move last January – I did some traveling around the world with Jersey Boys as part of a Special Events Team. We did a 30-minute concert presentation of some of the musical highlights of the show for private events. We went to Berlin, Paris, Morocco, and Arkansas – quite an interesting cross-section of the world. Meanwhile, my wife was back in Los Angeles going full force with her career as a voiceover artist and actress. Then, in September, I launched my own acting studio, which is off to a great start, I’m happy to say. All this while raising our now 18-month-old daughter. Then, to top all that off, we found out that we are going to have another baby girl early next year! Needless to say, life has been hectic and trying at times, but a really great ride full of blessings. Every day it’s like we wake up and get to see what happens next.

JBB: Wow, Kristofer, sounds like life in LA (and around the globe!) is going great for you guys, and Emerson will be joined by a new little sister soon! Fantastic news!

We’re also so excited to chat with you about the phenomenal Seasons Greetings: A Jersey Boys Christmas album. The background vocals by you, Erik Bates, and Michael Ingersoll are truly magical! Sometimes, it’s like listening to The Four Seasons’ four-part harmonies, then some gorgeous smooth harmonies with the wonderful Christmas standards, then a little bit of the Drifters, then–like a choir in a big cathedral! Tell us about how you became part of this amazing recording.

KM: Thank you! I’m very proud to have been a part of bringing this album to life. I remember exactly where I was when I got the email from Bob Gaudio’s representative asking me if I would be willing to come to Nashville to make the record…and I immediately thought it was a prank. I was on my way into teaching class and I checked my email (as I obsessively do) and there was this email. Blew me away and making the album was no less thrilling. We recorded at the beautiful Dark Horse Recording Studios in Franklin, Tennessee. It was literally on a ranch, with horses and trees and fireflies and crazy thunderstorms one of the days. All the tunes on the disc were recorded in four days…it was a mammoth project and only possible with pros like Ron Melrose and Bob Gaudio at the helm.

JBB: Is this your debut recording, or have you done others in the past?

KM: It is my debut label recording. Very exciting. I have done many demos for composers, as well as recording my own CD’s. So, although it is my biggest release to date, I’ve actually logged a lot of time in the studio as a musician and a vocalist. I love it. It’s an art all its own. The specificity and the freedom the microphone gives you are really awesome. I can achieve a subtlety in the studio and affect an emotion or timbre in my voice that is difficult to capture live. On the other hand, pitch has to be impeccable. Being in the pocket is imperative. The pressure can be enormous, but I work best under pressure with a focused goal. It’s a rush.

JBB: Sounds like an amazing rush! Considering the ‘Frankies’ were not recording with you guys at the same time, what were some of the challenges with this type of recording?

KM: We didn’t actually have any challenges relating to that – or at least I did not. We were the first to record, and Ron Melrose sang a scratch track of the leads for us, so we focused on the style of voice for each Frankie and followed Bob and Ron’s direction to develop a sound for each song. So, in a sense, it was very free in that we had no other track to ‘fit’ with. The Frankies would have a bigger challenge, I would imagine – but those guys are all pros…the real-deal…so, of course, they all sound fantastic.

JBB: What about working with Erik & Michael–was it like becoming a performing trio for your days together? Almost like starting your own group?

KM: It was a fairly intense experience, as I mentioned, so there was definitely some pretty instantaneous bonding that occurred. We basically all knew each other or at least of each other – Erik and I had worked in the Las Vegas company together and I had heard great things about Michael and we hit it off right away.

JBB: I’d love to hear about the actual experience and process of recording such a special album.

KM: Truly, I look back on it and it is kind of a blur. I was about to head off to NYC, Europe and Africa with JB and we were working so much that it all blends a bit…BUT, the feeling I remember is pure exhilaration. We would go into the studio at 9 or 9:30 in the morning, Ron would take us into a small room with a piano and we would sing down the music a couple of times and then we would move to the booth and lay it down. That intensity and schedule pushed me to levels as a musician I had no idea I was capable of, and the caliber of the other recording artists and of Ron, Bob, and their team was kind of overwhelming and completely inspiring. I think we all pushed each other to be better and Bob and Ron pushed us even further.

JBB: Any behind the scenes stories that you can share?

KM: Hmm…all the moments hanging out with the other boys were great and full of equal amounts of fun and work…but something unexpected were the moments at lunch or dinner when we sat in the kitchen lounge at the studio, surrounded by gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums recorded there, and chatted with Bob and Ron. Truly two musical geniuses. And here was Bob’s name on some of these albums hanging on the wall. What a gift and a once in a lifetime experience. I just tried to take it all in.

JBB: Do you have any favorite tracks from the recording? What makes those tracks stand out for you?

KM: ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Breath of Heaven’ are my favorites, I think. I’m a sucker for a good ballad and the arrangements are so lush and move beautifully. Right up my alley. But, truly, I’m proud of all of the tracks – particularly knowing how little time we had to record them…My family and I will have that album in our holiday music rotation from now on and my daughters and their kids will know it as part of the holiday tradition. That’s pretty special.

We’d like to thank Kristofer for being so generous with his time for this fantastic JBB Exclusive update and wish him all the best! To keep up with Kristofer’s acting studio and so many other exciting projects, visit!


  1. That was a nice article with Kristofer! After reading it, it was fun to listen to the Christmas album and really pay attention to the wonderful background vocals. Such a talented group of vocalists.

    Comment by LouAnne — November 27, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

  2. I was pleasantly surprised by the “Season’s Greetings” Christmas album & have enjoyed all of the unique tracks.

    Although I never had the opportunity to come to Las Vegas and see him perform, it was still great to read about Kristofer’s experience as a vocalist on the recording.

    Comment by Jerry — November 27, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

  3. Thanks for posting an interview with one of the background vocalists. It was fun to read a first-hand account of the whole experience. The Jersey Boys Xmas album is such a joy–especially those background vocals on “White Christmas” and the three Santa songs.

    Comment by KJM — November 27, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

  4. Great interview with Kristofer, Susie. It was always such a pleasure to see him on stage in Vegas and he became one of my favorite actors. I’m so happy to hear that he a part of the background vocals on the Christmas CD. Congratulations to Kristofer and his family on their upcoming addition!

    Comment by Krystal — November 28, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

  5. I had the pleasure of seeing Kris as Tommy a couple of times in Vegas after Jeremy K. left but before gravity pulled Deven M. back. He was top-notch.

    One kid, and another on the way? Talk about getting mobbed up! ;-)

    Comment by stubbleyou — November 28, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

  6. [...] December 1, 2012/0 Comments/in News A JBB Exclusive: Catching Up With Kristofer McNeeley [...]

    Pingback by Kristofer McNeeley | Jersey Boys Blog Interview — October 29, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment