Lil Nas X runs the North Pole a little differently.
With his new Christmas single "Holiday" and its accompanying music video, the "Old Town Road" artist, 21, goes from "horses in the back" in "Old Town Road" to reindeer in the front — of his Santa sleigh, that is. In the flashy video, directed by Gibson Hazard and Lil Nas X, the star takes on several icy roles, including a bearded Santa Claus.
The Grammy winner also tolkd Apple Music's Zane Lowe that he began fine-tuning the song all the way back in February, and it morphed into shape over the course of 2020.
"I'm talking about the past year or whatever and all this s--- that's ... a couple of s--- that's been happening," he said of "Holiday" and the song's meaning. "Just establishing where I'm going, where I'm moving — how I'm good no matter what."
Lil Nas X also opened up about how he has evolved creatively since his star-making hit "Old Town Road," which debuted in early 2019.
"I felt super accomplished, but I felt like, 'Okay, that's cool. Now it's time to really get to business,'" he said. "I found better, healthier ways to create, I'll say that. Little things like taking much more time with my lyrics and putting more into the concept of whatever the song I am making."
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"I used to go to the studio, make the song, I'm out, and never go back to it, never work on it again. And it worked, but that wasn't the move," continued Lil Nas X. "If I can do that without doing that, what can I do beyond that?"
He said he was ready to forget about "Old Town Road" because of criticisms but learned to appreciate the doors opened by the record-breaking, award-winning tune.
"'Old Town Road' didn't stop being No. 1 until August, I think, of 2019, and I was already ready to throw it out the window in June last year," he recalled. "And I was so ready to move on from it because of what other people were saying that I almost missed out on even bigger blessings from it."
He added that in isolation during the pandemic, he wanted to bring fans into his personal life so they could get to know the real Lil Nas X. "Another thing with quarantine I decided I wanted to do was definitely give people more of an inside of me beyond the characters I portray," he added.
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Lil Nas X teased "Holiday" with help from Michael J. Fox in an ad that aired during an NFL broadcast on Sunday.
As he rides through a Western town in the commercial, the singer watches as Santa gets thrown out of a bar after too many drinks. He picks up Santa's hat and the label within it changes from "Santa Claus" to "Santa Nas X," as another message, "You are the new Santa," reads on a second label below.
His horse then morphs into a reindeer as he transforms into Santa before he flies off on a sleigh as a preview of his upcoming track plays. The clip ends with a short appearance from Fox, 59, channeling his Back to the Future character Marty McFly, warning, "Whatever you do Nas, don’t go to 2020!"