Xmas Factor Songs Focus: At Christmas and Christmas in Pyongyang

,Guess what? If you’ve missed it: we’re raising money to make an album of the Xmas Factor: All Stars!

In our second Xmas Factor focus, we look at two of the songs that have made the All Stars: “At Christmas” by Julie Das, and “Christmas in Pyongyang” by Joanna Taylor and Al Muriel.

Julie Das is a non-performing songwriter from Toronto Canada. Her passion for writing songs began in her teens and continued until her early twenties when the demands of living on her own and paying her way through university left no time for music in her life. Now, over twenty years later, she is a wife and Mother of two young children and begins her journey back to music, picking up where she left off. Julie is a story writer; she strives to pull the listener into the plot, enabling them to feel the emotions behind her words. She is an eternal optimist who hopes that her music will ultimately bring people together.

Julie’s inspiration to write “At Christmas” came from recognizing how fortunate she is to live in a peaceful place and have family and friends who bring so much joy into her life. This song is her Christmas wish; to have love, happiness and peace for everyone in all parts of the world at Christmas and all year round. We’re also really excited that Ruby Campbell, who originally performed the song, will be back to record it for the All Stars album if we raise enough money!

Ruby graduated from Central last year, and recently made her West End debut in Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman, at the Gielgud Theatre. Ruby started her professional career in her native Northern Ireland, and her work with cutting edge theatre companies has taken her all over Ireland and as far as New York. Previous credits include Lady Windermere’s Fan (The MAC, Belfast), Lifeboat (Irish tour) and BABBLE (Irish/Welsh tour, New Victory Theatre – Off Broadway).

We asked Ruby what she thought about the whole thing and she said “I’m delighted to get the chance to revisit an Xmas Factor classic with Iris, and hopes this album will help bring greater recognition to the wonderful artists behind the music.” Thanks Ruby!


Christmas in Pyongyang was the audience award winner in 2015, and written by Joanna Taylor and Al Muriel.

Al and Jo have been writing together for almost 3 years, having met through Book, Music and Lyrics (BML), where they are members of the advanced workshop. Al is a playwright and screenwriter, while Jo is a composer focusing on contemporary music and musical theatre.. Christmas In Pyongyang was their first (and winning!) entry in the Xmas Factor back in 2015. Since then they have been Audience Runners Up with their song Picture Perfect Christmas.

Jo & Al said: “The Xmas Factor provides writers with a fantastically fun challenge, and we’ve greatly enjoyed creating insane dystopia in which we can place our “unique” songs! The competition is tough, but the writers, many of which we know through BML, are all incredibly talented and we have been honoured to be selected as finalists with both our entries. The supportive atmosphere on the day is like nothing else, and competition aside, the event is always a brilliant production, thanks mainly to Laura’s hard work and some incredible songs and performances. It’s unforgettable!”


These are just two of the plethora of songs at this year’s Xmas Factor: All Stars, and all of them will appear on the album if we can raise the money to make it! If you would like to support us then click here, and make sure you get your tickets before they’re all gone here!

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