Zooey Deschanel’s honeyed voice has been broadcast over film, stage, and sports fields, and this week, she brings it to Philadelphia for a special Christmas concert.
The New Girl star will be in town Wednesday with singer/songwriter/guitarist M. Ward. She & Him, their duo for more than a decade, is on a Christmas tour that stops at The Met Philadelphia.
Many of us may know Deschanel from her movies and the red carpet, but she has been singing and writing songs since she was a little girl. (How could you forget her Elf duet with Will Ferrell while she sang “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in the shower?)
She & Him have compiled six albums — two of them Christmas-themed. A Very She & Him Christmas, their first collection of holiday music, was released in 2011. After two more LPs, they released a second yuletide collection, Christmas Party, in 2016.
Deschanel spoke with the Inquirer in advance of her appearance here. Here, edited and condensed, is what she had to say.
How did She & Him come about?
When I met [Matt Ward], I sent him a bunch of my songs. This is all 13 years ago. We’ve been working together for a long time. I sent him my demos. He liked them. We decided to make our first record and form a band, and we put out our first record in 2008.
You play instruments, including the ukulele and banjo. Do you have a favorite?
Piano was my first instrument, so that will always be my favorite. I don’t play piano on stage usually, though, just because it’s a lot of stuff for me to learn right before tour. I used to, but we have a great piano player who comes on tour with us.
I have to ask about a little online gossip. There’s been some TV chatter that you are inside the Christmas tree on Fox’s top-secret celebrity-singing faceoff show, “The Masked Singer.” Any truth to that?
[Laughs] I’ve — like — never seen the show. I don’t want to ruin it for anybody, but it is not me!
Fair enough. Back to Christmas. Do you have a special childhood memory you could share?
Yeah. I always liked singing Christmas carols. That was my favorite thing, getting to sing harmonies. I was in choir and we would go and sing carols. Along with Christmas morning with my family, all the wonderful things my mom would make, and being with my loved ones.
As The Met prepares to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its reopening, I wonder, do you have any memories of the old Met? I understand you have a rich Quaker heritage in the Delaware Valley.
My family goes back to a land grant from William Penn. My Philadelphia roots are deep. My dad’s mom’s family goes way back [in] Philly, Swarthmore, and Lancaster, and my great-grandfather was a doctor, lived in Philadelphia, and way, way back, my great-great-great-grandparents were Quaker abolitionists who lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and were part of the Underground Railroad. Very deep Philadelphia roots.
What’s it like working with M. Ward?
He’s one of the best guitar players I’ve ever met. He’s an amazing artist in his own right. He has a ton of fans on his own. He’s my producer and adds so much and is the best business partner and musical partner I could ask for. He’s just amazing.
Tell me a little bit about Baby2Baby and who it’s benefiting? I know $2 from all presale tickets sold will benefit this charity.
It’s a great charity I work with. They provide to underserved communities basic essentials and necessities like diapers and clothes and shoes, cribs, things like that that we all take for granted — but that mean everything to the people who really need them but can’t afford them.
Comedian Pete Lee opens for the She & Him Christmas Party, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, The Met Philadelphia.
Email DeHuff at email@example.com or @RuffTuffDH.