Late in the evening of December 20, five days before Christmas, Portland’s Laryssa Birdseye gathered her cast of friends in the heart of the city, staying warm together in the frigid temperatures under the light of the tree in Pioneer Square.
The holiday season is saturated with love—couples in mittens hold hands, stroll through lit city streets, and kiss under the mistletoe. However, even with all the picture-perfect scenes of happiness, the Christmas season can be one of heartbreak. This was the idea Birdseye wanted to capture in her song.
In the early weeks of December, the Portland songstress went to work writing her own song for the holiday season, a shout-out to and spotlight on those who experience the sadder end of the most wonderful time of the year. The song itself is an ode to the lonely hearts and offers a bit of empowerment to those who find themselves solo on Christmas Day.
“Girl dry your eyes, you’ll be alright,” Birdseye sings. “You can’t cry on Christmas Day.”
With a song written, recorded and produced in just a few days' time, Birdseye and friends pulled off a miraculous feat, even shooting the music video for the track within the span of a few hours in the late evening, strolling through the streets of downtown Portland.
The video depicts the song from the perspective of three couples: one happy couple, in love from beginning to end, and two couples that will ultimately end in holiday despair—a couple who’s hit the end of their long road, and another young couple in a spat.
With friends gathered and cameras rolling, the plotting of the scenes came out naturally and spontaneously. A choir that happened to be in the area at the same time as filming made a cameo in the beginning, providing the perfect scene for the couples to be introduced. And a broken ankle from the youngest cast member offered a spontaneous moment of comic relief as she hurled her crutches at the boy who broke her heart.
Throughout the song’s proceedings Birdseye and her dog Felix play witness to the night of these three couples. Upon the heartbreak of the evening, the two freshly single girls find each other and raise a glass to the season, lifting each other up and owning the night in the end.
“Even though you may be alone on Christmas, you never really are,” says Emma Davis, a fan (and friend of Birdseye’s) turned actress, who plays one-half of the millennial couple in the video. “I think that’s what the holidays are about. Even if something bad happens, you’re never really alone. Everyone’s there for each other in the end.”
With a brilliant debut album already under her belt, “Can’t Cry on Christmas” continues Laryssa Birdseye’s winning streak. Her honest lyricism and sharp vocal delivery shine on this holiday ode to heartbreak. For all those who find themselves away from the mistletoe this Christmas, Birdseye offers her hand to pick up the broken pieces.