He is, indeed, the host of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Sure, he’s appeared in films, hosted “Saturday Night Live,” and recently debuted a new show, “That’s My Jam.”
But Jimmy Fallon has always wished for his “That Thing You Do!” movie moment, when he hears his song played on the radio. And he’s ready for that moment, which comes on Tuesday with the release of his holiday tune “It Was A… (Masked Christmas),” which features Ariana Grande and Megan Thee Stallion.
Fallon told The Associated Press, “I almost feel like I’m Beyoncé or Drake.” “I’ve always wanted to surprise release a single, and it’s finally happening.” What a crazy ride life is.”
“It Was A… (Masked Christmas)” began as an idea Fallon had in August while recording at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan. “I wanted to write something reflecting on how difficult it was for everyone last year during the holidays and that it’s going to get better,” he said, adding that he planned to include some humor about putting Purell on everything and families cramming into the laundry room to get on Zoom because that’s where the best Wi-Fi is. He also likes saying “booster,” especially with a Boston accent.
Fallon had Grande in mind for the hook while creating the song with producer Ido Zmishlany, well known for his work with Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber, but when he reached out to her, he didn’t hear back straight away because she was busy as a coach on “The Voice.” Then, in the middle of October, she responds, stating, “I love this song.” You sound fantastic. This is hilarious, in my opinion. Let’s get started. I’m working on it. “I’m going to record in the studio tomorrow.”
She also inquires as to who will perform the song’s rap, which Fallon performed in the demo. “Are you kidding me?” Grande texts Megan Thee Stallion. Ariana and Jimmy, my best friends? Let’s get started.”
Fallon was taken aback by how rapidly the song was coming together. “A week ago, it was nothing,” he added. “And now the world’s two biggest stars are saying, ‘Let’s play and shoot a video.'”
Despite the end result being lighthearted and campy, the video shoot was difficult due to everyone’s hectic schedules. Fallon shot his parts with Grande in Los Angeles after taping two episodes of “That’s My Jam,” one of which featured Grande and the other “Voice” coaches. A few weeks later, he shot his sequences with Megan Thee Stallion in New York.
At a time when getting vaccinated for COVID-19 can be a divisive issue, Fallon hopes that people would listen to the song in the manner that it was written. “It would be fantastic if we could encourage them to go get the booster or the vaccine,” he said. “If not, I hope it just makes people smile and have fun.”
Fallon, who has long been a listener of Christmas music all year, said the outbreak motivated him to spread some cheer.
“It was kind of a wake-up call where you think, ‘Why don’t we do everything we can to make people happy?'” he added. “We tend to forget about these things. And now is a perfect opportunity to get together and celebrate.”