Can 'A Purdy Handy Christmas' Make Number One?
Comedian Ryan Hand attempts to beat this year's X Factor winner to top spot this Christmas
Hello Ryan. Tell us about your Christmas single, 'A Purdy Handy Christmas'.
The song was written by myself and my friend, Matthew Purdy. It mocks family life during the festive period: getting woolly socks as presents that you don't want, eating Quality Street and watching Home Alone while your dad gets a rollicking for being on the beer. I've always wanted to write a Christmas song and thought to myself, 'How hard can it be to get to number one?'
Well, I have my answer, because Paddy Power offered us odds of 80/1, as did Bet Victor, but they slashed us to 50/1, meaning we now have shorter odds than Justin Bieber at 66/1. Being listed on a betting website alongside the likes of Rihanna and One Direction is comical in itself, and has done wonders for our sales.
It seems that everyone is talking about the song – on social media, on radio and in print. How did that happen?
My computer scientist house mate came up with a social media campaign entitled 'Giz a Hand At Xmas'. We've had to do some pretty embarrassing things to get the word out, but we're fine with that. Comedy is my middle name. (I do stand-up myself, and run the LOL Comedy Club in Newcastle, County Down.)
Who wrote the song?
It was written in my house over two nights. I had a good base of lyrics and the chord structure, and Purdy and I chopped and changed the vocals to make it funnier. I've written quite a lot of songs in my time – comedy songs and genuine music. You may have heard my song about Rory McIlroy, which is a total mick take of our wee Rors.
Where did you record the song?
It was recorded in Whitehead on an estate, and by estate I don't mean council, I mean laddy da country. There were pheasants and peacocks roaming around the front garden of the producer Connor Scullion's house. We also had his brother Donal helping out with the instrumentation.
It was great to have two super-talented musicians helping us. This was in early November and we were adorned in tinsel and Christmas jumpers. The lady in the petrol station gave me a funny look when she saw the snowman and his carrot nose poking out from my chest.
The video is absolutely dreadful, just as all good Christmas music videos should be. Who produced it?
My good friend Aaron Butler, aka Sammy from Nordie Shore. We bounced ideas off each other and, with a budget of £30, produced a purposefully cheesy video that would make Daniel O'Donnell blush. I wanted some fake snow, so I cut up some A4 pieces of paper – that's showbiz. My favourite scene is the closing scene, which was filmed on the roof of my kitchen. Purdy loses his balance and nearly falls 15 feet, but luckily I was his knight in shining armour and grabbed him just in time.
Why are you hoping 'A Purdy Handy Christmas' becomes this year's Christmas number one?
Purely for the royalties. I want a yacht and a small island in Barbados, just. Actually, I'd love the song to be number one because the money from downloads is being donated to Cancer Research and The Eve Appeal, an ovarian cancer charity I support following my mum's death.
Also, imagine the look on Simon Cowell's face if we romped to the top of the charts, with King Ding unable to do anything about it. It would also be nice to be part of Christmas folklore, to be written into the annals of festive history.
Where can people purchase the song?
Virtually every music download site, like iTunes, Amazon, Shazam et cetera. Each track is 79p and the Culture Northern Ireland readers are all absolutely minted, and totally cultured, so they will obviously be able to download a track from each site. We've also got the video on YouTube – it has over 6,000 views – and in the coming days Movie House Cinemas are playing our campaign video and the song during trailers before films.
How many copies are you hoping to sell?
I'd like to say millions, but if we get into the thousands, that's not so bad. People have posted on our social media sites saying, 'Just purchased "A Purdy Handy Christmas" all the way from Dubai', so it's obviously got international appeal. Apparently you need roughly 3,000 downloads per week to get into the top 40, so if everyone reading this downloads our song, we might be in with a sneaky chance.
What is your favourite Christmas song of all time?
The clichéd old favourite has to be 'A Fairytale of New York'. When you hear it, you throw your arm around a close mate, pint in hand and full of glee. I also like Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas'. That is the one song that has most blokes up on the dance floor lip syncing into an invisible mic, making them look incredibly camp.
How do you rate your chances of getting to number one this Christmas?
I'm incredibly optimistic. I joined BBC Northern Ireland five years ago as a fresh-faced 21-year-old thinking that I'd get my own TV show on the first day. But I've still go that optimism. (I've presented a few things on BBC and UTV since, but if it takes any longer to bag my own show, I'm going to have to kidnap someone.) That's the kind of attitude you need to make Christmas number one!