Michael Johns is gearing up to release his first post-“American Idol” album in March 2009, but this holiday season, he’s lending his musical talents to charity.
Michael will release “Another Christmas,” an original song he penned, via iTunes December 9, with 50 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Red Cross, and the other half – thanks to his friendship with Access Hollywood’s Nancy O’Dell – to help out the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also known as ALS.
“I was getting a bunch of songs together and sharing with my managers all the songs I’d written and on the disc, I guess, was that song,” Michael told AccessHollywood.com on Tuesday. “They said, ‘We’ve got to release it!’ and I said, ‘Look, the only way I’d do it is if I could do it for charity.’”
Michael, one of the many people saddened by the loss of Nancy’s beloved mom, Betty, to ALS earlier this year, called her up when it was decided “Another Christmas” was getting a release.
“I got to know Nancy a little bit and I said, ‘I don’t know if you’d be interested, but I’m going to donate proceeds to charity,’” he recounted. “I said to Nancy, ‘Is it possible maybe that we could do something for ALS?’ because I know what Nancy had told me — the funding is not even close to what other diseases get and it’s just a terrible disease… Nancy jumped on board and it’s just been kind of amazing ever since.”
As for Nancy, an early Michael Johns supporter on “Idol,” she was thrilled with the news.
“When Michael called me and told me he wanted to donate the proceeds from his song, I was so incredibly touched,” she said. “Before I met him, I was pulling hard for him on ‘Idol’ because I thought he seemed so genuine and, of course, I loved his voice. Now that he and his wife are my friends, I know my instincts about his sincerity were correct.”
The song too has sincere roots. Michael originally penned it in 2006, when circumstances kept him from returning to his native Australia for Christmas.
“I had to give my mom the bad news that I wouldn’t be able to come home for Christmas and she was so disappointed,” Michael explained. “I woke up one night and just wrote this song out of nowhere. I just wanted to tell them all that I loved them and missed them and that I was proud to be in the family kind of thing and sorry, I wasn’t going to be home.”
Until now, the song has just been a staple in the Johns’ family household at Christmas, but Michael said his mother certainly doesn’t mind sharing it with the world.
“She’s just so proud that I’m doing it for charity. She’s always wanted me to release the song,” Michael said. “She said, ‘People need to hear it.’ It’s definitely something I’m getting used to. It went to radio yesterday so people are already hearing it.”