A 15-year-old from Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania is making waves this week for her catchy holiday song, “Lonely Christmas.”
Wallis Schriver, whose stage name is simply Wallis, released her debut single on Dec. 3 without realizing she had a hit on her hands.
The young talent collaborated on the song with her dad, Gene Schriver, writing and recording the entire song last month as a way to channel their thoughts and feelings about the pandemic. Her younger sisters, Maren, 13, and Soleil, 10, accompanied her on the song to harmonize, making it a full family affair.
“I totally could see that the weight of the world was weighing on everybody,” Schriver told TODAY. “I could see it in my friends, I could see it through social media... I could kind of get a sense of this feeling of doom. So, we decided that we would incorporate a little of that in the song and try to tell everyone that this isn’t permanent and that everything is going to be okay."
Schriver, who has been playing music since she was a kid after getting involved in community theater, said that she and her musical family have worked on songs together before, but this year, they couldn't stop talking about ideas for a Christmas tune.
“We were thinking about how Christmas this year just feels less Christmassy than normal and people can’t see their families or do the normal Christmas activities that they might be doing,” she explained. “The holidays can be really tough for some people so we thought that we would try to get this out for this year because the sentiment of the song was very relevant.”
The teen hopes that while this song captures how everyone is feeling during the pandemic, it will still live on for Christmases to come.
"Though we don’t ever directly address COVID on the nose… we still felt that the message of the song was very relevant for this year," she said. "We hope it will carry on into future years and that it will be a timeless song.”
After going viral on Reddit and getting shared across Ellen DeGeneres' social channels, the video, filmed entirely on her dad's iPhone, has racked up 250,000 views on YouTube and over 5,000 plays on Spotify in less than two weeks. Philadelphia magazine columnist Victor Fiorillo also profiled the single, writing, "the Christmas song thing is a hard nut to crack," but Schriver "definitely cracked it."
Schriver said she didn’t expect this type of feedback on her first single. “I expected some of my friends to maybe watch it and say ‘Hey, good job on your song!’ but I really didn’t expect this,” she said. The family has tried to celebrate accordingly, but Schriver said they’re mostly just “trying to live in this moment and appreciate everything that’s happening right now.”
The singer plans on putting out more music in the future and is currently working on some of her upcoming songs to release as soon as possible. In the meantime, she's thankful for the support she's received in the past week on "Lonely Christmas."
“We just hope the song is timeless and we hope that people enjoy it in the future as well," she said. "Loneliness is always a universal feeling, regardless of if you’re surrounded by people or are literally alone. We just hope that people can listen to this in future years as well as the holidays can be hard for some people.
"We hope that it will continue to give people any sense of joy that it can.”