North Preston musician Reeny Smith's career has been informed by her musical roots since childhood.
Her grandparents were musical, her father a bassist, and her church a gospel haven. She was enveloped by music her whole life.
Now, she's bringing what she knows and loves to The Carleton stage for a holiday show.
Reeny's Family Christmas will marry her R&B flavour with home-rooted yuletide tunes we all know and love.
"Growing up, I loved Christmas, but I've never done a Christmas show. I wanted to do a collection of my favourite classic songs I grew up singing at home," she said.
"I also mixed in gospel songs from the church. I need to show what Christmas was always like for me, especially in my house."
Family members will join the musician on-stage, and audiences will get an in-depth, personal view on how the Smith family does Christmas.
"I was always surrounded by music. My childhood being around musicians and music informed who I am today so much. I got my first keyboard when I was five," she said.
But her time at North Preston's St. Thomas United Baptist Church also helped to shape who she is today.
"It was always such a musical hub in our community. There was nowhere else you could go to be more musically educated than that church. We were surrounded by talent," she said.
"We were mentored by older musicians, and it was so amazing for my development to have those kinds of people around."
While Smith appreciates all the homegrown support for her music, she's too busy living one step at a time to really look at what's going on.
"I live in the moment. I bet one day I'll reflect back on these times and remember everything and how great it's been. But right now, I'm just taking all of this in and enjoying it," she said.
From a Canada Day performance in HRM to opening up at the Halifax Jazz Festival, it seems Smith has been everywhere this year.
"This is all just validation for me. It assures me I made a good choice in pursuing my gifts and talents," she said.
"People are recognizing the work I've put in, and the quality of work on display. It's amazing to know we're doing this right."
As she gets ready for her Christmas show, she is excited to get up on the storied stage at The Carleton.
"It's amazing there. The way this music industry is, we don't have many live venues anymore. We don't have many with the reputation The Carleton has, which is such a music-first place," she said.
"I wish we had more spots like that. They are always working to ensure there is music in Halifax, and fight to keep the industry alive."
She said people can expect great things from the pre-Christmas gig.
"They will see a big twist on classic Christmas songs, as well as high-intensity, high-energy music," she said.
"We also have a special song planned with guests coming. This will be a real party."
Reeny's Family Christmas is Dec. 16 at The Carleton. The matinee show is sold out, but tickets are still available for the evening show, which starts at 7 p.m.