"I didn’t think I had it in me": Steven Wilson has released a surprise Christmas song after an unlikely challenge from a friend

Steven Wilson
(Image credit: Press)

Steven Wilson, an artist not noted for past festive frivolity, has released a surprise Christmas song, December Skies.

This being Steven Wilson, December Skies arrives with some caveats. The song was composed after a friend challenged him to write a Christmas song, something Wilson readily admits "isn't really me". He's also admitted to using the AI interface Chat GPT to help write the lyrics.

“Challenged by a friend last week on why I’d never done a Christmas song, I protested it wasn't really me, and besides I didn’t think I had it in me to write suitably Christmassy lyrics," Wilson explains. "'No problem', he said, 'we’ll get Chat GPT to do it for you!', upon which he instructed the AI to generate Christmas lyrics in the style of Steven Wilson. Which it proceeded to do so. By the yard, in fact, I was shocked at how instantaneous and easy it was to guide it ("don’t actually mention Christmas" we said to it, "make it feel more lonely”, etc…)  

"I’m still not entirely sure what I think about AI, the knee-jerk reaction is to consider it a threat to a musician like me, but it’s clearly not going away, so this is my experiment to try embracing it and using it as a tool in the creative process.  And of course also to have some fun doing something I would never normally have thought about doing, the archetypal seasonal song. December Skies is the result, swiftly recorded last weekend and written in collaboration with an Artificial Intelligence version of myself.  I wonder what people will make of it. I wonder what make of it.”

The new video for December Skies comes has also been generated using a purpose built AI system created by Miles Skarin. The video is based on imagery drawn from some of Wilson’s previous videos then placed into 2D and 3D backdrops. 

December Skies' music is played and recorded by Steven Wilson, with the guitar solo and backing vocals by Randy McStine.


Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.