REBECCA Newman, the People’s Soprano from Rawcliffe, York, is a 100/1 shot with bookies William Hill for the Christmas number one with her version of Holidays Are Coming (Wonderful Dream), the song from Coca Cola’s Christmas truck advert.

“It could be a dark horse for the top spot, though I know I have a David and Goliath task on my hands, going up against Simon Cowell’s X Factor and Gareth Malone’s Voices, as well as lots of other big names like Lily Allen and Leona Lewis,” says Rebecca, whose festive promotional video has gone viral, attracting 88,0000 YouTube hits and rising.

The odds place her alongside George Michael, James Blake and The Pogues in the Christmas runners and riders.

The nostalgic video was directed by Christopher David, of York company Flash Frame Productions, and features a 1939 Peckett tank steam locomotive, railway volunteers, staff from the Yorkshire Museum of Farming and a cast of children and adults from the theatre company We Are Theatre.

“I filmed the Christmas video at the Derwent Valley Light Railway at Murton and under the magnificent stained-glass window in Durham Town Hall,” says Rebecca.

“It’s already been retweeted by celebrity singers and public figures and even shared on social media by the niece of Melanie Thornton, the singer who originally released the song but died in a plane crash in Switzerland two days before its release.”

Melanie’s family have posted supportive comments and are helping to promote Rebecca’s video in the US. “I’m using the viral video campaign to raise awareness for the Melanie Thornton Foundation, a charity set up by Melanie’s family after her death, to bring arts education to children aged eight to 14,” says Rebecca, who has “thrown everything” at her recording.

“I’ve ploughed all my savings into this song and I’ve had the help of funds from my fans to put a 24-piece string section and top session singers on the record,” she says. “I was worried I would sound a bit strange singing such a ‘poppy’ track but it has turned out even better than I hoped, with a beautiful, timeless, almost Disney-like quality.” Rebecca recorded her vocals at Melrose Yard Studios, in Walmgate, York, then sent them south to her producer, Gareth Williams, in Cambridgeshire.

“Holidays Are Coming is instantly recognisable from the Coca Cola advert, which uses the original backing vocals for its jingle, but there’s a sweet, festive song that goes over the top of that,” she says.

She hopes the single will bring her more exposure ahead of the February release of her album Dare To Dream, which will feature the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and a collaboration with Classic BRIT award winners Blake.

“My York preview show for the album is on December 18 at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, at which I’ll be singing the Christmas song and showing the video,” says Rebecca, who will be joined by the male close harmony group Spirit Of Harmony.

Holidays Are Coming can be downloaded from all major music sites and 10p from every download from iTunes will go to ChildLine. The video can be seen at YouTube and Rebecca’s website, The bid for number one signs off a year in which Rebecca recorded the official theme song for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, Heroes To The World, and sang at the televised matches between Ireland and Fiji and Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

Rebecca is playing seven concerts this month, including the Union Chapel in London on Monday and her 7.30pm concert in York on Wednesday, from which 20 per cent of the profits will go to ChildLine. Tickets cost £14, concessions £12, on 01904 623568 or at


Win tickets: What’s On has two pairs of tickets to be won for Rebecca’s concert next week.

Question: What is Rebecca’s rugby league world cup song called?

Send your answer, with your name, address and daytime phone number, by email to, marked Rebecca Competition, by Monday, 10am. Usual rules apply.