Carrie Underwood dropped her first-ever full-length Christmas albumMy Gift, on Friday (Sept. 25), and the singer recently explained that making the project was a much-needed creative escape for her after a demanding 2019 tour cycle and a challenging, unpredictable year in 2020.

In addition to giving her the chance to dive into a festive, creative space while she worked on  new music, My Gift afforded Underwood the opportunity to duet with some new collaborators. For example, the album features an adorable version of "Little Drummer Boy" that the singer recorded with her 5-year-old son, Isaiah.

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Underwood also joined forces with singer-songwriter John Legend for "Hallelujah," a song he wrote and sent to her while she was hard at work assembling the track list for My Gift.

"I was deep into making the album, and this one kind of came in. He sent it to us kind of at the end," the singer remembers during a recent episode of Today's Country Radio With Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music Country. Even though she'd already assembled much of the track list, Underwood immediately knew she needed to make room for "Hallelujah."

"It was like, 'Well, I love the song. I feel like this is a puzzle piece I didn't know was missing, but now that I've heard it, I have to have it,'" she recalls. "And so we just put the ask back, 'Thank you for sending, do you want to sing a part with me, too?'"

Underwood stresses that doing the song as a duet was her idea — not something that Legend or his team suggested when they first sent it her way.

"It was never brought up, like, 'Hey, here's the song if Carrie wants to sing it with me.' It was like, 'Here's the song if you want it,'" she continues, admitting that, "I hope they were hoping I'd ask."

With 11 tracks in total, My Gift is a mix of original material and classic holiday standards. It's available now.

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