LITHIA — Iraq veteran Mark Goujon just released his peppy new holiday single, “Loud and Proud Christmas,” sung by country and Christian recording artist Melodie Crittenden.
“Say your season’s greetings, have no shame, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, I’ll do the same,” say the lyrics. “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, say it loud and proud for all to hear.”
The song refers to Santa, the Grinch, Frosty and Rudolph and asks, “Does anyone still recall the most famous birthday of them all?”
Goujon adapted “Loud and Proud Christmas” from a poem he wrote.
He sang made-up songs as a child and wrote award-winning poetry in high school but started writing songs in earnest in 2011, when he met Sylvia Powell at a Brandon Christian Writers meeting.
Powell, a writer, songwriter and former owner of a Nashville music-publishing company, “jump-started my songwriting by introducing me to John Darnall, who I hired to write the melody for the Christmas song,” Goujon said.
In July 2014, he started a music-publishing business, Get Your Gouj On Music Company, and launched his website, www.goujon music.com.
Goujon lives in Lithia with his wife, Jaime, for whom he wrote “You’re My Soul Mate,” and their 14-month-old daughter, Nadia, who inspired, “My Heart Go Wild.”
Ideas for lyrics, he said, come from experiences and people who have had a profound impact on him. Sometimes he sings into a recorder during his hourlong commute to his civilian job as a defense contractor at MacDill Air Force Base.
“Later, in the middle of the night, I’ll play back my recordings and fine tune the lyrics into a song,” he said. “My creative process inspired my song ‘Dreamer of the Night,’ because I do the majority of my creative projects between midnight and dawn.”
While deployed to Iraq as a tech sergeant in the Air Force, Goujon lost six comrades. In their honor, he spearheaded the creation of the Iraq Veterans Memorial at the Veterans Memorial Park and Museum in Tampa from 2011 to its dedication on Dec. 14, 2013.
Three of Goujon’s patri- otic songs were sung by Nashville singer, songwriter and producer Jason Wyatt at the ceremony.
Goujon also is writing a memoir, “Out of My Comfort Zone,” about his stint in Iraq.
“I don’t have time for everything,” he said. “My focus now is promoting my two newly released songs and finding artists to cut my other songs. I make time for my family first, passions second and sleep last. On average I only sleep three to four hours a night, so that gives me about 20 hours a day to knock out my to-do list.”
Streaming and downloadable versions of “Loud and Proud Christmas” are available for 99 cents on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.
To fans who are telling family, friends and radio stations about his holiday tune, Goujon said, “Thank you and Merry Christmas!”