Meet Nicole C. Mullen
Produced by Justin Neibank and Nicole’s husband David Mullen, this long anticipated album captures the heart and soul of the Cincinnati, Ohio, native. Set against a sonic tapestry that Nicole describes as "funkabilly", The album explores themes of self-worth ("Homemade"), racial harmony ("Black, White, Tan"), and her defiant faith in Jesus ("Shooby"). "Musically, NICOLE C. MULLEN is a hybrid of a lot of different styles," Nicole explains. "Funk, R&B, pop, and black gospel mixed generously with folk and hillbilly, but with urban grooves running throughout. A lot of the songs are in story form; stories about my family, my childhood, my faith."
The album, like its author, is vivacious, joyful, and relentlessly enthusiastic, while maintaining an uncanny ability to speak with honesty and vulnerability about life as it is. And about life as it should be. Born into a loving, nurturing Christian home, Nicole knew the stability of a mother who prayed for her daily and a father who worked at the same job for thirty-eight years, sacrificing his own dreams of a music career to provide for his family. With grandparents on both sides of the family who were Pentecostal preachers, Nicole both heard and received the Gospel at an early age. And from an early age she found herself singing. "It was something that I loved to do, that I felt called to do," she says. "I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I always knew that if doing music was the Lord's will for me, then I wouldn't have to strive for it."
While Nicole's home life was secure, life outside the loving confines of family could be cruel. "I wasn't cute," she says bluntly. "And I didn't have a lot of stuff. Ladies from church would make clothes for me. They were decent, but you could tell they weren't store-bought. There were some girls who rode on the school bus, who would make fun of me. ‘Homemade.’ That's what they would call me," she muses without animosity. "Every morning, religiously. 'Here comes Homemade!' But I remember thinking, 'God still has a plan for me that these girls cannot touch.' I came to the conclusion that it really wasn’t up to the perpetrator to determine how I was going to turn out. It was up to me. The choice was mine. I could choose to forgive, and allow the Lord to heal the hurt, or I could choose to be a victim. I chose to forgive those girls, and because of that, God has changed me."
Nicole recounts the event in her semi-autobiographical song, "Homemade." She does not deny the hurt or the heartbreak. Instead she allows love to do its perfect work. "It is amazing what Love can do," she sings. "Ain't it amazing what Love can do?"
The album's sound struts confidently into dance-pop territory with cuts like "Butterfly" and the funk-tinged "Shooby." And "On My Knees," the song recorded by Jaci Velasquez that earned Nicole, the writer, a Dove Award® for Song of the Year in 1998, is delivered with enough passion and emotion to drive those with the hardest of hearts to their knees. Nicole captures the inherent tension of each song on the project, wrapping her delicious, mellifluous vocals around each, imbuing them with warmth and charm. She invites, cajoles, compels you to join her in the dance of life. "I want you to know this Christ that I know," she insists. "And if it takes me jumping around, shaking my hair on stage—if it takes me screaming at the top of my lungs, or dancing 'til I'm sweaty, whatever it takes, I want to convince you that this Christ that I have is real."
While NICOLE C. MULLEN focuses the spotlight on Nicole the singer/songwriter, there is another side of Nicole that is equally comfortable in the footlights. She honed her performing skills singing backup, dancing, and choreographing for such chart-topping acts as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and the Newsboys. Kids around the world recognize her as "Serena the Cat" on the Dove Award winning video series YO! KIDS and as the vocalist on the Larry Boy Theme Song from VeggieTales™. And she recently wrapped up a role in "The Story You Can Believe In," an episode of THE VISUAL BIBLE FOR KIDS from Tommy Nelson.
Nicole has not just spent the past few years polishing her skills as a performer. She has also focused her attention on her role as wife/mother/minister. Married to singer/songwriter David Mullen, the couple has two children, Jasmine and Max, who occupy center stage at the Mullen homestead. Together David and Nicole act as youth leaders in their local church, tutor inner-city kids on a weekly basis, and participate in the Kids Across America summer camp where they model the family unit to inner-city kids.
With NICOLE C. MULLEN, this multi-talented woman truly comes into her own, expressing her own musical ideas in her own inimitable style. But for Nicole Mullen, ministry is more than a hit record. It is a way of life. "I travel around the country singing to young people," she explains. "I encourage them to give their lives to Christ while they are young. Live it. Talk it. Christ is real. Without Him I would have nothing to sing about."
Information courtesy of Word Records