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Nicole C. Mullen: Like Never Before

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Numerous CDs, her latest: Like Never Before, 2017

Two Grammy nominations; Seven Dove Awards including Female Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year (for “Redeemer” and “On My Knees”), Songwriter of the Year, Urban Album of the Year (“Everyday People”), Contemporary Song of the Year (“Call on Jesus”)

First African American to win Songwriter of the Year

Has toured all over the world

Sought-after speaker and singer

Has appeared with Billy Graham and Women of Faith events

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Nicole’s new CD, “Like Never Before,” is her first original album in 7 years.  Her songs tell a story of love, loss and redemption and represent her coming out of a difficult season where she learned to forgive.  Nicole wrote 11 of the 12 songs and produced the project.  In the classic, Unforgettable, Nicole sings with her daughter Jasmine as a tribute to her late father.  She will sing Greater Still, a song she wrote when God’s love carried her through her difficult divorce, though for biblical reasons.  “I don’t want to throw stones.  Hurt people hurt people,” says Nicole.  “The Lord has healed me and I pray for my ex-husband’s healing as well.  I want to help people with what I’ve learned and how to have victory.  There is forgiveness for the perpetrator and for the victim.  I fasted, I prayed and I loved him, but sometimes you don’t get the answer you desire.  In the midst of the pain, I worshipped and called upon the Lord’s name for strength,” she says.  Nicole says our outlook in the dark times is what matters when we are going through them.  “I’ve learned the importance of forgiveness and releasing those who have hurt us.”

God gave Nicole a heart for the broken-hearted and single moms with whom she loves to share her story of love, loss and redemption. She is an advocate for unity and racial reconciliation and wrote the song, One.  Recently she sang this song to a diverse congregation in South Carolina, only a short distance from where the Charleston church massacre occurred. “Our oneness is the proof of our love,” she shared.  “In that moment, we were proving to the world that we belong to Christ by how we love one another. In John 17, Christ prays that we are one.  It can’t just be pretty words on a page; we have to engage.”

Nicole has been known as an artist unafraid to be vulnerable and transparent with her audience.  Nicole, now a single mom, courageously emerged from her divorce in 2014 and can relate to those who have walked through betrayal and hurt in the midst of relationship.

When Nicole was growing up, she knew the power of a praying mom and her dad, who sacrificed his own dreams of a music career to provide for his family.  Though her home life was secure, Nicole says life outside her immediate family was difficult.  Ladies from Nicole’s church made her clothes by hand.  Some of the girls on the school bus made fun of her every day and called her “Homemade.”  She realized the choice to forgive the cruelty of these young girls was up to her.  “I could choose to forgive and allow the Lord to heal, or I could choose to be the victim,” she says.  “I chose to forgive and because of that, God changed me.”  

Nicole is active in her local church and began tutoring inner-city kids on a weekly basis.  She participated in Kids Across America camps where she mentored young kids.  She also established a group called The Baby Girls Club.  Through this ministry Nicole began mentoring local girls, often opening up her home to them.  “Mentorship is our way of investing in young people with the hope of Christ and practical experiences,” says Nicole.  She has also helped others around the world set up similar clubs, like Belize and Zambia and hopes to expand in more countries.  “I believe we have a great opportunity to affect the future of our nation and the future of our world,” says Nicole.

Nicole started singing when she was 2 years old, gave her heart to Jesus when she was 8 and was writing songs by the time she was 12.  Both of her grandparents were Pentecostal preachers so Nicole and her sister were singing (and screaming) for the Lord.  She recalls much of her time growing up in the Cincinnati area that she had a mic in her hand.  By the time she was in junior high school, Nicole knew she wanted to be a singer.  The guidance counselor warned her that not many people make a living at that so she wanted Nicole to choose a career. Nicole’s answer was still a singer.  

She started her career after a man at her church hired Nicole to sing background vocals at his recording studio for $6 an hour.  This led to her first recording contract but the label went under.  In 1998, Nicole penned “On My Knees,” which was recorded by Jaci Velasquez and won Nicole “Song of the Year.” She sang as a vocalist for Michael W. Smith and the Newsboys and was a dancer/choreographer with Amy Grant.  She was also the voice on the Veggie Tales song, Larry Boy Theme, which sold more than 4 million CDs and videos!            

In 2000, Nicole was reading the story of Job which inspired her to write her hit song, Redeemer.  First, she penned the chorus based on Job’s words, “I know my Redeemer lives.”  The verses took her about a year to complete as she continued her study of Job, especially the chapter where God asks Job questions.  Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world?   Nicole wanted to make the statement that she might not be the smartest, but she knows that her Redeemer lives!

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