Before coming out with her first natioally released album
in 2000, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Nicole C. Mullen worked as
a vocalist with Michael W. Smith and the Newsboys, as a songwriter for
Jaci Velasquez, and as a dancer and choreographer with Amy Grant.
Her love of music began well before then, though. From
the age of two, Nicole recalls having a mic in her hand on most occassions.
During much of Mullen's childhood, she spent time singing with family
and friends in the Cincinnati area. "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."
When Nicole C. Mullen was 12, she began writing her own
songs. One of the songs she co-wrote for Velaszuez, "On My Knees," won
the 1998 GMA Song of the Year award. When Nicole describes her songwriting
style, she often refers to it as "funkability." She likes to blend
many genres of music, including R&B, folk, gospel, disco, hillbilly,
and pop. Many of her songs are in story form and are about her faith,
her childhood, her family, and her friends.
Nicole's musical career began when a man at her church
hired her to work as a background singer at his recording studio for
$6 an hour. This eventually led to her first recording contract, although
the label did go under. While with the label, she was recommended to
work with David Mullen on a recording project. Three years and quite
a few disagreements later, they decided they were better together than
apart, and were married.
Since their marriage, they have adopted one child, had
two more, and have two dogs and a pack of cats at their home in rural
Franklin, Tennessee. Her family means the world to her and she spends
much of her time with them, often only touring on Thursdays through
Saturdays so she can be with her her children during the school week.
Most often, her family accompanies her on the road. David is a co-producer
of her albums and she adds her vocal tracks at a home studio with her
David helped Nicole "stay in the business" duing the 1990's
through background singing, songwriting, and dancing. After the success
of the song, "I Get On My Knees," Nicole signed with Warner Bros./Curb/Word
Records, becoming a perennial awards nominee and an advocate for numerous
causes. Her self-titled debut album came out in 2000. Since then, she
has released three more albums, her latest being Everyday People, which
was released September 14, 2004.
Nicole C. Mullen chose "Everyday People" as the title
of her new album becuase, "I am everyday people when it comes down to
it," she says thoughtfully. "We all get to do different things, but
when we take everything else off-we take the titles off, we take the
job descriptions off, we take the salaries away-we're all everyday people
that hurt, that bleed, that cry, regardless of the skin color, regardless
of the title of our job."
When writing the songs for the albun, Nicole says she
was mostly influenced by everyday people. Often when I'm writing, the
people I'm seeing in my head are the people I've seen at my concerts-people
who have e-mailed me or sent me letters afterward. It definitely let's
me know that I'm singing for a hurting audience-vulnerable people who
are crying out to God, people who are going through circumstances, people
who are 'everyday'. Songs like "Bye, Bye Brianna", "Valorie" and others
Mullen views her opportunity to be on stage "not as a
vehicle for self-glorification but as a chance to connect with everyday
people from other walks of life." Nicole desperatly wants to give hope
to a hurting nation and show her audience the overwhelming joy that
can only be experienced through knowing Christ Jesus.
Nicole says this new album contains a lot more R&B and
funk, and that it really represents who she is. Christianity Today comments:
"In many ways, listening to this album is like entering someone's life
through her photo album. Mullen presents aural snapshots of people and
moments of her life. As in any photo album, the collection is varied,
sometimes quirky, and always telling. Each song captures an overarching
truth revealed through an ordinary moment made extraordinary by the
greater meanings imparted by faith."
Nicole is involved in many types of activities and ministries
besides singing. "Sometimes we think we are what we do," she explains.
"We are not. I am not a singer. I sing-that is what I do. But I am Nicole-the
mother, the wife, the friend, the daughter, the mentor, the mentee-that's
who I am."
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.
Nicole has also established a group called "The Baby Girls
Club." Through this ministry, she mentors to girls that live in her
area, often opening up her her home to them.
"When I was younger," Nicole C. Mullen says, "somebody
from my church that I really respected-that I thought was gorgeous and
very talented-spoke into my life. She would take me to her house at
times and she would comb my hair or encourage me in my singing. In her
belief in me, she gave me belief in myself, so I love doing that with
other young girls."
Another of Nicole's passions is her work with the International
Needs Network Ghana to work at freeing Trokosi slaves.
Nicole C. Mullen
Everyday People (2004)
Live from Cincinnati: Bringin' It Home (2003)
Christmas in Black & White (2002)
Talk About It (2001)
Following His Hand: A Ten Year Journey (2001)
Nicole C. Mullen (2000)
Wish Me Love (1992)
Don't Let Me Go (1991)
Nicole C. Mullen awards and nominations:
Nicole C. Mullen has won and been nominated for several Grammy and
Dove Awards, including Song of the Year and Female Vocalist of the
Nicole C. Mullen's statement of purpose:
"I sing to a hurting audience," Mullen suggests, "because I live
in a hurting world so I feel like it's part of my job to present hope.
My goal in life is to encourage those that are out there listening.
How can I make the next four minutes of this song worth more than
just four minutes? How can I leave somebody with hope? That's my goal
and if I accomplish that then it's worth more than a Grammy, worth
more than a Dove, worth more than any of them."
"Without Him," Nicole C. Mullen says, "I would have nothing to sing about."
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