Britt Nicole File:
by Tracy Darlington
Britt Nicole Interview
record I was saying 'I wanna believe in love.' Now I'm
saying 'Love isn't always safe, but I understand it's worth
The Lost Get Found, Britt Nicole's follow up to her debut Say It album is filled with high-energy tracks, extremely catchy hooks, top 40 beats and lyrics that delve into the heart of real issues facing the youth of today.
The first single and title track from the album is already making waves at radio while on the road live Britt Nicole continues to touch lives of our youth directly through her songs and her message.
The Lost Get Found in
Britt’s words is ”... simply about being
who we are called to be as Christians, and through that, seeing the lost
get found. I believe that when we become who we are called to be, the lost
will come to know God.”
Tracy: How did you first know God was calling you to pursue music as a career?
was seventeen years old, and I was planning on going to college to study
University in Nashville, TN, and I had received
a scholarship to go to school.All summer I was planning to go. I had my dorm
and my roommate and everything. But honestly, the whole summer I had no peace
about going. It just didn't feel right. But I wanted to go, so I was kind
of ignoring that I didn't feel right about it in my heart. There were different
reasons why I wanted to go to school. One was just to get away - I had been
at home my whole life and I'd been really involved in ministry at church,
so I kind of wanted to get away.
But God spoke to me three weeks before I was to go to school, and He said to me, “Britt, you've surrendered part of your heart, but you haven't given me your life. If you give me your life I'll bring every dream to pass.” I began lifting up my hands to Him and started crying and I said, “God, I want You to use me. I want You to have my life.” I knew in that moment I wasn't supposed to go to school. I knew God was going to use me for something different. And I knew it was going to be ministry. I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know I was going to become an artist, but I knew I was going to probably be doing some kind of ministry. It was several months later I ended up writing some songs, and I started working on my first record.
When was that, when you started working on your first record?
I was seventeen years old; I was still living in North Carolina, which is where I'm from. I had met some guys that lived a town over from me, and they had a studio. They were songwriters and producers. We had met through a friend of mine who was doing a record with them. And I went over there to sing backup vocals on his record, and the producers said that they really liked my voice and that they'd love to work with me in the future. So when I decided not to go to school I remembered talking to them, and I went over to the studio and we wrote a song. I really liked it, and they were like, “Hey, let's do a record.” So we did. We did an independent, nine song record. It never went to radio or stores or anything. I just basically did the record and then went around to churches and sold it and sang at the churches. I got my start that way.
You sang in a trio with your brother and your cousin. How did that experience prepare you for where you are today?
I think my whole life has kind of prepared me. My mom was in southern Gospel music, so I always watched her sing and travel. My grandfather's a pastor, so I grew up being in his church. That's where my brother and my cousin started our group, within his church. We were all three around the same age - my brother is fifteen months older than me, and my cousin was a year older than me. We all loved music and we loved to sing, so we said, “OK, let's start a group.” So we did. We started traveling. We took one summer and traveled to the New England area and did a lot of concerts and competitions. It was good. It helped me learn what it's like to be on the road. It's different now 'cause I'm not traveling with a group; I'm a solo artist, but I do have a band that travels with me. I think my whole life has prepared me - growing up singing in church, being around ministry my whole life.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you first started in music?
It's hard work! (laughs) When I did my first independent record I was like, “Okay, God, here it is. Now You do something with this since You told me to do it.” I felt like He had spoken to me and said, “It's good that you have the faith, but it's going to take some work. You're going to have to get up and do it.” I've realized that it's a lot of hard work. Nothing is overnight. But I like to work hard, so I haven't had a problem with that.
Let's talk about your latest album, The Lost Get Found. What inspired you to record this project?
I had done my first record, Say It, which I say is my first record because it was my first one with Sparrow Records and was in stores and all that. My independent records were something that I did on my own. With the label that I'm on you put out a record every year. It was time for another record, so I started writing for The Lost Get Found. As far as my inspiration for my poems and my music, it just comes from real stories, real life experiences, things that I've gone through, things I've seen my friends and family members walk through. I'd write about those experiences and hope they can speak to other people and bring hope and say, “Hey, I've gone through this” or “My brother's walked through this,” or “my best friend's gone through this, and God was faithful to bring them through, so He can be faithful and do that in your life too.” I also try to write fun music that people can just enjoy; they don't have to think too hard. They can just put it on and have a good time.
Your song “Holiday” is a really catchy song. I've listened to it a million times!
Oh, thank you so much!
What message do you hope people come away with when they listen to The Lost Get Found?
It's about the title. I love that God gave me those words. I believe His heart is to see people come to know Him. It's really simple, but I know His heart is for the lost and the broken. I pray that #1. God uses the record as a key and tool to reach the lost and to show them the truth and give them real hope and real love. It's always in my ministry to reach the people who need hope. I walked through some things when I was younger. My parents were divorced, and I had a hard time getting through that. I think that because of the things I walked through, I can say, “Hey, I was there where I felt lost and broken, and God stepped in and gave me real hope.” I pray that with all my music people are encouraged and feel the love of God, that they feel strengthened to keep going. Especially with the title cut “The Lost Get Found”, it's really a message to other Christians to rise up and be who we're called to be, to step out in faith and reach the lost. I hope it encourages people to do that, and it has. I've already heard a lot of stories, so it's been cool to hear the response so far.
What's your favorite song on the album, and why?
The first one I think of is “Have Your Way”, the last song on the record. It's the one that is the closest to my heart. It just seemed very real and very personal. That is definitely a favorite. “Faith” is kind of in that same category; it's a really personal song. Those are sometimes my favorites because they're written from personal experience.
What was the biggest challenge you had when you recorded The Lost Get Found?
Oh, schedules! (laughs.) We had a tough time with schedules. We had a lot of different people working on the record, four different producers in total, two main producers and two who kind of helped out. Then getting all the musicians and everybody to work on the record, and working my schedule around touring and all that, just getting it together was tough at times. But we did it, finally! Musically everything came together really well. That part wasn't difficult. The hardest thing was coordinating everybody's schedule.
How was making your second album different from making your first?
For the first one I worked with one main producer most of the record, and then I had one guy just do two songs. But with this record it was a mix of three to four different people, so sometimes that can be challenging. You want everybody to get the vision, which they did. But it was difficult just going from studio to studio and going back and forth. I was mostly dealing with two different studios, but within those studios I'd be in one room with a producer for part of the day, and then I'd be in another room with another producer the other half of the day. Then I'd go to a studio across town to the other producer. Then the other guy who helped me write a lot of songs on the record, I was in his studio part of the time as well, so it was four different studios altogether!
It's easier when you have one studio, and you just kind of make your home there for a couple months. You feel like everything you need is right there versus driving across town from one studio to the next, trying to make sure the whole record is coming together and sounds like one record. 'Cause when you work with different people it can sound totally different. But it came together; it was definitely everything I wanted it to be. I'm thankful for it.
What was the funnest part of the recording process?
I was blessed to be able to write songs with people I love and who I feel understand me and understand my heart and my mission, what I'm here to do. Being able to connect with people who really believe in me and the calling God has on my life. They are there to support you and help you write great songs. It was great. And it was so much fun to work with these people who are my friends. That was the best part. I love the songwriting part of the record.
Do you have any advice for teenagers trying to pursue their dreams?
Be faithful in the small things, where you are, and God will give you the bigger things. That's in His Word. I had a roommate who was living with me for about six months, a good friend of mine. She was working at Starbucks, and she had bigger dreams she felt like God had for her. I told her, “Be faithful even at Starbucks. Do the best you can and serve those people who you work with.” When God sees our faithfulness He keeps moving us along. I had to be faithful in the choir at my church where my grandfather was a pastor. Then God began to open more doors.
What's the coolest prayer God's ever answered for you?
I have a prayer room in my house, and I used to have a wall where I would write prayer requests. I would put them up, and when they were answered I would put up that they were answered. God's love, His faithfulness. The night He called me into ministry and told me that if I would give Him everything He would make my dreams come to pass. I told Him, “Lord, I'm scared to let go of all these things I'm holding onto, but I'm trusting You that You are gonna do what You say.” And He's done that.
Also, I just thought of another one. I wrote on the last record a song called “Believe”. It was a prayer to God saying, “God, help me believe in love. I wanna believe in love. I struggle with believing in love, and I need your help.” I struggled seeing my parents go through a divorce and dealing with things in my own personal life. I didn't know if love was real. God has definitely over the last two years been answering that prayer. I wrote the song “Faith” on this new record, and it talks about God coming in and breaking down all the walls I put up in my heart. “Faith” is almost an answered prayer thing, like “All right, God, You're moving me along. Last record I was saying “I wanna believe in love.” Now I'm saying “Love isn't always safe, but I understand it's worth the risk.” It's cool to see the journey God's had me on, from a place where I was having a hard time believing to where now I do believe, and even though it's sometimes hard I at least believe. God has done that in my heart in the last two years, and that's a huge answered prayer.
This question comes from one of my Facebook friends. What's one thing you would say to your ten year old fans?
I have a song on the record called “Headphones”. I actually wrote it to my cousin, who is around ten years old; I think she's twelve now. I wrote this song for her. I would encourage the ten year old girl to listen to it. The first verse talks about how we want to fit in, and how sometimes we want to be like everybody else. But God has something so special for you, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and He made you unique. He made you to be who you are. If you're ten years old, you're kind of figuring out who you are. You're learning different things at school. You're seeing that some people live one way, and some people live a different way. I would encourage her to be who she is, and to not be afraid to stand up for God.
You're next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
I have a couple favorite drinks. I love the pumpkin spice latte that only appears there in fall. But right now, since pumpkin spice latte is not here yet, I usually get a white mocha with three pumps. It comes with four, and I get it with three, 'cause four pumps is too sweet for me. I love white mocha. Or I do a London fog, which is Earl Grey tea with soy milk, and it's really good. Or I get a Venti iced chai, which you probably knows from “Holiday”. When I wrote that song, that was my favorite drink, and I would drink it every day. (laughs) I don't drink it as much now. Now I have to write a song that says, “White Mocha, You're my closest friend.”
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.