In June 2006, I conducted an online interview with Afro-American Contemporary Christian star Nicole C. Mullen. Most popular for her Dove Award-winning song Redeemer, Mullen and her unique brand of CCM set the charts ablaze in the late 90s and early 2000s. When I conducted this interview, she had released a CD, Everyday People, the carrier single of which was a revival of the former pop #1 song of the same title by Sly and the Family Stone.
You’ve been blessed immensely, having been in the music industry for at least six years, three albums, Dove awards, and countless accolades to your credit. What is, in your opinion, the best thing you’ve got going for you right now?
Nicole C. Mullen: I believe that my greatest assets are my faith in Jesus Christ, family, friends, and fans. With this combination there should never be a shortage of song ideas and inspiration.
You’ve had several hits written by yourself, including the worldwide smashes Redeemer and Call on Jesus. How does Nicole C. Mullen begin to write a song?
Nicole C. Mullen: Everytime is different; sometimes it starts with a simple idea of a message that I want to get across, or a melody that might just come into my head, and then I fill in the blanks by adding lyrics like a puzzle. Sometimes a song is sparked by a conversation, an encounter, a scripture or an emotion.
It’s interesting that the first single off your new album, Everyday People, is a track not written by you. How does it feel to release a cover for the first time? And what was your motivation for choosing a track by Sly Stone, of all people?
Nicole C. Mullen: The album was already written and titled ‘Everyday People” before I ever knew the song called Everyday People by Sly and the Family Stone. I remember hearing it from a car commercial and about three weeks from our scheduled mixing time, I asked my husband about it. After investigating the lyric and hearing the song in its entirety, i thought that this would be a fun, non-threatening way to remind us of the serious message of loving each other in light of our God given differences.As far as it being the first single…well that originated with the record company. (smile)
By the way, we don’t have much access to CCM charts here. How well is Everyday People (single and album) doing?
Nicole C. Mullen: The single has been and in being played on three different formats (AC, CHR, and Black Gospel), because it’s not a praise and worship song it has had its challenges. It’s so funny because some people are like What? and others are like wow! …That’s my jam! Over all the album is doing well and has been nominated for a Grammy…we are excited!
You’re also known for your willingness to take a political stand, something most other CCM artists are hesitant to do. What is your motivation for doing so?
Nicole C. Mullen: I believe that one’s political views should be built upon principle and for me, principle should have its foundation in the Bible.Sometimes, there are issues that are beyond the grey and are clearly black and white, right or wrong. If I do not speak up or sing out for the truth, defend those who cannot do so themselves,and present hope to those in need, then who will?As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am told that faith without works (or corresponding action) is dead…simply put, if I say I believe a certain way, then I am called to live and act like it.
Your producer and husband (respected CCM producer David Mullen) is more known in the Philippines as a VeggieTales collaborator, and you’ve collaborated on children’s music too. Would you say that you both try to keep in touch with your inner child, or is it more a joyful expression of the love you have for kids?
Nicole C. Mullen: I really think it’s all the above! We love children and we want to do our part in providing them with quality entertainment.
Tell us about the Baby Girls’ Club.
Nicole C. Mullen: Baby Girls Club is something I’ve been doing unofficially for about 12 yrs and officially for about two. It’s a club for girls ages 6 to 17, from every walk of life. We meet once a week and dance, sing, sew, do crafts, study homework,eat, talk, encourage and pray for each other, etc. We have lots of fun and are seeing these baby girls grow socially, academically and spiritually.
Thank you so much for your time, Nicole! We’re humbled and honored. Do you have any message for your teen and young adult fans in Manila? God bless you!
Nicole C. Mullen: Enjoy your youth and serve God with your whole heart while you are young…you will find life to be more exciting and adventurous than you could have ever imagined.Take a bold stand for Christ this year and my prayer for you is Psalms 20.