Like Never Before is more than just the title of Nicole C. Mullen’s new full-length album, it also captures the essence of her personal journey of love, loss and redemption. Mullen has long been known as an undeniably talented artist who is unafraid to be vulnerable and transparent with her audience. This first new original album in seven years, continues a legacy of sincerity and artistic integrity that in the past have been recognized with two Grammy® Award nominations and seven Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, including two Female Vocalist of the Year honors, Song of Year for “Redeemer, and On My Knees”, Songwriter of the Year and the Urban Album of the Year for “Everyday People ”, Contemporary Song of the year (Call on Jesus), and the first African American to win Songwriter of the Year. Like Never Before will be released world-wide on January 12th, with select songs available now with pre-order.
Mullen, now a single mom, has emerged from a difficult divorce and can relate to those who have walked through betrayal and hurt in the midst of relationship. She has learned to forgive and come out of a ‘night season’ stronger than she’s ever been before. “I want people to be healed, released, empowered and encouraged by these songs,” said Mullen. She produced the project and wrote 11 of the 12 songs, the exception being the classic Unforgettable, which she sings with her daughter Jasmine, lead singer of The New Respects. The song is an emotional tribute to her late father. The title track song, Like Never Before, co-produced by David Cox, was written as a song of hope.“ Just as Christ endured the Cross for the joy set before Him. Eventually we are going to sing, dance and shout like never before, but we can bring that same hope into our present. The song is meant to cheer the heart and be a celebration of hope in the midst of difficult circumstances. I know what it’s like to feel hope is gone, to be weary. But I also know what it feels like to have hope that fuels you with energy in order to move forward.”
The song One, features Jeremy Camp and his wife Adrienne (Adie). It reveals Mullen’s heart for unity and reconciliation in the body of Christ, especially in the midst of such division in our nation. Recently, she was able to sing One in a diverse congregation in South Carolina, not far from where the Charleston Church Massacre occurred. Mullen took time to encourage the congregation to bless and pray for someone who is different from them in color, culture, etc. “Our oneness is the proof of our love. In that moment we were proving to the world that we belong to Christ by how we love one another”. Nicole continues, “In John 17, Christ prays that we are one. It can’t just be pretty words on a page, we have to engage.”
This past October, Mullen was invited by Lou Engle to sing her song, Arise, at The Call / Rise Up, held in Washington D.C.. Thousands of women gathered where they were encouraged to rise up as Esthers on behalf of the next generation. On the Album, she eloquently sings Arise in both English and Spanish. The song was inspired by Matthew 5:41 where Jesus speaks to a little girl who has died and says, “Talitha, cumi, Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
One song that seems to capture much of the essence of Mullen’s journey is the beautiful Greater Still. It speaks of God's unfailing love that she says carried her through a long ‘night season’ as expressed in the following lyrics: “I’ve walked through the valley and I've seen the shadow's form. I’ve sang in the darkness till victory returned once more...your Love, your love is Greater Still. I’ve been kissed by Judas. Held tightly by hurt and scorn. I've wrestled rejection abandoned to rise no more, but your Love, your love is greater still and I will rejoice.
Each of the the songs weave together a beautiful story of love, loss and redemption, intended to inspire and give hope where hope has been lost. Few artists in any genre of music possess a more diverse resume than Nicole C. Mullen. As a gifted songwriter, she often infuses scripture into the songs she writes as a vehicle to encourage, inspire and teach. From her early days as a vocalist/dancer/choreographer, to writing and recording such classic hits as “Redeemer”, to mentoring, Mullen’s creativity and compassion have been the catalyst for a life of ministry that has had global impact. She has long channeled her considerable energy into not just sharing the gospel, but living it; this has never been more evident as she mentors youngsters in the Baby Girls Club, founded by Mullen. “Mentorship is our way of investing in young people with the hope of Christ and practical experiences,” says Mullen. “We’ve also had the opportunity to help others around the world set up similar clubs, such as in Belize and Zambia. I believe we have a great opportunity to affect the future of our nation and the future of our world.”
Mullen continues to tour around the globe, becoming a highly sought after speaker and singer, and has frequently graced the stage at Billy Graham and Women of Faith events. Mullen is also writing a book about forgiveness, which she hopes to be available within the next year.