Hey, it's me.

“I didn’t want to come to your stupid Bible study,” Sophie* blurted out as they handcuffed her ankle to the chair. She brushed her blonde bangs out of the way, rolled her big blue eyes and added, “But I wanted cookies!” She spent the next twenty minutes telling us that before coming to juvi she didn’t believe in God but that this Jesus stuff made sense to her. Then she looked up at us, pointed her 13-year-old finger emphatically and proclaimed, “But I have some questions!”

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Finally, A Place To Rest ...

I remember standing backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, twenty feet from stardom, dreaming about my day in the spotlight. Little did I know my greatest performance wouldn’t be in the spotlight at all. It would be in a cold, dimly lit booking room next to a juvenile delinquent.

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Finding Jesus On The Dollar Menu

“He would’ve been a huge star. But then he got all ‘religious’”, she said. I had just lost the regional round of a singing competition and was talking to a judge from the previous round that I had won. She was filling me in on the winner from last year. According to her he was destined for stardom until he threw it all away to ‘play church’ and waste his talent. She finished by reminding me, “See, I told you, you should’ve worn more sparkles.” She did tell me. And the girl who won was indeed wearing sparkly pants. “This was supposed to be it,” I thought as a tear rolled down my cheek. I was standing alone in a dressing room licking my wounds. I was supposed to win and move on to the national finals in Nashville Tennessee at the famed Ryman Auditorium where I would finally be “discovered”. And just like that it was over. It hurt. Worse, I was 21 and just starting to get to know God. This women’s words shook me to my core. Was ‘religion’ really worth it?

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A Tale of Two Fisherman

Improve. Get better. Fight mediocrity. Be more. Do more. Have more. Don’t settle. Never give up. You’re a star. Whether these things came from outside voices or just the voice in my head I don’t really know. But I know they have shaped who I am. How I see the world. How I approach my relationships. How I approach God. Be all you can be, right? But, all I can be is me. Whoever that is. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Be driven. Competition is selfish ambition. Don’t lose though. Every thought piles on top of its opposite. I know who I am, I think. Forget it, I am completely lost.

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How To "Be Somebody"

.... There I was in Nashville Tennessee where my longing heart cried out, “If I could just get that meeting, schedule that co-write, break in, be seen, stand out, rise to the top, then I’d be happy.” I went to workshops about how to be major label ready. I went to conferences about how to become a published songwriter. I networked, made phone calls, sent emails, studied the craft, and signed up for every industry newsletter. I did all the things I was told I needed to do to become ‘successful’, to ‘be somebody’.

But somewhere down the line a gnawing tension deep within demanded that I explore what the word “success” really meant. 

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Nicole Unser named localsmusic.org Artist of the Month!

Country singer/songwriter Nicole Unser knows exactly who she is, and she's not afraid to write and sing about it. She's a Christian, she's proud of what God has done for her, and she's confident in her music. Having moved to Nashville in 2012, she's always been cultured in the ways of country music, and the songs she's been singing since we discovered her in 2013 are true and from her heart. The best part about Nicole is not just her music, it's her personality too. She's a true friend, someone who you can expect to just call to see how you're doing on a regular basis. And she just happens to be a fantastic country writer too. 

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Step Right Up ... Come On In

Welcome to Nashville Hi-Fi studios my friends! As you probably know we've been in the studio this fall working on my first ever record. I want to invite you into the room with us because I know it will make the final product that much more special when you finally hear it. 

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Labels Are For Jars of Jam!

Have you ever felt like you’re ‘too much?’ I’ve spent my life being told I was too loud, too talkative, too this, and too that. I’ve never been accused of being real quiet. So there came a time when I took my big ole’ personality and lobbed off the parts that seemed to make me stand out. Then I shimmied into a square coffin and pulled it snuggly shut. I closed inward and shut the world out. But it didn’t work. 

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The 5 Best Things Nashville Has Taught Me

I have officially lived in Nashville for two years. I think most of my musician friends would agree it takes at least that long to even start to feel "settled in". That's definitely true for me. I by no means have it all figured out, never will. But as I reflect over the past couple of years there are five really great things that my adventures have taught me. 

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Cancel The Audition!

I am currently sitting the Spokane International Airport waiting to board my flight back to Nashville. Josh (my husband) and I flew home last week to be a part of my little brother’s wedding. We had a fantastic time. But something interesting happened in my heart while I was home. Many of you might know the me before, and the me after but for those of you who don’t, I am a completely different person than when I lived here. God has spent the last several years polishing a harsh, partying, inferiority-driven girl, into a more focused, empathetic, compassionate woman. I’m not where I want to be by any means, but I ain’t who I was! So as I came back to my hometown I found myself battling a spirit of shame.

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The Definition of Success

What I love about my voice lessons is that they usually end up being more like therapy sessions. We, of course, sing during these lessons but more than anything we talk about the heart of an artist. There is a joke in Nashville that any barista, waitress, or tour guide is a “wannabe” songwriter scraping by on a can of pork-n-beans and wild dreams. I have tables ask me all the time if I’m a singer or a songwriter. It can feel like such a demeaning question.

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Squash That Fear!

Yesterday I had an audition. I got up early because I just couldn't sleep. I spent the morning in a quiet place, reflecting. Auditions are a weird conundrum for me. Let me tell you why...

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