Brooke Robertson is a new, upcoming Christian artist who has a powerful testimony. She is a role model and an inspiration. I had a chance to speak with her about her new music. She recently released a new single called, "Taking My Voice Back," the title track to her sophomore album, which she wrote after being sexually abused. Brooke tells us the story behind that song, and also the story behind the music video. She's an amazing artist. You're going to love her music and her heart.
How did you get started in music?
I started singing when I was around 12 years old. I had a cousin who asked me if I wanted to join a youth band as a singer. I was quiet, but he knew I had it in me. He asked me to be the lead singer. I was like, "okay." So, I stood back quietly and sang with them.
Several years later, I tried to get into college after I graduated from high school at 16. But, I couldn't get in. I took certain tests. But, I couldn't get the scores that I needed. I applied anyway, just hoping and praying that I would get an interview. I was also in a relationship with a guy for three years, and I wasn't happy there. Besides that and not getting into school, I felt like my life, at the end of 2016, was falling apart.
All my plans just weren't working out: between the school thing and the relationship that I felt that I needed to walk away from. I was in a very dark place, depressed. He was a great person to me, but he just wasn't my husband. That was hard for me to accept because I had a fear that maybe I'm supposed to feel like this. Maybe I'm supposed to just get used to not being happy. I was believing the lies that the enemy was trying to feed me throughout this season of my life. I just got to this place where I couldn't do it on my own anymore. I was like, "God, I don't have a plan B. What do you want me to do?"
I felt God say, "Just surrender everything. Walk away from the relationship. Set school aside." That was hard. School was my plan. I didn't have any other plans. I didn't want to walk away from the relationship because I knew I was gonna hurt him. But, I had to do it, so I did. I prayed, "God, Your will be done." And not long after that is when my producer and manager reached out after seeing my covers on Facebook.
He said, "Hey, you should come up and write." I thought he was joking at first. I'm just this little small-town girl. I had never written before. So, it was all so new to me because I only just sang on the worship team. It wasn't anything that I took seriously. But, I said, "God, you know. Maybe this is an opportunity, and I should go for it." I did. I was terrified. So scared. But, I'm glad I did because it led me to write my first EP. It led to my first record deal, my first tour. Now, here I am, releasing a full-length record. It's all because of God.
What's the story behind your new single, "Taking My Voice Back"?
"Taking My Voice Back" is the most personal song I've ever written. It's the most vulnerable that I've ever had to be in my entire life. It's about when I was sexually abused when I was around 10. I was in a very dark place. I felt alone. I felt dirty. I felt all these emotions. I remember some nights crying myself to sleep, feeling stuck and thinking, "How am I supposed to tell anybody?" I was a scared little girl. I could either hang on to these feelings, or I could just let it go. And, bury it deep down because it was just safer that way. I was so afraid. I had fear. And, I was confused with all the emotions I was going through.
A year and a half later, I was saved. I really got to learn the love of Jesus and what that meant. It was then I was able to let my pain go. But, it's also something that hurts. It's something that I hid very deep down inside. And, I didn't want to talk about it. For 15 years, I held that in. In 2018, after a tour I was on, I was praying in the middle of writing a record. I had no direction. I didn't know what the new album was going to sound like or where the songs were going to go. I had to write 11 songs. And, I was praying, "God, what do you want? What do people need to hear from you through my music?" This story kept circling in my mind. It's something that I fought with. I fought God for weeks because I didn't want to talk about it. I thought, "why now?" I've been fine this whole time, so why now?
Then, in my heart, I heard God say, "Someone needs this." Looking back now, after telling everyone, I didn't realize how common sexual abuse is. I do know that God needed me to write this song, so it was like, "Alright, God. I know people need to hear this. But, I need peace to know that this is the right thing to do. This means that I've got to start telling people where I'm at right now. I have to tell my family, my friends, and the world." That just freaked me. It completely terrified me. I needed more peace. And, I needed clarity to know that this is really what God needed me to do.
I felt that I needed to contact the person who hurt me. So, that's what I did. I reached out to this person and told them, "Hey, I just want you to know that I do music. And, I have to write a song about what happened. But, I just want you to know that I forgive you. And, I want you to know that Jesus does, too." At that moment, I was able to share Jesus with someone who hurt me. I didn't even know I needed that healing. I thought I was fine the whole time, but God says, "Just wait. Wait and see what I've got for you. There's deeper healing that I have for you."
What does the purple ribbon in your music video for "Taking My Voice Back" represent?
At the very beginning of the music video, you see young Brooke holding a purple ribbon, which represents innocence. You see the purple ribbon taken from her. That represents the innocence that was taken. Throughout the entire video, you see the color purple. Not only in the ribbon, but also in the painting. You see young Brooke writing in her journal. And then she puts the ribbon in the box and underneath her bed. That represents me burying it deep down inside. Then you see me, as an adult, painting a picture. I've become frustrated and feel stuck with it. That represents when I felt stuck and I didn't know how to get out. Then I sit down, and I see this box underneath my bed. I open it. That's where I see the ribbon again. That's me taking it back after 15 years, after finally figuring out how to take it back through forgiveness.
The windows are another symbol of looking past what's been keeping me quiet for so long, and taking my voice back. So, I paint this big purple window, and that's the freedom that I've found. It has a deep meaning to it.
You have a new album that just released. What was the inspiration behind that project?
The word that I'm standing behind with this project is "empowerment." I have this history with "Taking My Voice Back," and empowering people to be able to walk freely. To let God take whatever is holding them back to walk freely into their calling. I have a song called, "Just Be You," because it's so easy to try to fit in with the crowd. In high school, I experienced that. I think everyone has. With trying to fit in, peer pressure, and all that. As some encouragement to others, don't give in to peer pressure. Standout. That's what is noticed the most, and that's what means the most. There's nothing wrong with being different.
It's empowerment behind the entire record. Storytelling and personal experiences inspire the entire record. I have a story behind every single song. I could talk to you all day about them. They all mean something to me.
Congrats on recently signing to Burtonwood Records. What's it like being a label artist?
It's different. But in a good way. I have a team behind me. Before, when I released my EP, it was all on my own. I did have a lot of help from my manager, Jeremy Holderfield. But, I didn't have an entire team. Now, I have several people helping me out with different things. They keep things organized and let me know what I need to do. They're working so hard on their end. It's honestly just been a blessing to have this experience and opportunity.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
This record has a country vibe to it. It's a kind of organic production and storytelling. I'm inspired by Dolly Parton (and who doesn't love her?). She's amazing as far as songwriting. And I look up to Mandisa because I love her heart and her transparency. She's so transparent as an artist in her music. I've been compared to like different people, like early Bethany Dillon because of her production sound. I've also been called the country Lauren Daigle.
How can we be praying for you on your journey?
Pray for strength and wisdom throughout this whole process. It's definitely going to challenge me as an artist in my ministry to be able to pour into people the way I need to pour into them. And, also pray that I'll stay rooted and grounded in who I am in Jesus.