Courtnie Ramirez wears a smile that lights up her whole face. Her spunky personality is as big as her home state of Texas. The enthusiastic singer comes by it honestly. With three brothers and a large extended family, her effervescent disposition reflects the vibrancy of her Mexican and Guatemalan heritage. Her voice is all at once familiar. Namely because America already met her on Season 11 of NBC’S “The Voice,” where she was mentored by coaches Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys before getting eliminated in the show’s knockout rounds. Now, as the latest signee to Gotee Records, Ramirez is poised to take her original music to a larger audience—a dream she’s harbored since she was a teenager.
“I’m so excited about Courtnie being on Gotee," shares Joey Elwood, President of Gotee Records. "I think she’s gonna speak to a lot of kids that haven’t felt spoken to by Christian music, and that, in and of itself, is important. I’m not talking about culture, I’m not talking about gender, and I’m not just talking about age, I’m talking about kids that are looking for a voice that feels familiar and approachable, deep and soulful in all the right ways, and fun and brash in ways that speak to authenticity. Courtnie is a not a cool breeze, but a hurricane, and I’m hoping she can drawn in a whole new generation of kids we didn’t know were out there.”
Growing up in Bryan-College Station, Texas—the home of Texas A&M—Ramirez first learned to sing in church. “I had a natural love for it. I was just eating it up, loving it, just singing my little heart out,” Ramirez says, noting, “My voice was super raspy, so it took years to grow into my voice.”
It was a mission trip, however, that crystalized her calling as a singer. Up until that time, she was living a self-described “double life.” She knew all the right things to say, but her life didn’t always back up her beliefs. At 13, she participated in a church-sponsored mission effort that found her sharing her faith with a young girl in an apartment complex. “I was ministering to this girl, but by the end of it, I really had to ask myself, ‘Do you even believe these things? Are you living this out?’” she recalls. “That night, I was really hard on myself.” She sought out her youth leader and fully committed her life to the Lord. “After that is when everything started,” she says. “I became a Jesus freak.”
That was also the moment she decided music was what she was born to pursue. Two years later, she convinced her mom to help her jumpstart an acting career in Los Angeles. At a time when Disney Channel stars like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez were using acting as a springboard for music, Ramirez hoped to follow in their footsteps.
Although she booked a handful of commercials, music videos and documentaries, it wasn’t the roles themselves that began to define her career. Instead, the three years she spent in California afforded her the opportunity to discover her voice as a songwriter for the first time, marrying lyrics and melodies in her backyard on a $30 guitar with plastic strings and learning how to shape her feelings into song. “The California acting thing is very rough, very aggressive. Everyone wants to be on TV, and everyone wants to be famous. It’s super easy to get pushed into a box,” Ramirez reflects. “So I had to find my voice out there.”
The original identity she uncovered was not the raspy voice of a little girl just learning to sing, but that of an empowered young woman with real emotions and a passionate perspective. “I never want to waste what the Lord has given me,” she says. “The Lord has given me a voice, and I don’t want to use that for self gain. I really stand firm on helping people through life through my voice and lyrics.”
The best lesson Hollywood taught her? “Always stay true to yourself”—a mantra she continues to live by. “It’s easy to just do what other people say,” Ramirez remarks. “First, of course, I want to go to the Lord and see who I am in Him; but I always ask, ‘Is this comfortable? Does this feel like me? Is this what I want people to see?’ That is the one thing I’ve been holding dear this whole time—all the way down to photoshoots and songwriting, to seeing if it’s the right lyric, the right vibe.”
She’s captured what she feels is a fitting introduction on her debut single, “Perfectly Loved,” an exuberant pop track she co-wrote with label-mate and GRAMMY-nominated songwriter Ryan Stevenson and Jordan Sapp. “I love that this is my first song, because this is exactly what I imagined coming out of the gate with,” she offers. “How the Lord loves us and how He made us was perfect. Even though sometimes we don’t see that in our eyes, He sees that; and I hope this song will be a prayer for other people.”
In addition to an English version, “Perfectly Loved” will be released in Spanish and Spanglish, honoring the singer’s lineage—a tradition Ramirez intends to continue as she unveils new music. When she’s not in Nashville writing for her Gotee Records debut, Ramirez can be found at her new home in South Carolina with her husband, Edgar, whom she married in November 2018. Whether she’s in the kitchen trying new recipes—a favorite pastime—or sharing the platform with her husband, who leads worship at Elevation Church, Riverwalk, her greatest desire is to steward her talents with confidence and grace.
“Most of all, I just want people to be encouraged—whatever the song may be,” Ramirez says. “If the Lord wants to use my songs to heal hurts, let His will be done. That is my complete heart for all my music—that I’m writing the words that people can’t say, and I’m giving them an anthem to get through life and to just keep going.”