Nicole Mullen's Christmas In Black and White

Nicole Mullen

Nashville, TN--8/9/02?The Gospel Music Association's Female Vocalist of 2002 and Word Recording artist Nicole C. Mullen released her first Christmas project, "Christmas In Black and White, in September, followed by a Christmas tour with John Tesh.

Mullen's family is the main inspiration behind Christmas in Black and White, but when asked about the title and subsequently the title track-a spoken word piece chronicling the plight of the Virgin Mary-Mullen reveals another, more profound motivation. "Christmas has been so commercialized, so changed in so many ways that we lose the true meaning of Christmas," she says. "The truth of the matter is that God became a man through a virgin girl and this God became like us. He was born in a stinky, smelly stable, and he became human. Later he died and rose again to save the ones he had been a part of. This is the foundation upon which our family approaches Christmas, so I wanted to celebrate that fact by making it the whole premise upon which the record is built. This song is saying, 'Here are the facts. It's right here in black and white.'"

From there, the holiday is Mullen's muse and the music is her playground. Much like her best-selling albums Nicole C. Mullen and Talk About It, Mullen has unabashedly borrowed from a wide variety of musical styles to cover her Christmas sentiments. Mullen's stellar team of producers, musicians, and creative collaborators, and also her immediate and extended family members converged in Nashville to be a part of the record, which is full of traditional songs interwoven among Nicole's originals.

What transpired was a grand re-creation of their combined families' unique Christmas traditions, as family members joined voices to create many uncommon moments. Mullen teams up with Grammy award-winning Jazz great, Kirk Whalum and her father, Napolean Coleman, for a stirring duet on "The Christmas Son," while her father-in-law Frederic Mullen takes center stage on "St Nick's Groove." "Gifts From You' finds the family recounting their greatest blessings-namely, each other-to a funky acoustic riff.

Mullen has also managed to include several new trademark tunes on the album-ballads, anthems and can't-sit-still grooves that follow beautifully in the footsteps of her many mega-hits. "Lamb of God" promises to become an instant pop-classic in the vein of her award winning songs "Call on Jesus" and "Redeemer," while tunes like "365" and "Away In A Sacred Night" offer dance beats and Latin flavors that will put plenty of spring in any holiday step. Finally, Mullen tips her hat to tradition with the inclusion of "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "O Come O Come Emmanuel," the latter of which is accompanied by guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy and a lone cello.

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