Taking My Voice Back, the Burtonwood Records debut from Louisiana-based singer/songwriter Brooke Robertson, is set to release March 27. Produced by Jeremy Holderfield (Seventh Day Slumber, Nathan Sheridan), the 11-song set—all co-penned by Robertson—showcases buoyant, country-tinged pop anthems alongside poignant ballads, each song a testament to the hope, healing and joy Roberston is embracing along her journey. Recently, Brooke answered some of our questions and shared the incredible stories that inspired her empowering debut album.
Congratulations on the upcoming release of Taking My Voice Back, your debut album! How does it feel to be so close to its release?
Thank you so much! We started writing for this project in 2018, so it’s been a long time coming. To say this record is about to release doesn’t even feel real. All of the time we put into it was so worth it, and I’m excited to share it with the world!
Can you share a little about the meaning behind the album’s title and how it is a reflection of the whole project?
I decided to title the record ‘Taking My Voice Back’ because the song itself is empowering—as I believe most of the tracks on the record are. I want people who hear these songs to be able to find the freedom I was able to find. Maybe that means letting some things go so they are able to walk into their purpose. Maybe it’s learning how to not be afraid of being real, or maybe it’s learning to love and see yourself as God does.
The title track is about the sexual abuse I experienced as a child. It left me in a dark place with feelings of shame and guilt. I felt dirty and alone, and it was a vicious cycle I was stuck in. I was afraid to talk about it, so the easiest and safest thing for me was to bury it inside and never bring it up again. I promised myself I wouldn’t. It was a memory that stung, but I never wanted it to define my path. Even though I thought I’d let it go a long time ago and was okay, I didn’t know God was planning something that would heal me in an even deeper way.
As I was writing this song, I felt that I needed to reach out to my abuser and tell them I forgave them—and that God does too. Afterward, I had the clarity I needed to write this song I had been holding in for 15 years. It was terrifying and relieving all at the same time. My hope is that someone else can find this healing. No matter if it was abuse or another kind of hurt, there is power in forgiveness. There is something freeing about it.
Which step of the process, writing, selecting songs, recording, etc, did you find to be the hardest for you to complete as you worked through creating Taking My Voice Back?
That’s a tough one! I loved every step of the process, but I would say that picking songs was the hardest. We wrote for over a year-and-a-half trying to find the right songs. At the beginning of the writing process, I didn’t know where it was going. I had stories to tell that I struggled to express at first, but it challenged me as a songwriter to dig just a little deeper.
As an artist, I want to be real and true to who I am as a person. I needed to connect to people on a deeper level, even if that meant going outside of the box a little. I have no doubt that it all happened the way it needed to, and that there was a reason it took as long as it did. There were songs that wouldn’t have been written if we had rushed it.
Which track are you most excited for listeners to hear and why?
Every song is something I have experienced in real life and I’m anxious for people to hear them all. If I have to pick one, it’s “Purpose for the Pain.” We don’t have all the answers as to why some people are healed on this side of heaven and some aren’t. It still doesn’t change who God is. Whether that’s just knowing God is still good through the pain, or letting God use the pain for something good later, I want people to know that enduring their struggle is important. Don’t give up. God can make beautiful things happen from the hurt you’re currently walking in.
“Purpose for the Pain” is about my mom and what she went through while she was pregnant with me. She became very ill at the beginning of her pregnancy and struggled both emotionally and physically the whole time. The doctors were not able to properly treat her because they couldn’t perform the necessary tests during her pregnancy. However, she was surrounded by family and friends who helped her out and prayed life over both of us. No one had answers and no one knew what was going on, but they believed that we were both going to make it through this.
A month before her due date, the doctors delivered me because there was a chance that things could’ve progressively worsened and threatened both our lives. After I was born, my mom found out she had shingles of the brain and it had paralyzed some of her cranial nerves. She fought through it and now has some facial paralysis and hearing loss. But here I am, able to sing her story—our story. Even though she endured so many complications, there was a purpose at the end of it. I see her as one of the strongest people I know.
How would you describe your sound and lyrics to new listeners?
From lyrics to production, the record has a country flare. I’m a country girl from a small town and I grew up riding horses and four-wheelers. Anything outside, I was for it! Staying authentic to who I am was something I promised myself at the beginning of this record. I wanted to show a little bit of myself in my music.
Who, or what, where some of your biggest inspirations, spiritually and musically, in cultivating this collection of songs?
My mom inspires me. She’s my best friend and I can tell her anything. I’m not sure what I would do without her.
Musically, I grew up listening to Brooks & Dunn, Jo Dee Messina, Dolly Parton. I feel like they have all inspired me to write music that tells a story—something we can all relate to.
Success can mean a lot of things to different people. How will you define success for this album?
I hope that through sharing my experiences I can help someone else. We’ve all been through something. Even though it looks different for everyone, sharing your personal story can be important for someone else. Ultimately, I want God to do His thing through my music—whatever that looks like.
What are you most looking forward to in 2020 aside from the release of Taking My Voice Back?
I’m looking forward to getting on the road and meeting new people. I’m excited to sing these new songs and share these stories!