Monday, April 24, 2017

Easter Recap: Why Briana "Bri" Babineaux is "The One" to Watch

On Easter Sunday, I visited Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC to see psalmist Briana Babineaux in concert. I first heard of "Bri" in 2014 shortly after her impromptu worship session with friends went viral on YouTube. After the goosebumps on my arms went down and I dried the tears from my eyes (her worship will mess you UP!), the first thing I thought was, This girl needs a record deal NOW!, and not too long after that video broke the Internet, she got one. The 22-year-old is signed to Marquis Boone Enterprises, the same label that manages Gospel powerhouses Casey J and Kelontae Gavin.

Keys To My Heart / Amazon

Although I've been a fan of Bri's music for awhile now, I didn't know her whole story. Turns out, the worship session that started her career almost didn't happen. In a brief interview with CPM's senior pastor, Bishop Charles Mellette, Bri spoke candidly about a rough patch she went through in late 2014 when she battled with suicidal thoughts and depression after a bad break up. Her home church in Lafayette, Louisiana has a women's conference every year, but Bri is a college student (she's currently in her junior year at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette majoring in criminal justice) and she didn't have enough money to attend. She hadn't planned on going anyway, because she'd gotten to a point where she "didn't want to be here anymore," but to her surprise, someone (she later found out that "someone" was her parents) had paid for her to go to the conference. When she got there, she felt led to go up for the altar call and she prayed that God would refresh her spirit and give her a new lease on life. While she was at the altar, someone prayed for her and gave her a prophesy: "God is getting ready to blow your mind." And that He did.

The next day, Bri's friend invited her to his house for a casual worship session, but she was reluctant to go because she wanted to take time to reflect on what happened at the altar call. She went anyway, and as she sang Tonex's "Make Me Over," she began to speak over herself and cry out God and tell Him what she wanted Him to do in her life. Little did she know, she was being filmed. Literally overnight, Briana Babineaux became an Internet sensation. Within 24 hours of that altar call, God fulfilled his promise and blew her mind.

Bri had not planned to be a worship leader. In addition to her gift of music, she's also athletically inclined. In high school, she played basketball and volleyball and ran track. When she wasn't playing a sport, she was listening to Gospel music with her grandparents. If she'd had it her way, she would be singing in a Gospel quartet like Harvey Watkins and the Canton Spirituals. As she's grown in her gift, she says she's learned to cater her music towards what God's people need to hear. This led to her Stellar Award-winning debut album Keys To My Heart, released in March 2016, which features the soul-stirring hit, "I'll Be The One."

Seeing Briana Babineaux perform live is a special treat because what you hear on the CD is what you get in person...and then some. When she sings, it feels like the audience is just listening in on her personal conversation with the Father. Her unfiltered praise is direct evidence of her close relationship with Him. It's powerful to watch. She began with my favorite song on Keys To My Heart, a simple yet profound ballad called "My Everything." Then, taking the focus off her own music and taking off her shoes (which let me know she was about to REALLY worship; there's nothing like a no-shoes praise!), she invited a few members of CPM's youth choir onstage to sing backup for her, covering songs like "The Anthem" and "He's Able." Bri did exactly what she came to do: She gave God's people what they needed to hear. And it was clear that her gift made an impact, because a lot of young people gave their lives to Christ at the altar call that followed. I had the opportunity to meet her after the service, and it was refreshing to see how humble and down to earth she is. I pray that God keeps her grounded as she continues to sing for His glory.

Image source: My Instagram

To learn more about Briana "Bri" Babineaux and find out if she's coming to a city near you, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment