Tricia Brock: Superchick's front lady also a worshipper on The Road

Friday 2nd March 2012

Tony Cummings reports on TRICIA BROCK, lead singer of Superchick and now a worship artist

Tricia Brock
Tricia Brock

Over the years the sassy pop/punk/dance/rock/rap/R&B of Superchick has done more than tie up in knots critics keen to pigeonhole the music set before them. The Christian hitmakers have also been the main platform for singer Tricia Brock whose Avril Lavigne-tinged delivery has been a key element in the group's popular albums like 2001's 'Karaoke Superstars' and 2005's 'Beauty From Pain'. In June 2011 Inpop Records released Tricia's first solo album, 'The Road'. It was produced by Tricia's husband Nick Baumhardt (Stellar Kart, Thousand Foot Krutch) and, surprise, surprise, fits into none of the teen-orientated styles Superchick have adopted down the years. 'The Road' is a gentle, reflective worship album. Tricia spoke to broadcaster Mike Rimmer about the project.

He began by asking what it was like working with Nick instead of Superchick's resident studio whiz Max Hsu. "They're a little bit similar in the way they work. They're perfectionists, they want things really good. I don't think I could schmooze him. He wants it to be good. We did work pretty fast: we had a good chemistry together, we'd get vocals done in a couple of hours. We were happy with what we were getting. Because it was a worship album, it felt not just, 'Can we make this rock?' but there was emotion in these songs. That was really important. For the last year we were writing. Nick and I wrote a lot of songs. In the end we were pitched a lot of songs and had to go through hundreds. Five of ours are on the record, and five written by other people that are so beautiful it didn't matter who wrote them - three of which Jennie Lee Riddle was part of the writing, and it was cool to have her a part of it."

One of the album's standouts is "Jesus I Am Resting". Explained Tricia, "It's an old song, from the 1800s, and when we heard it Ian Eskelin had done this new melody; we loved it, and it felt like what I really wanted for this album - beautiful lyrics. I love hymns, grew up singing hymns in church; it was a pretty traditional Baptist church. Some of the originals that we wrote feel that way a bit - kind of a sacred feeling."

Another gem on 'The Road' is "The Altar". Said the singer, "My husband and I and a writer named Jonathan Lee wrote 'The Altar'. Jonathan really helped us paint a picture. I've had this idea for years of this song, and part of it came from the church I grew up in. The altar at my church was this unknown place; the pastor would come forward after sermon and say, 'If anyone wants to receive Christ, or pray, you can come forward'. Maybe one person a Sunday would go and talk to the pastor, and that would be it. There weren't elders to pray with, it was just a very empty altar. So growing up, I didn't find an atmosphere of, 'Come and pray; get your heart right'. I didn't see anything wrong with that, it was just what I knew. It was a place of judgment: you sat in your seat and you were like, 'What is wrong with her? Why did she go talk to the pastor?' I ended up going to a church after high school - very charismatic church, different kind of atmosphere - and you would run to the altar; half the church would be there, and stay there the whole worship service. To me, that's what it was meant to be. There's this freedom, it's this beautiful place, you're welcome. Every step you take towards the altar, you felt like - you knew it - there's something right about this: you were visibly walking towards God, saying 'I want more of you'. I found this new beautiful place, and what I think the altar is supposed to be."

Tricia Brock: Superchick's front lady also a worshipper on The Road

Another poignant song on 'The Road' is "Overwhelmed". "The first time I heard this song, I listened through the lyrics, really really loved it. We put it on hold - we decided this was one we wanted to use and record - and it kept sitting there, being the song we thought might not happen. I don't even know if we really knew why. Then suddenly we recorded the vocals and everything came together. We sat there like, 'This is beautiful, and it fits'. The lyrics are very deep - it's another Jennie Lee Riddle song - for me, the simple lyric, 'I'm overwhelmed by you'. At the end of our process of writing this record, I had a miscarriage and lost a baby. I remember sitting in church one Sunday - and I'm not an emotional person, I like to hold it together - feeling God's presence, and being overwhelmed by being sad and disappointed, all these things, and I was like, 'That song's going on the record'. It was that line she came up with. In so many ways, we're so overwhelmed by God. Sometimes we don't get him in those places that are sad and tough to get through, but sometimes we're so overwhelmed by how good he is. The lyrics are so much deeper than that, but for me it connected on that level."

So why did Tricia decide to record a gentle, adult worship project? She responded, "In high school I was in a worship team; I was in voice lessons at that point and didn't know where singing would take me. I was just a shy little kid, scared to perform. I found myself on stage leading worship - actually for my high school, which is a terrifying thing, to be in front of your peers - but I remember one day saying to my mom, 'Leading worship feels like why I was given a voice. There's this feeling when I'm on stage, and that's the purpose of singing: I see these people hearing the words and it's not really about me, it's what I'm leading them into.' I felt this smile from God. So I've always wanted to do it. With Superchick we've done a few worship songs live, and I always love it. But you don't want something that feels awkward when we're a pop-rock band. So it just made sense that I would do a worship project. The last few years have been a lot of a struggle, since we got married. It's been a roller-coaster. Things in our lives have been a struggle; I think that's a common thing in the world now. Financially, emotionally and physically I've seen struggles. We've been through heart attacks and cancer in our families last couple of years. For me to write a worship album when I can honestly say that I have days when I go, 'God, where are you?' that was a step of faith."

Tricia's solo debut is called 'The Road' because of a lyric from the song "Lean": "This road to holiness is paved with burdens." Said Tricia, "Deciding on the title of an album is really tough. You want it to reflect the right thing. We went through a few weeks of, 'Tricia, what's your title? What do you want it to be?' This album reflects the last year for us, and it's the road that I'm walking on, the road to holiness. I feel like each one of us is on it, but this album is a reflection of mine."

Superchick fans will be relieved to hear that the band are still together. Said Tricia, "I'm touring with them, which is why the process of making 'The Road' took a year. Nick tours with Stellar Kart, so our schedules are insane. Superchick are in the studio working on a new album. We have a song we just finished that the label loves, so I think it's going to get sent to radio soon."

Tricia admits that the momentum of Suprchick has slowed since their hits like "Stand In The Rain" and "One Girl Revolution". She commented, "Part of that is we take so long to write a record. Our last full length album, 'Rock What You Got', we loved, but didn't do great at radio. That slows things down; it gets you lost. The cool thing for us is touring: there's still a connection, and fans loved that album live. When a few hundred kids come out to a show we do on our own, you connect. We always wrote for the underdog and we see a lot of youth feeling that way: the one that's not quite good enough, cute enough, athletic enough, smart enough. That's where we wrote from: average kids. A lot of people need inspiration, need to know that they have a purpose." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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