Q&A: Brooke Robertson

Breakout artist Brooke Robertson is reclaiming her voice with her music.

“Know that God doesn’t make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to be yourself.”

Breakout artist Brooke Robertson is reclaiming her voice with her music. As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, she never felt the courage to share her story—until very recently. Her empow­ering new songs, including “Taking My Voice Back,” released in 2020.

PEER: In the midst of this global pandemic, what gives you hope?

BROOKE ROBERTSON: Right now, life seems a bit scary. Everything is unknown. People are losing family members, their jobs and their security. But I know that God’s got this. None of these things surprise Him, so I can have hope knowing that.

PEER: How did you come to know Jesus? How do you stay close to Him?

BR: I grew up in a Christian home. I went to church each week and to every summer church camp I could go to. But experiencing sexual abuse when I was around 10 years old led me into a dark season. I was depressed, confused and felt alone. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I fully understood the love of Jesus and what it meant to follow Him. I dedicated my life at a church camp one summer, finally understanding that I didn’t have to carry my hurt all by myself—in fact, I didn’t have to carry that burden at all.

I am thankful to have had people throughout my life who have helped guide me in the direction I needed to go. Those folks had such a huge impact on my life and inspired me to do the same for others—to be able to show who Jesus is, even in the tough times. Life comes with its challenges, but it’s how we choose to react to them that matters. We can choose to either stay in the same rut that is holding us back, or we can let God take that from us so we can live freely.

PEER: How did you have the courage to share your story?

BR: My story was something I always promised myself I would never talk about. For 15 years, I kept quiet. It seemed safer that way, and I thought I was fine. It was a memory that hurt, but it’s not something I ever allowed to define me. When I began writing songs for my new record in 2018, I knew I wanted to write about subjects that reached people on a deeper level. My own story kept circling in my head, and I began to feel that maybe it was time to share it, in hopes of helping someone else. I needed clarity to know if this was the right decision and I felt led to reach out to the person who abused me. I called this person to let them know I forgave them, and so does Jesus. That moment brought a deeper level of healing I didn’t know I needed…but God knew.

After that, I was ready to share my story. Now, “Taking My Voice Back” is a song that not only I needed, but I believe so many others need too. I hope it will help people find freedom through forgiveness and letting hurt go. I found freedom in forgiveness, and I want others to as well.

PEER: What word do you have to those who are hiding their hurt?

BR: Forgive. Unforgiveness is crippling. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but there is freedom in it.

PEER: Go back to your 16-year-old self. Did you think that you would be a singer, creating music for the whole world to listen to?

BR: As a teenager, I would have never imagined I would be able to create and record music. I started singing in the youth band when I was around 11 or 12 years old. Even though I was an outgoing, goofy kid growing up, I was shy onstage from some reason. So, for years I stood in the back with the microphone under my chin so no one could hear me. I now realize I was struggling with self-confidence, and I think we all struggle with that from time to time. But I kept on singing and slowly became more comfortable. God put people in my life who pushed me and challenged me to be the person I am today.

After college, my original plan was to attend graduate school for therapy. That fell through, and now here I am, able to share my experiences to help someone else. Sometimes God’s plan is totally different than our own, but it’s always for the best.

PEER: What message do you want listeners to take from your new songs?

BR: I hope people will feel empowered after listening to these songs, but most of all, I want others to find freedom from any hurt they may be going through—to be able to live the life God wants them to live. Know that God doesn’t make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to be yourself.

PEER: What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

BR: Life is going to be hard sometimes. Keep being true to yourself and don’t let anyone change you. I would tell my 16-year-old self to never give up and know that anything she goes through will make her stronger.

PEER: What’s the one piece of advice you want to give to young people that may have been in your shoes?

BR: God’s got you and wants what’s best for you. You may go through things that aren’t fair but know that you’re not alone.

PEER: What’s a Bible verse that has been on your heart recently?

BR: Luke 12:22-26: Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap; they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Follow her on Instagram @brookerobertsonmusic for more encouragement and music!

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