RIVERSIDE – Local singer-songwriter Nicole Unser is recording her second album, which is scheduled for release next spring.

She recently launched a fundraiser to cover production expenses. Information is at her website, www.nicoleunser.com, by clicking the purple banner at the top of the page.

Unser said she confronts real-life issues in her songs with a mix of country music and approachable vulnerability that gives people hope that they are not alone in their struggles.

The themes explored in the album originated with a series of house shows at which she performed this summer.

“The shows are about more than just entertainment,” Nicole said. “The goal is true transformation. If you’re my host, you just invite your friends, family, people that you love. You provide the environment and the space for them to just come, slow down, take a breath and exhale. I bring my guitar, my stories and songs, and let the spirit lead. We sing, laugh, sometimes we cry, and we let God do what only He can do.”

She said her music provides a framework that guides her listeners on a journey from innocence to tragedy to contending to restoration.

“We’re all born into this place of innocence,” she said. “But there comes a moment when tragedy strikes. We realize all is not right with the world and may never be again.

“Then we move into the place most people get stuck in: Contending. We throw our dukes up and say ‘I am never going to let this happen to me again!’ The beauty of storytelling is that it has the power to move us from this place of darkness and hiding to a place of resolve and restoration.”

She said her goal is to have an album that folks can take home with them from a concert and use to continue to explore their own stories. Her desire for every story night participant and album listener is that they walk away with the permission to be their most authentic self.

“I used to think I needed permission and position to do something worthwhile with my art,” Nicole said. “I thought I needed the position of being signed to a record label or the permission of thousands of fans. But I’ve realized that I don’t need anyone’s permission or some fancy position to be who God is calling me to be.”

Unser, Riverside, spends time writing and recording in Nashville. She was the 2012 Texaco Country Showdown New Mexico state champion in a nationwide talent contest.

She released her first album, “Everything Good,” in 2015. Later that year she took first place out of more than 7,000 entries from more than 100 countries in the 2015 Unsigned Only Music Competition.

Unser has performed in numerous venues, including the Ryman Auditorium and Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. She has performed locally at the Okanogan County Fair, Christians in Action gospel stage during the Omak Stampede, Sun Mountain Lodge and many private house concert story nights nationwide.

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