Nashville-based singer/songwriter Nicole Serrano grew up in a conservative household where her dad owned a Christian book store, she was raised Christian, and has performed & written for major Christian acts. She’s now sharing a new side of herself, evolving her sound & creative passion into a fuller frame of what’s always been there.
Serrano appeared on Good Morning America today where she publicly came out as a gay woman for the first time. She also premiered her new single, “Nice To Meet You,” as an exclusive on GMA. The song not only reintroduces her to the world but holds a double meaning reflecting on getting to know and love herself.
You have probably already heard her music on major networks including ABC, CBS, VH1, MTV, ESPN, & Netflix on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Doctor, Station 19, Younger, Selling Sunset, and more. In fact, her cover of the Creed hit “Arms Wide Open” was featured in a spot for this year’s Academy Awards.
After a music career steeped in a deep history of worship music, she’s now carving her own path between soul & alternative pop.
The new single, “Nice To Meet You,” has a rich, earthy vibe complete with fuzzy guitars and effortless vocals by Serrano. The lyrics tell the tale the singer has wanted to share since she was very young.
Hello, it’s nice to meet you / I’ve been hiding for so long
Hello, might be surprising / That I can’t fight it anymore
It’s not me that’s coming out / It’s you who’s coming in
Hello, it’s nice to meet you / I’m not hiding anymore
In exploring her music and talent, this writer found Serrano to be incredibly gifted. She not only has a gorgeous, distinctive musical perspective, but an independent spirit to just get out and be who she is. Here’s just some of our conversation (slightly edited for brevity/clarity) about the struggles of coming out after living a life in the Christian church.
Instinct Magazine: What was the impetus for you to come out now?
Nicole Serrano: I think the main reason is that it would be more weird if I didn’t because everybody in my life knows, all of my community knows, I’ve known forever. And it’s just kind of weird to hold that back at this point.
And it’s funny because I’m a pretty private person and pretty introverted. I keep my people close, but I also really care about being authentic. I do feel like I owe it to myself and my story to just kind of say it right. Because I also think it doesn’t matter.
IM: You sang and led worship music for a really big church in Colorado for four and a half years. Did you come out to the folks there? How did it go?
NS: It was so easy. Plus, not. What’s sad is that my story there is actually a little gentler and more gracious than a lot of people in my position.
In a nutshell, I had come to terms with the fact that, okay, I’m not straight for sure. And then I was like, maybe I’m bisexual. But maybe if I find the right guy, being in this environment where that is the only option as a girl, maybe that could work out and this could be fine. And so I dated every eligible bachelor that came across my path until, like, 28, and it just never worked. That wasn’t me.
I came out late to myself because it took me a long time to realize, hey, it’s just not in me. It’s not how I was made, and that could be true for other people. So I just started to go to therapy and slowly started reading more about it, and researching and educating myself. And I was like, “Okay, I’m okay. There’s nothing wrong with me.”
And I realized that there was maybe something wrong with that environment [the church where she worked leading worship music]. But it was tricky because that specific church kind of went with the mantra of ‘everyone’s welcome, everyone belongs,’ which feels like a real trap. I know that it comes from a place of wanting people to feel accepted, but if essentially they’re not, then just don’t put it on your slogan. Don’t put it on your building.
IM: When you spoke to leaders of the Church, for some it went okay and for some, it kind of didn’t. So the “everyone is welcome” thing was kind of not quite accurate, right?
NS: Long story short, I came out to one of my pastors that I worked with pretty closely, and we were also friends. He was cool. He said, “I think we all kind of cherry pick scripture and we pick what we want to believe and we exclude other things.” It was a long process that ended up where I was taken off the platform for five weeks. I wasn’t trusted to lead worship anymore.
And I did tell them the truth. I was like, “I’ve been waiting to feel guilty about it, and I just don’t. I’ve been waiting to feel ashamed, and I just don’t.”
I ended up getting fired – under the radar. They wanted to kind of save face, which is one thing I do appreciate. They didn’t sue me or they didn’t do anything crazy, like a lot of other churches have done. They didn’t tell my story for me. I made it out, and it’s taken a long time to heal, and I think it’ll always be a little soft spot.
IM: Tell us about your new song “Nice To Meet You.”
NS: So when I got fired, I came back to Nashville and came here to lick my wounds and take care of myself. And I just started writing over the course of like, two or three years. I think “Nice to Meet You” is one of the first songs, and it was just like, my own song to myself. The original version is pretty, like, sad.
It was more introspective and somber, and that’s where I was at. But working with my producer he said, “I hear the lyrics, and I hear that you’re kind of pissed off. You’re kind of over it, and you’re kind of, like, in party mode.” So that’s kind of the vibe we went for with the actual track.
It was very much like, “Hey, it’s nice to meet you to myself. I’m seeing you for the first time. I’m seeing that everything you were up to this point was really you. You are being true to yourself based on what you knew that. And it’s all growth and it’s all progress and evolution.”
So the song is kind of double meaning for me. Nice to meet myself, and then I want to reintroduce myself to people. This has been me the whole time. Take it or leave it.
You can listen to our full chat with Nicole below.
You can also check out her PEOPLE Magazine feature here.
Following her appearance on Good Morning America, Serrano posted a special message on social media she’s waited her whole life share.