Nick Betzing never considered it possible that he would be nominated for Best Album of the Year by the Gospel Music Awards (GMA).
“I never thought being nominated would ever happen because I hear about so many rappers that have been doing this for their whole lives while I just kind of grew into it later on in my life,” Betzing, a second year Biblical studies student at Briercrest, said.
“So to see myself nominated for this artwork, which I haven’t been doing for too, too long just blows my mind away.”
Betzing said he is grateful to God for his nomination, especially since his journey with music only began a few years ago.
“I’ve always loved music and associated with it, but I didn’t start writing until I was finished high school and I never thought about pursuing music until I was about 19 years old,” he explained.
“I actually started making rap music when I was in Austria in 2009. I started rapping for fun, just as a joke at first, but people were really encouraged by it and said to keep going and make music.”
As the passion for making music started to grow, it was not until Betzing moved back to Canada in 2011 that he felt compelled to pursue music seriously.
It was while attending two-time Grammy nominee Fresh IE’s concert that God opened up the doors for Betzing to begin his musical career.
“We chatted a bit after the concert. He checked me out on the Internet and then he took me on a road trip to Nipawin, Sask., to see where I was at with ministry, missions and being on the road,” he explained. “Then he said he wanted me on his team, that he would sign me and would produce an album for me.”
It was a moment that left him speechless.
“I had been rapping for less than a year and already I was with someone so established and someone I respected so much musically,” he said.
After signing, Betzing began working on his seven song album, I Need Grace, which was released in 2012.
“It is pretty incredible to know that I am on iTunes and I always have a piece of art that I have made and I can look back on,” he said. “And to be played in the radio is pretty amazing too.”
Betzing said while he enjoyed making the CD, one the greatest highlights for him was actually writing the songs.
“With writing the music I am just constantly having fellowship with Christ and it is just so intimate digging into Scripture and trying to take what I read in His word and put it into the songs,” he explained.
“So pretty much every time I write a song it is a Bible study and at the same time trying to think about what I have gone through in my life and how does it apply to what I am writing. In many ways it is like preparing a sermon.”
Betzing said the inspiration for his songs comes from his own life experiences and what he observes around him.
“To be honest the majority of it is the stuff that has impacted me the most from what I have learned. I also write a lot of songs just to remind me of God’s faithfulness and who He is,” he said.
While he is grateful for the opportunity to make his CD, he is more encouraged by the changes that music has made in his own life.
“The Lord has been so gracious with me this whole time because at first I saw myself as a very proud, confused baby Christian and along the way He was just so patient with me and showed me how I started this all off in vain and I wanted to do it for myself,” he explained.
“I wanted to be known even, if it was Christian music. He just humbled me along the way to the point where I am now that if I never did music again I’d be 100 per cent fine with that.”
Betzing said while music is important to him, he is ready to take a step back while he studies at Briercrest.
“At the core, Bible and theological truths is what I am passionate about and want to express through music. That is one of the reasons why I came to study at Briercrest, and my time here has helped me so much. Words cannot describe how valuable the teaching here is,” he explained. “I am able to take what I learned in class and apply it to what I write and prepare.”
As for what lays ahead of him now Betzing is unsure.
“I don’t know where it is going to go at this point in time. At the end of the day I think music has made me into a godlier man and one that realizes that he falls so short and needs the Lord so, so much,” he explained.
“But it has also revealed this passion to preach and I think that is where the Lord is taking me now. Looking more at the pastoral side of things now and I think the music will play a role in that in some capacity. At this point in time I am just not sure how everything is going to come to full fruition.”