by Nick Pittman


Keys to My Heart

@Everyone wants to be #famous. @Everyone wants to be followed on Instagram. It’s often a dream but hardly ever a plan. Bri — real name Briana Babineaux — is likely just like #everyone. Yet, judging from her release, Keys to My Heart, being famous is not as important as how she gets famous. Bri is already taking steps to making #thedream a #reality without forgetting her #faith.

A Northside High grad and UL Lafayette criminal justice student, Bri’s cover of a song earned her a million views on YouTube. Currently, Bri is now followed by more than 400,000 people on Instagram. In itself that is impressive. Coupled with her being a contemporary gospel artist — not exactly a household genre these days — it is very impressive. Keys to My Heart, her debut record, hit No. 1 on the Billboard gospel charts.

Keys to My Heart differs from some of contemporary Christian music in that is not just religious undertones, but outwardly praising her savior. “I’m Desperate” and “Holy Spirit” features something very similar to what comes at the end of Baptist church services: a direct call for conversion.

Most of Bri’s songs fall under the stylistic umbrella of contemporary urban gospel — with a few departures here and there — and all of it is well produced. Here and there, crowd applause gives the feeling that this could have been pulled from an epic church concert that caused souls to be saved and tears to be shed. Sometimes, just like in the real thing, it gets very intense.

Bri’s voice is pretty with equal (if not more) parts strong. She appears ultra-dedicated to her faith, as she rips through these calls-to-worship leaving little on the table. If there is a note she needs to hit to testify, she is going to hit it. Along the way, she also gets into songwriting — “Jacob’s Song” and “Grace,” the latter a stripped-down guitar number that breaks from the other songs’ big modern gospel sound. She also includes “Lord of All,” which sounds like it was pulled from a mass choir performance and is along the lines of a classic gospel song from before it was OK to play the drums in church.

With her online success, Bri could have easily partaken in some quick fame grab by employing pop music. Instead, there’s no backsliding here on her righteous path to #fame.