Grammy-award winning artist Prince, real name Prince Roger Nelson, recently covered Christian artist Nichole Nordeman's song, "What If," a blatantly spiritual ballad which addresses the tight-knit relationship between faith and doubt.
On Wednesday, the "Purple Rain" singer debuted the electric guitar-heavy cover in Louisville, Kentucky, where he is kicking off the U.S. portion of his Hit & Run Tour. The multi-platinum recording artist's version of "What If" is backed by 3RDEYEGIRL, an all female trio consisting of the Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis, American drummer Hannah Ford and Danish bassist Ida Kristine Nielsen. The song was a surprising choice for Prince, who is known for his nihilistic and overtly sexual lyrics, often found in chart-topping hits like "Cinnamon Girl" and "Little Red Corvette."
Nordeman, who has won 9 Dove Awards, including two for "Female Vocalist of the Year" wrote "What If" for her 2005 album, "Brave." Lyrics to the song include the lines, "What if He takes His place in history/ With all the prophets and the kings/ Who taught us love and came in peace/ But then the story ends/ What then?/But what if you're wrong/What if He's more than enough?"
"I wrote 'What If' for a friend of mine who isn't a Christian," Nordeman, 43, said at the time. "I think it's so important to have people in our lives who don't speak our same faith language. And to dialogue about that without feeling the pressure to say the right thing, to point to the right book or to argue someone into the kingdom of God. At the end of the day, it has to be about love."
She added, "I'm just never going to be that person who has the script or the really organized outline of how to share my faith. But, those little opportunities that God gives us to sit down and have a cup of coffee with someone or engage someone in a difficult conversation...it sharpens me...it sharpens my faith to have people around me who don't speak that same language."
Because of Prince's far-reaching influence--he has been named one of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time--the gospel will be spread to thousands of people through the God-glorifying lyrics of "What If."
"[What if] It sends me back to the Bible," Nordeman previously explained about her song. "It sends me back to God with my own questions, making sure that I do know what I believe instead of just reciting what I've heard my whole life. So, 'What If' is a heavy song, because there's a lot wrapped up in that, but it's probably one of the more important songs, I think, that I've written to date."