The New Respects, WNXP’s Nashville Artist of the Month for May 2022, have a singular, and singularly Nashville, story. The four Fitzgerald siblings, Zandy, Lexi and Darius, and their cousin Jasmine Mullen were raised in a successful music family. Their parents were the ones who moved to Nashville to break into the industry, the Fitzgerald’s dad launching a brief Christian rap career before he turned to preaching and the Mullen household abuzz with writing, recording and all that goes into building and sustaining a top-tier contemporary Christian career. The kids hit the road early, becoming backup dancers for their in-demand mom and aunt, Nicole C. Mullen, one of the most prominent Black women in the predominately white CCM scene. Jasmine, Darius, Zandy and Lexi started their own band in their teens, pushing themselves through marathon rehearsals in pursuit of the professionalism and showmanship they’d observed from their elders, but choosing their own style, initially earnest, sing-along folk, then muscled-up, riff-powered pop-rock that almost instantly landed them a TV song placement or two. The New Respects were invited to tour with big-name Christian acts, but found a more comfortable home on the club circuit and embraced their inclinations toward pop-R&B song craft, effervescent grooves, insightful uplift and, when the music video called for it, dance choreography. They’ve grown into adulthood together, adjusting to marriages in the group and Lexi moving on to full-time parenthood and reconsidering and refining their band identity as they produce themselves and operate truly independently for the first time. For a recent EP, they found comfort in capturing intimate, bedroom recordings of songs that straddled searching confessionalism, classic hymnody and pop harmonizing, and the music on the way reflects their increasing emotional and rhythmic sophistication.