America’s Got Talent and The Voice contestant Nolan Neal has died at the age of 41, as confirmed by his cousin, Dylan Seals. Though the official cause of death has yet to be determined, it was reported that the young musician was found dead in his apartment in Nashville. Neal has also been open in the past about his battle with addiction.
He appeared in Season 15 of America’s Got Talent, making it all the way to the quarter-finals. During his audition, told the heartbreaking story about losing a record deal because of his substance abuse. “I got a record deal in Los Angeles,” he recalled. “I was like, ‘This is it!’ And I partied really hard.”
“Pretty soon I started to become unmanageable,” he continued. “Because I thought I was a rock star. I got to NY to record my record. And I just remember I couldn’t sing because I was so messed up. The label decided to drop me.”
“I got back to Nashville, and I started downward spiraling. It got so bad, people had to step in… I haven’t touched the hard stuff since. I really do believe in fate, and it means the world to me to have this chance,” Neal explained.
He added that he felt “very clear and focused” before performing his song “Lost,” the first thing he wrote after overcoming addiction and receiving a standing ovation from all four judges.
‘The Voice’ Finalist Nolan Neal Once Opened Up About His Struggles With Addiction
According to Nolan Neal’s cousin, Dylan Seals, the musician lived with him for 4 months prior to the pandemic, during which time he was clean and hard at work making new music. The road to recovery was far from easy, however, and in a 2020 interview with WBIR News, he gave fans some insight into how he fell into the trap of substance abuse in the first place.
“I was born in Nashville and moved to East Tennessee and raised there,” he said. “I remember I got clean in 2010; May 15, went to rehab. Stayed clean. I joined the rock band Hinder, they were all about drinking and partying.”
“This is not their fault,” Neal continued. “I had decided I wanted to drink like a normal person. I remember trying to be normal and fitting in. I remember going to a bar and ordering a drink. I tried to hide it. I remember pretending to be normal. I was just lying to myself telling myself that I could control it.”
Though he attempted to get his substance abuse under control to improve his performance on The Voice, he found it an impossible task. “I kind of lost my way on The Voice and continued drinking,” Nolan said. “You can see it. I can see it.”
After The Voice and several stints in a rehab facility, Nolan Neal finally found a healthy lifestyle. “What’s different this time?” he said. “I found happiness by helping others in recovery. I found a way to be happy without the things I thought made me happy before.”