Nolan Neal, a Nashville-based singer known for being a contestant on America’s Got Talent and The Voice, died on Monday (July 18). He was 41 years old.
Neal’s cousin, Dylan Seals, confirmed his death to People, noting that he “ultimately succumbed to his battle with substance abuse.”
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“He was a natural-born entertainer and it was obvious to all of us from an early age. He blew us all away with his incredibly powerful vocal delivery and songwriting,” Seals said in a statement to the publication. “Working with him in the studio was awe-inspiring. The speed at which he could write arrange and record the basics of a track was legendary. He was pure creative energy. He put everything he had in the music. He sang from deep within his soul. Upon reflection this morning, it was likely his tortured soul crying out. Music was life or death for him. It was everything.”
“He was always open and honest about that struggle,” Seals added of his history with substance abuse. “He was a loving father and son. A light to all who knew him. My heart goes out to his two children and his mother Cathy.”
“I remember I got clean in 2010; May 15, went to rehab. Stayed clean,” Neal told WBIR in 2020. “I joined the rock band Hinder, they were all about drinking and partying. This is not their fault. 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.”
Neal competed on the 15th season of The Voice in 2016. He was accepted into Adam Levine’s team before later being eliminated from the competition. In 2020, he competed on America’s Got Talent, moving the judges during his audition with an original song titled “Lost.”