Nolan Neal is shaping up to be The Voice’s comeback artist of the year. The talented musician from Nashville was able to turn four chair during his blind audition. During the previous season, Neal was unable to get a couch to turn their chair.
During season 10 of The Voice Neal took the stage and sang Incubus’s “Drive.” While the coaches were impressed with Neal’s voice and upset at themselves for not turning, they thought the audition was too laid back. Coach Adam Levine even told Neal if he came back to The Voice during season 11, the two would win the show together. It was partly due to Levine that Neal decided to return to The Voice.
“What made me come back? Adam. You know Adam and all four coaches had these really encouraging things to say. My team made memes about every single one of them and so it was pretty cool seeing the Nolan Neal Navy page make those memes… When The Voice called me and asked me to come back a second time I had to do it. I had to see what would happen. I just didn't give up….” said Neal.
“Tiny Dancer” by Elton John was Neal’s song of choice this time around for the Blind Auditions. Neal’s take on the song got all four coaches to turn their chairs. Of the four chair turn Neal said “I felt like I reached the summit of a 20 year climb, that’s the best way to sum it up. I felt like I finally made it to the top for a second. Very validating...” Neal would end up choosing to go with Team Adam because according to Neal he felt as though Levine started coaching him the season before.
“I made a promise to my son that I was going to pick Adam. I had already decided in my heart and mind if he turns around I got to pick him. Because he said; come back next season, pick me and we’ll win the show. So I had to do it,” said Neal.
“[I chose Adam] because of his advice to fight for the song that I want. It was his advice to be that guy, he said ‘you’re good enough to be that guy and say what song you're going to sing. Don’t let anyone tell you what song you're going to sing, and what not to,’ so that was pretty cool to hear him say. And then even Miley Cyrus said he’s been coaching me since last season. I almost went with Alicia for second in my mind I was like wait a minute, and even Miley had amazing things to say too, and so did Blake. I mean it was a tough decision for sure,” continued Neal
Neal chose “Tiny Dancer” because according to Neal it represents who he is as a person, and artist. According to Neal the song is his favorite to cover when doing a live show. The passion and love song showed through during his blind audition.
“‘Tiny Dancer,’ it is my favorite cover song I ever learned because it’s always on piano. With piano you can do 10 notes at once, on guitar you're limited to 6. So it was a real challenge musically. Pretty cool challenging myself to make the guitar sound like a piano in some ways. The lyrics about just had a busy day today that’s my life. I mean I work 18-30 hours days on my music. It’s not really work it’s more like invigorating passionate fun. You know but sometimes it feels like work. Long day,s multiple writing sessions, producing, teaching vocal lessons, hosting writers' nights, and sometimes the world seems to slow down…” said Neal.
“...Lay me down in sheets of linen really resonates with me. Then of course the line about the Jesus freaks out in the streets. We have a lot of that in Nashville. The people with the picket signs. When I play it live I say stuff like You'll marry a music man,’ that means she had to pay the bills, and then I’ll keep going and everyone laughs. Because you know musicians are usually supported by their girlfriends or boyfriends…” continued Neal.
Neal’s Blind Audition video has now surpassed 2.7 million views on Youtube. While Neal feel that is amazing, what impresses him more is the fact that the music video for his original song “I’ll be Fine” has now reached over 20 thousand views. The song which Neal produced and mixed himself is not directed at a girl like some might think but at the music industry.
“…I wrote it with my band and I wrote it after the chairs didn't turn last season. In the song Im actually talking the music industry. I'm not really talking to a girl. I'm talking to record labels or to whoever you know, but disguised it as a relationship song,” said Neal.
When Neal’s latest Blind Audition aired his social media number started to climb with Facebook now over 10 thousand likes, his Twitter is approaching four thousand and Instagram is at over four thousand. To the new fans that Neal is gaining he would like them to know that he has dedicated his life to his craft.
“I want them to know that I dedicate my whole life to it. I played every instrument on almost every recording they've heard. I’m producing it, I'm engineering it, I'm mixing it, I'm mastering it, I'm putting it up on tune core myself. I do a lot of it myself, and I have a lot of help too from some amazing friends. But I just devote my whole life to it and I hope they just give it a listen I hope it resonates,” said Neal.
During the Battle Rounds Neal had the opportunity to work with the legendary Sammy Haggard. Haggard served as the Team Adam’s mentor. According to Neal one of the reasons he looks up to Haggard is the high vocal range that Haggard displays which is what Neal does with his own music.
“…That was unbelievable, when I walked in the room and saw Sammy Haggard I walked right passed Adam and gave Sammy this big hug. Adam Levine was like look he doesn't even care about me. I mean that guy is one of the highest rock singer of all time, he sings high and that’s my thing. Reaching for those high notes and being able to push the male vocal range…” said Neal.
With each passing week on The Voice Neal hopes to reach people through his music. Neal hopes that his music is able to provide relief for those who might need it.
“…[The music,] it just comes through me. I'm very luck and fortunate that I was chosen for this music to come through because a lot of time it feels like I only hear it in my head like I'm listening to something on radio. My hopes are that it reaches people. I hope the people can feel the peace inside that I feel when Im singing these songs. I hope that they get some relief from a tough day or know not to pick up a drug and use it and just power through. To not give up on life because you never know what is right around the bend,” said Neal.