The Tragic Death Of The Voice Star Nolan Neal

This article includes discussion of substance abuse.

Nolan Neal, best known for his impactful appearances on "The Voice" and "America's Got Talent," was found dead on July 18 at 41 years old. A roommate of the musician found his body after receiving a call from Neal's mother who was worried "after not hearing from him," a representative for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department told Page Six. Authorities found "powder residue" on a guitar next to Neal's body. In the past, the guitarist had been open about his issues with substance abuse.

Once Neal's death was confirmed, an Instagram fan account posted a photo of the singer with a message. "Send us a butterfly Nolan Neal Seals. Meet you on the other side," the fan account wrote, a reference to Neal's song "Send Me a Butterfly." Fans responded to the post with condolences. "My heart is heavy for his family ... He was truly brilliant and his gift of music was God-given," one wrote. "Rest In Peace Nolan ... Man he sure could sing," another added.

Neal's first major breakthrough came as a contestant on Season 11 of "The Voice," while he was still drinking alcohol. Four years later, he made another run on a reality show when he appeared on "America's Got Talent" in 2020, but that time he was sober, per Us Weekly. Neal's "AGT" performance of an original song titled "Lost" went viral. Being sober had affected Neal's music in a way he did not expect.

Nolan Neal was open about his substance use

Throughout his career, Nolan Neal had openly discussed his issues with addiction. After his performance of "Lost" on "America's Got Talent" went viral in 2020, the country singer spoke frankly about his drinking. According to Neal, he entered rehab in 2010 and managed to stay sober until he encountered a roadblock. "I joined the rock band Hinder, they were all about drinking and partying," he told WBIR in 2020. Neal believed he could drink casually without fully relapsing: "I remember trying to be normal and fitting in. I remember going to a bar and ordering a drink." 

Neal's time with the band Hinder was short-lived, but his drinking habits continued on an on-again, off-again basis. When he appeared on "The Voice," the singer was still imbibing and believed that affected his performance. "I kind of lost my way on 'The Voice' and continued drinking," he told WBIR. "You can see it. I can see it."

Unfortunately, alcohol was not Neal's only vice. "I am a recovering addict. I liked opiates the best but would take just about anything," he told Crawford County Now in 2017. The "AGT" star came from a musical family, but believed sobriety would impair his musical abilities. "I was worried that I would not be able to write songs anymore if I was sober," Neal said. Those fears proved unfounded, as he flourished after getting clean. "The first year I was sober, I wrote 70 [songs]." 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).