NBC’s talent competition show “America’s Got Talent” is known not only for its showcasing talent but also for the backstories of the contestants. One contestant had a heartbreaking backstory about his dark past that led to his addiction and eventually, his recovery. Nashville contestant Nolan Neal touched the hearts of the judges and the audience not only with his brilliant performance but also with his inspiring story of addiction recovery.

What is Nolan Neal’s Story?

After being signed to Hollywood Records in 2000 and then Virgin Records in 2006, Neal got into a fight on the phone with his father, who told him he would never make it in the industry. To make matters worse, Neal’s father threatened to take his own life. Out of fear and panic, Neal hung up the phone and refused to answer him again.

However, it turns out that his father was not making idle threats, and he committed suicide shortly after this argument. Neal let guilt drive him to reckless partying, which ruined his singing career. Neal felt like he did not matter and was overcome with guilt. He lost his deal with Virgin Records while in the middle of recording his debut album.

How Did Nolan Neal Change His Life Around?

Eventually, Neal checked himself into rehab and got sober for 10 years. Neal was a contestant on “The Voice,” but did not win. Recently, he auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” by singing the first song he wrote after getting clean called “Lost.” All four judges and the audience gave him a standing ovation, and he made it to Hollywood. Judge Simon Cowell said that his voice was “spectacular” and “amazing.”

What was Judge Sofia Vergara’s Reaction to the Audition?

This audition really hit home for Sofia Vergara. Her younger brother, Julio, was addicted to alcohol, cocaine, and crack while in his teens. Eventually, he was deported to Columbia because of his many drug-related arrests. Vergara was really moved by the passion that Neal brought to his performance. She felt hope seeing Neal use his audition as a platform for addiction recovery.

Nolan fulfilled his purpose at the audition by sending a message to the judges and the audience about hope. Everyone can heal from the wounds of addiction. Nolan Neal did not just give an audition on “America’s Got Talent,” but an inspiring message about how much better life can be for you in recovery.

Nolan Neal was not only struggling with addiction, but with the depression of his father’s death. Here at Alta Loma, you can be treated for both addiction and depression through a series of resources such as individualized therapy, recreational activities, life skills classes, medication management support, and more. For more information, please call us at (866) 457-3843.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.