David Nail Finally Comes ‘Alive’ After Uphill Career Battle
David Nail's 'I'm About to Come Alive' is a song about not giving up on a relationship. But because it also serves as the title of the country singer's long-awaited new album, the lyrics are perhaps more reflective of him not giving up on his career.
"It's surreal," David tells The Boot of Tuesday's release of his new CD. "I just got used to the feeling that it may not ever come out. It's been a long time coming, and now there's no turning back!"
The 30-year-old Missouri native has more than paid his dues in Nashville, spending almost a decade trying to get his music heard. After high school, he had both stars and diamonds in his eyes -- baseball diamonds, that is, as David played ball in college. An aspiring singer torn between a future on the field or a future on the stage, he quickly found that juggling both just wasn't in the cards.
"The older guys would tell me, 'Playing sports in college is more or less a job.' I always found that humorous, but I found out that yes, it was very much like that," David recalls. "So I didn't have a whole lot of spare time. But we'd go downtown to hear music, and I quickly realized that I wasn't even remotely close to being mentally ready to stay in a city that size, so dramatically different from where I grew up. So I retreated back to my small town, getting myself mentally prepared."
David's musical side prevailed, and after spending two years back in his hometown of Kennett, he packed his bags for Nashville, determined to make it as a singer/songwriter. He signed with Mercury Nashville in 2002 and recorded a self-titled debut album ... which, after its first single failed to crack the Top 40, never saw the light of day. Still, the singer with the glass-half-full attitude has no bitter feelings about the country music debut that never was.
"I always joke and say that's the record that broke me in," he says of his first album. "I was so different musically than I am now ... Sometimes we'll throw that record on and make fun of how young I sound!"
The more mature David is anxious for fans to hear what is technically his sophomore album but is serving as his true country inauguration. Both the title track and the second single, 'Red Light,' have gained massive attention from fans and critics alike, building the excitement for the full album's release.
David co-wrote five tracks on 'I'm About to Come Alive,' including 'Missouri,' a "shout out" to his home state that also serves as a memory of darker times in the singer's life. David says that song is by far the most personal track on his new album. It was written during a point in his life that he admits he wasn't the best boyfriend to the girl he was dating at the time.
"I was in between record deals and had more or less bottomed out, confidence wise," David recalls of the time during which he wrote 'Missouri,' which he pronounces like 'misery' in the song. "It took a toll on my personal life and caused me not to be that flattering of an individual ... I've always said that I want to make a song as 'me' as possible, and if that makes me look like a rear end, then I just have to do it!"
A failed relationship was also the inspiration behind another self-penned song on David's new project, 'Clouds.' "That's about another girl," David says with a laugh, when asked about the inspiration behind the song. "It's the case of when you first meet, you ignore the obvious reasons that something's not going to work. You're oblivious, because you're so caught up in the initial attraction."
David wears his heart on his sleeve on several of the album's tracks, so we had to ask him if any of these ex-girlfriends are miffed that he has immortalized their heartache on his record.
"I'm in a position where I more or less get to have the last word," he answers us with a nervous laugh. "But I don't ever want to abuse that. I don't mean to embarrass anybody. Those songs go back 12 years ago, and now that the record is coming out, they may have to revisit it ... But look, Taylor Swift's having a really good career right now airing dirty laundry, so maybe it's the thing to do right now!"
David is a lot luckier in love these days, as he married girlfriend Catherine Werne in June. His new bride appears in the video for 'Red Light,' proving her acting chops.
"It's so unlike her and so out of nowhere," David says of the yelling and screaming Catherine had to do in the video, playing out the song's heartbreaking storyline. "We couldn't stop laughing! The first video I ever did, I made out with a stranger. The second one was with my wife, telling me that it was over ... It was a very odd moment!"
As 'Red Light' climbs the charts, David is already looking forward to releasing his next single, which he says he hopes will be 'Strangers on a Train,' his duet with Miranda Lambert. Miranda is one of several famous names on the credits of David's album. Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox have co-writes, along with some of the biggest names in the Nashville songwriting community -- a circle he may have had a hard time breaking into, but has no regrets about the uphill climb to get there.
"There were definitely moments when I thought about giving up. The only problem was, I had no idea what in the world I was going to do!" David says. "I like to think the miles I've driven have made me not just a better artist but a better person."