The Long Days That Followed Chase Bryant’s Suicide Attempt
Chase Bryant's gun didn't fire, but his rehabilitation was far from underway. The country singer says he still tried to handle his problems himself, even after something just short of a true miracle happened to save his life.
"I owe my parents more than I could ever even tell you," he says three days after People shared his story of attempted suicide. "Had it not been for my mom and my dad, I don’t know that I would be here. I don’t know that I wouldn’t try again."
A new song called "Upbringing" isn't a tribute to his parents and their dedication after that gun went click per se, but it's a show of pride for how Bryant was raised. After a decade away, he's now back in Texas full time. He's back home.
"Once that happened," he begins, referring to a May 2018 attempted suicide outside a Nashville gas station, "I just knew I had to do something. I didn't have any hard feelings. I didn't look at it like, Nashville did this to me, it's all Nashville’s fault. It really wasn't that. It was purely the fact that I was coming down here so much, and I was really starting to understand myself a little more. To me, it was key that I came back."
“I knew I had a problem. And I knew I had a problem years ago," Bryant admits. "I was medicating myself with ego."
It's strange to talk to Bryant after hearing his story. Simple salutations like, "It's good to hear from you again," carry added weight. "'Congratulations' is an honor to hear, honestly," Bryant says early in the phone conversation after we offer it. "Just to be here at this point and to spend another day of my life here is a huge congratulations."
After a pair of Top 10 singles on Broken Bow Records, Bryant's next two songs couldn't crack the Top 40. Failure fed his growing depression and anxiety. He says he was a ticking time bomb who was miserable to live with on a tour bus and who would do things like write apology notes for things he'd not yet done, just to show something that looked like humility. One came for fans on social media, just months before he hopped into his truck for what he intended to be his final drive.
"I knew I had a problem," the 27-year-old says, "and I knew I had a problem years ago. When I put on a cape and I was on the road so many days a year and I’m having success, it just felt like that was the key to the kingdom. But it really wasn't ... [I was] medicating myself with ego."
Talking to People, Bryant shared how he packed the six chambers of a revolver with bullets and drove to the gas station. He let out a primal scream and pulled the trigger, but somehow — Bryant understands there were only five in the chamber, but still calls it a God thing — he lived to talk about it.
A watershed moment it was not. He stepped out of the truck and lit a cigarette. Then, he drove home and put away his gun.
"Like, where I couldn’t find ‘em," he says, clarifying. "Immediately I thought, 'What do I do with this? Do I talk to somebody for the first time? Do I just let it go for a little while?' And I did let it go for awhile.”
Six months passed until Bryant called his mom and a trusted executive at his record label and told them he needed to push pause on his career and get help. They already knew — of course they knew. Of his parents, the young singer recalls their comfort for those months. They never left.
After just a few days in a mental treatment facility, he emerged a changed man, if not a new man. It doesn't happen with the snap of a finger — only recently is he able to talk about, and benefit from, the positive energy that comes with sharing a story like this.
"It's a constant reminder of how thankful I am to have been given the opportunity and was given the second chance," Bryant says, speaking of how he feels now, as he opens up publicly.
To be honest, it's not clear if he'd rather talk about the new music. "Upbringing" is the lead single from a personal new album recorded with Jon Randall in Austin, Texas, but the thought of being able to bring others out of their darkness speeds his voice like talk of the guitar solos that promise to drench the new album. Credit Stephen Wilson Jr. for the idea of the song, but Bryant poured his story into it and insisted on cutting it first, even though plans for the recording session were well laid.
"To me, it was the next step," he says. "And so he had [the title], and I think I remember saying or having that line, ‘I ain’t changing who I am.’ And that’s not saying I don’t want to be better or don’t want to be different than how I was when I was five years old. To me, it was just saying, you can’t change how you grew up."
If you were to ask him for the story of his life, he says he'd just hit play.
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