David Nail fought back joyous tears Tuesday (Feb. 25) during a party celebrating his platinum-certified No. 1 hit “Whatever She’s Got” and the release of his new album, I’m a Fire, which arrives Tuesday (March 4).
Surrounded by family, friends and music industry elite, one of country’s most incredible voices was visibly overwhelmed by the love and support being sent to him from every corner of the room.
Such pure emotion might make you wonder why the moment struck him so strongly. No, it wasn’t his first No. 1 celebration. It wasn’t his first album release party. It wasn’t the first time a glass was raised in his honor.
But it might have been the first time Nail was actually able to experience all those wonderful milestones with a heart filled with true happiness.
During a roundtable interview prior to the party, he talked about his new perspective on life and how those changes are reflected in his new music. More importantly, he also bravely spoke of the reason he made these changes in his life.
Unbeknownst to many, Nail had been fighting a very private, uphill struggle with depression.
“To be honest and blunt as I could possibly be … I’ve been depressed my entire life and just dealt with so many insecurities,” he acknowledged. “And it kind of came I guess to a head a couple of years ago. ‘Let It Rain’ was No. 1, and I had all these good things going on, and I just wasn’t happy.”
Nail went on to admit, “Most of my life, I just always tried to fix it, you know? And thought that success would do that.”
But it isn’t that simple. It may seem like a cliché, but the truth is that all the money or success in the world can’t provide true happiness. Nail recalled a moment only a few years ago when this fact became a truth he could no longer avoid.
“I was having a conversation with Chris Young at the ACMs a couple of years ago,” he said. “I remember walking away and being so blessed to have been at this party and so many nice things that were said. And I should be on top of the world, but I just couldn’t physically get there or mentally get there.”
Call it a part of his big wakeup call, but he eventually found himself ready, willing and hell-bent and determined to find the happiness he longed for. And he’s also ready to speak about his journey with humbling honesty and even a little humor.
“I’ve been going to counseling for a couple of years now and take a lot of really expensive medicines and just made a lot of changes in my personal life,” he said. “I’ve learned to not take life so serious and learned to enjoy it and had a lot of help in doing that.”
Of course, a huge part of Nail’s willingness to be so frank and open with his story is his hope and desire to help others who might be in the exact same place he found himself in not so long ago.
“The hardest thing is your friends and those closest to you that don’t really understand exactly what it’s like to be there,” he said. “They’re the first people to say, ‘Snap out of it, man! What’s wrong with you? You’ve got so much to be thankful for!’
“And then on top of all your worries, you’re carrying around the guilt of feeling sorry for yourself.”
But there is hope and light, and now Nail says his life is brighter and better than ever.
“I have a lot more good days than bad days now, and there’s a lot of people responsible for that,” he said.
One of those special people is his wife Catherine, who was with him to celebrate during Tuesday’s party. A noticeably emotional Nail emphasized that both his personal and professional life are made better by his wife’s unfailing support.
“She’s just been there,” he explained. “And there have been so many moments where I wouldn’t have blamed her for leaving. I think she always believed there was a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. … She’s just a trouper. She’s the first to admit it’s a contract we signed through thick and thin, through sickness and health — ‘I’m in this committed … till death do us part.’”