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Former ‘America’s Got Talent’ and ‘The Voice’ contestant Nolan Neal dies at 41

The musician appeared on Season 15 of “America’s Got Talent” and Seasons 10 and 11 of “The Voice.”
America's Got Talent - Season 15
Nolan Neal on "America's Got Talent" episode "Live Show 3" Episode 1515.Chris Haston / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Nolan Neal, a singer who was a contestant on “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice,” has died. He was 41. 

On Tuesday, "The Voice" confirmed Neal's death in a tribute to him on Twitter.

"We are heartbroken by the passing of Nolan Neal," the post said. "His incredible talent will always be remembered. Our sincerest sympathy goes out to his family and friends during this time."

TMZ first reported the musician’s death on Tuesday. Neal’s cousin, Dylan Seal, later confirmed the news with Variety

More details about his passing, including the cause of death, have not been shared. 

Neal, a Tennessee native, auditioned for Season 15 of “America’s Got Talent” back in 2020. He performed an original track called “Lost,” which he revealed was the first song he penned after getting sober.

Before he took the stage, Neal spoke in his intro package about being in recovery from addiction. 

At the time, he told the audience and judges that he hadn’t touched “the hard stuff” in 15 years.

“Good for you!” Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell cheered as the crowd applauded. 

After Cowell asked Neal to further explain the meaning behind the song, the singer replied, “The hook of the song is ‘Lost for the last time.’ It’s about somebody who thinks that they don’t deserve anything because of the things they’ve done.”

He added, “I hope that it connects with you all. That’ll be the real win for me.”

Neal belted out the song’s emotional lyrics and ended up almost bringing Vergara to tears when she spoke about her family also being impacted by the “horrific sickness” of addiction.

Each judge gave him a resounding “yes” to move onto the next round. 

Before he was eliminated from “America’s Got Talent,” he was able to perform another original song, “Send Me a Butterfly,” during the quarterfinals.

A NBC affiliate for Knoxville, Tennessee, WBIR, spoke to Neal shortly after he made it onto the competition series. At the time, the singer opened up about his sobriety journey and his experiences with rehab. 

“I remember I got clean in 2010; May 15, went to rehab. Stayed clean,” Neal shared. “I joined the rock band Hinder, they were all about drinking and partying. This is not their fault. I had decided I wanted to drink like a normal person. I remember trying to be normal and fitting in. I remember going to a bar and ordering a drink. I tried to hide it. I remember pretending to be normal. I was just lying to myself telling myself that I could control it.”

Prior to competing on “America’s Got Talent,” Neal had previously auditioned for “The Voice.” In Season 10, none of the coaches turned their chairs around for him. 

In 2016, he returned for Season 11 and sang Elton John’s classic ballad “Tiny Dancer,” causing all four judges to turn their chairs. He chose Team Adam Levine. 

Neal was eliminated from the show after singing Steven Tyler’s “Love Is Your Name” during the “Knockout Round.” 

While speaking to the NBC News affiliate, Neal revealed that he was dealing with his addictions as a contestant on “The Voice.”

“I kind of lost my way on ‘The Voice’ and continued drinking,” he said. “You can see it. I can see it.” 

He shared that multiple rehab visits helped him eventually get sober and start making music again.