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DAVID NAIL COVER FEATURE - The Norfolk Daily News
David Nail gets a 'swift' kick up the charts
By Carrie Pritzer
News Staff Writer
David Nail admitted he was starting to feel like the guy he was singing about in “Red Light.” At least, that’s until Taylor Swift stepped in — or chirped in.
The sun was shining, but Nail’s world was starting to crash down. This was his second chance with a record contract, but after nearly 6 months, the single wasn’t going anywhere.
“I always felt like all I needed was a little window of opportunity,” Nail told the Daily News in a recent interview.
That’s about the time Swift tweeted to her more than 1 million followers that her new favorite song happened to be “Red Light.”
“I thought surely that can’t affect it that much, but it has,” Nail said. “I can remember going to MySpace right after I heard about Taylor, and my plays had doubled from the previous day just from the traffic from catching wind from her.”
Within weeks, the 30-year-old has gone from a virtually unknown artist to one with a top-25 hit that continues to climb.
Perhaps an even bigger first for the Kennett, Mo., native is having his debut album — appropriately titled “I’m About To Come Alive” — in stores as of last week.
Nail dropped out of college and moved to Nashville 10 years ago. He quickly landed a record deal with Mercury and released his first single in 2002. The song peaked at No. 52, and it wasn’t long before he and producer Keith Stegall were let go, Nail said.
“When the single was released, I was flying by the seat of my pants and not really sure what I was supposed to be doing,” he said. “To be honest with you, I was still so young and everything had happened so fast, I don’t even know if I was upset about it. I don’t think I even grasped what was happening.”
Nail said that when he did realize what was going on, he fell into “a two- or three-year depression.” But the friendships at Mercury remained, and after various changes at the label, he was re-signed to Universal Music.
But his career still crawled, and it’s actually been nearly three years since Nail started the album, he said. “I’m About To Come Alive” was originally schedule for release last summer, but after the title track failed to reach the top 40, Nail said the release was shelved.
That was déjà vu for Nail.
“I don’t want to say I prepared myself for the fact that it might not happen, but it definitely had begun to creep across my mind,” he said. “So for now it to be here, to say I’m excited would be the understatement of the year. It’s surreal.”
Nail credits his June wedding for keeping him sane through the stressful time. Instead of watching “Red Light” stall on the charts, wedding obligations kept his mind occupied. By the time the wedding rolled around, a little promotion from Swift and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott gave the song a “swift” kick up the charts.
Nail said artist recognition from having a song in the top 40 to a top 20 is more than he ever imagined. But does that mean he feels like things are finally starting to happen?
“No,” Nail said bluntly. “I’m very much a realist and been here long enough to know how quickly things can change. I will say, though, I’ve begun to let myself feel some sort of feeling of accomplishment. Just even having a reason to have a big high five — you have to stop and enjoy those little moments along the way.”