David Nail on His Fighter Tour, His Inspiration, and His Love of the Classics

Missouri-born musician David Nail is pouring passion into his new Fighter tour

Abigail Wilt
David Nail Fighter Tour Image
Jim Wright

David Nail is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter with a powerful voice and passionate music from Kennett, Missouri. David has released his new album, Fighter and kicked off his Fighter  tour – all while being a new dad to beautiful twins. We sat down with David to talk about what inspires his music, what fans can be expecting on his new tour, and the depth to which he loves music.

You just recently kicked off your Fighter tour. What can the audience be expecting?

I think anytime you release a record, the next several performances are a little more exciting because yeah, you may have been playing new music for a while, but now the audience has access to it. They’re aware of what they’re listening to. You try to treat every show as equally important as the one previous. I go in with the same mindset each time, but the performances are all unique in their own way.

I try to let the crowd dictate how the show goes. First and foremost, we want people to walk out and say, “That was some good singing and some good playing” – the music is always our priority.

What’s your favorite track from the album?

Songs and records are a lot like children in my book; you’re not really allowed to have favorites. Different songs hit you different ways. I could be leaning towards one song on one day, and then my opinion could’ve changed completely the next day. All of the songs on Fighter have a special place in my heart. I’m extremely proud of this record, and I think it’s the best work we’ve ever done.

What song do you most look forward to performing?

It changes completely based on where we’re at. I love going home to Missouri and playing, because you know that people in the crowd understand more of the Missouri references in my songs. That makes it really special. In other parts of the country, though, I have some songs that aren’t really playing on the radio, but have become really popular in a certain area. I think it’s important to remind yourself where you’re at, instead of sticking to specific set list.

I also get excited about our new songs, because you have no idea how the crowd is going to react or how aware they are of the new music. It’s all about the anticipation.

You're a Missouri-raised, Arkansas-educated musician, so tell us – are you a fan of the Southern classic, shrimp and grits?

You know, I had never heard of the dish until I met my wife. She wasn’t a big cook at the time, but shrimp and grits was one dish that she had lots of confidence in. I love seafood, though, so I was willing to try it. Now, I’m a huge fan. We recently took a vacation and I think every single meal I had contained some variation on shrimp and grits.

Now, I find myself promoting shrimp and grits any chance I get, because they’re just so good. My wife and I have a few variations on it – we’ve got the “we’re being healthy” version, as well as the “what the heck – put the whole damn thing of heavy cream in” version.

What inspires your songwriting?

Life does. I’ve never been able to write songs about fictitious things. The majority of my songs have been inspired by some aspect of my life, whether past or present. Whenever I’m writing, I go back into my experiences to find inspiration. It’s one of those things where the writing is medicine or therapy, if you will, for what you’re going through. Once you’ve gotten it off your chest and you’re content with where things stand, you can display it for the world. It’s selfish if you just keep all that for yourself.

Sound Of A Million Dreams is one of your most powerful songs. For you, what are the songs that “hit you right?”

“Sound Of A Million Dreams” is a song that we don’t do too frequently, but every so often we get to play it. There are several lines in there that I really feel like tell the story of who I am and how important music is to me. And, different songs are powerful to you at different times in your life. “The Dance” by Garth Brooks marked the period of time when I really fell in love with country music.

And, on the other end of the spectrum, I remember when Britney Spears was popular in my last few years of high school. She recently came out with a new record, and it’s admirable how she’s managed a career that’s stayed relevant among difficulties she’s gone through. You see and hear these artists that remind you of where you were at certain periods in your life.

By line 3 or 4 of “Sound Of A Million Dreams,” I was 100% hooked. It’s one of those songs that, when you play it, causes multiple hairs to stand up on your arms. Far too often, we’re telling a story and someone who’s listening has a hard time following what you’re talking about. But, with music, you can reference a song or artist as a reference point, and suddenly they’re glued into what you’re talking about. Music tells a story that we aren’t even aware of.