Joe Nichols is having a career resurgence, not that he ever went away. The Arkansas native is back at radio with his current single, “Brokenhearted,” which follows his feel-good hit, “Good Day for Living” hit, marking Nichols’ first time in the Top 20 since “Hard to Be Cool” came out in 2014. Both songs are from his latest Good Day for Living album, out last year.
“It’s been pretty weird,” Nichols tells Everything Nash with a laugh. “I know that there’s a story there that’s a little bit unbelievable in places, or maybe unusual. I wouldn’t suggest taking this path for new artists. It’s been a very unlikely story, from the breakout to the fall off the map, to the comebacks and then fall off the map, and then come back again. And then go away for nine years without a hit, and then all of a sudden break out again. I can’t think of too many situations that were like that.”
Nichols acknowledges that there are a lot of people who deserve credit, including his label head, Benny Brown, and Heather, his wife of almost 16 years. But for Nichols, he points most of his recent success to the source of his strong Christian faith.
“I think that’s one of those God stories, for me anyway,” Nichols reflects. “This journey has been all about Him more than anything, and redemption. Here’s another chance, and maybe here’s a lesson along the way. Maybe do it a little differently next time. Maybe this time you stay in gratitude no matter what happens. And maybe you can have more success with that.”
It’s been, perhaps surprisingly, almost 27 years since Nichols’ eponymous debut album was released. While his voice sounds just as good, if not better, and his music is equally strong, Nichols says there aren’t a lot of similarities between the artist and man he was then, and who he is now.
“I am a less shallow person than I’ve ever been before,” the 46-year-old acknowledges. “And I think that that really does steep out into other parts, especially music. I think I was just about being a good singer and making good records. It didn’t have to be deeper than that, really. Just make some good records, go out and tour and have a party, and live the life. I think everything is a little deeper for me now, understanding not just the music part of who I am, but understanding the big picture of life and understanding the business to a point.
“I just have a deeper understanding of everything nowadays,” he continues. “And hopefully that is just a product of learning lessons along the way, and changing my perspective to a place of gratitude rather than one of, ‘I’m good at this; I deserve this.’ Or even being in competition with other artists, which we do out of ego. Hopefully this is a more pure place of joy, gratitude, pain, sorrow, happiness. And, hopefully that leaks out into the music I do. And hopefully, it sounds pure. Hopefully, it sounds believable.”
Nichols is currently working on a new record. Find all of his music and upcoming shows at JoeNichols.com.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Monarch Publicity / Ford Fairchild