Who Is Cay Aliese’s Dad, Nolan Neal? ‘The Voice,’ ‘AGT’ Auditions and Cause of Death
During last night’s episode of American Idol, Cay Aliese auditioned in honor of her father, Nolan Neal. That name might sound familiar to fans of The Voice and America’s Got Talent, as Nolan previously competed on both shows. Unfortunately, Nolan died last year, and Cay is ready to start her own singing competition journey. Here’s a look back at Nolan’s time on The Voice and AGThis cause of death, and Cay’s idol audition.
Nolan Neal auditioned for ‘The Voice’ and ‘AGT’ — how far did he make it?
Nolan, a singer and guitarist from Nashville, first auditioned for The Voice during season 10 in 2016. Unfortunately, he did not receive any chair turns, but he didn’t give up. Nolan returned a few months later to audition for season 11. This time, his performance of “Tiny Dancer” earned chair turns from all four coaches — Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, and Blake Shelton. Nolan joined Team Adam and made it to the Knockout Rounds, where he was eliminated.
In 2020, Nolan tried his luck on America’s Got Talent Season 15, auditioning with an original song called “Lost.” He shared the story of his father’s suicide and how it made Nolan feel like he wasn’t “important enough” for his father to “stick around.” Nolan briefly had a record deal, but he parted heavily and became “unmanageable.” The judges sent Nolan through after hearing his moving performance from him, and he made it all the way to the Quarterfinals.
Nolan Neal’s cause of death
During his time on AGT, Nolan spoke candidly about his substance abuse and his journey with becoming sober. Unfortunately, on July 18, 2022, Nolan was found dead in his apartment at the age of 41. According to People, his death was ruled an accident due to “acute combined drug toxicity.” It was later found that Nolan died from “a deadly combination of morphine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl,” a spokesperson told the publication.
Nolan’s cousin, Dylan Seals, shared a statement with People following his death.
“He was always open and honest about [his substance abuse] struggle,” Seals said. “He was a loving father and son. A light to all who knew him. My heart goes out to his two children from him and his mother from him Cathy.”
Nolan’s daughter, Cay Aliese, honored her dad with her touching ‘American Idol’ audition
Cay Aliese, a mother from Dandridge, Tennessee, shared in her American Idol audition that Nolan was “in and out” of her life as she was growing up. However, they bonded over music, and he helped her produce original songs. Watching him pursue a professional music career made her avoid it as a career path for years, but she’s felt connected with Nolan through music ever since his death.
“It could have been so different. He didn’t mean to die,” Cay said. “And he was like a light to other people, but he couldn’t find that for himself. … I just know he’d be so, so excited.”
Cay sang an original song called “City of Nashville,” which she wrote for her father. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan loved her voice, but they all agreed that she needed to channel more emotion. They decided to give her a chance to do so in Hollywood.
Fans can watch Cay Aliese’s journey unfold on American Idol Season 21. New episodes air on Sundays at 8 pm ET on ABC.
How to get help: In the US, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.
How to get help: In the US, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 or 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.