“I was having a nervous breakdown. I was questioning my life. I was questioning everything”
Even with two number one albums to their name, chances are you’ve never heard of NF. For the uninitiated, he’s the Michigan rapper regularly compared to Eminem whose latest album, “The Search,” beat Chance the Rapper’s official debut album, “The Big Day,” to the top of the Billboard album chart. in August. But even with all of his successes, Nathan Feuerstein remains largely unknown.
“I personally like people not knowing who I am,” NF said. NME. “I think sometimes I might be the underdog, or just an overlooked performer, and that’s fine with me. At this point, I’m in a place where I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. Fans love it so that’s all that matters.
Watch our full video interview with NF above
NF’s music speaks loudest to misunderstood young people who feel like a nobody while listening. Offering them a voice and a form of refuge, the former electrician’s music tackles a wide range of topics, including broken relationships (“Time”), mental health (“Nate”) and being different. (“Outcast”). But while his music helps others and gives him the opportunity to vent his frustrations and shout out to the world during the creative process, there was a period when Feuerstein found himself dealing with issues so deep that he had to seek a therapist.
“I was having a nervous breakdown. I was questioning my life. I was questioning everything,” he explains. “The song ‘Nate’ is where I rap to the younger version of me , which was inspired by me signing up for therapy after quitting the ‘Perception’ tour because I was mentally in a bad shape…I ended up being diagnosed with OCD.
Biting the icing several times before achieving the kind of success that affords her the luxury of no longer having to worry about her financial security, NF shares some advice for those looking to give up their day job to pursue the careers of their dreams.
“Keep your job while you’re trying to make it,” he advises, recalling a time when he quit his job to make music full-time. “I tried to make music for a year, full time, but it was like I had a store with no product. So it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m an artist. I want to do a show.’ Then they walk into your store and they’re like, ‘Well, there’s nothing here. There’s no music. I was trying to pay my bills, but I wasn’t building a business.’ I wasn’t building a career. I wasn’t getting better at writing. I was so preoccupied with paying a bill every month.
“When I signed my recording contract, I still worked for about six months at my job. And that’s because I didn’t want to find myself in the same position where if something goes wrong, I don’t don’t want to be able to pay someone to record music, because that’s always been my biggest marketing tool.
Due to his church upbringing and frequent success on Billboard’s Christian charts, you’ll often find NF referred to as a “Christian rapper.” And while it’s not a label he’s particularly fond of, the Michigan rapper has always recognized a strong connection to God, whether through his music or in everyday conversation. But lately he says he hasn’t really talked to God much, admitting “I think in some of the most desperate times of my life I go to God and I feel guilty because [I ask] ‘Why do I only do it when I feel like this?’
Continuing to discuss his beliefs, there was a time in Feuerstein’s life when he believed that in order to get along with someone, both parties had to share the same opinion. But things have changed for the 28-year-old since he married last year.
“I’m married now and I’ve come to a point in my life where we don’t have to agree on everything – I thought that,” he reveals. “I thought you had to believe everything I believe and you had to think everything I think… I think because of the way I was raised, I became a bit of a judgmental person because I I felt like everyone had to think like me and it’s just a terrible way to live because it’s impossible.
Watch our full interview with NF at the top of the page where the Michigan rapper talks about being diagnosed with OCD, his top 5 Eminem songs, religion, therapy and being Chance the Rapper at the premiere. Billboard spot.
NF’s “The Search” is now available.