If Nathan Sheridan's real-life story was optioned for a movie, the writers would have little need to enhance it for the silver screen. His journey holds all the elements of an epic narrative--struggle, addiction, abandonment, loss, courage and redemption. His debut, Broken With You, unveils a series of scenes in his journey and proves that no moment is ever wasted in the story of God.
For the first five years of his life, Nathan lived in a dilapidated trailer park in Pensacola, Florida--his mother addicted to drugs, his father unstable; both emotionally unable to care for Nathan and his older sister, Sara. His dad eventually left, and his mom sold nearly all of their belongings for drug money.
Then, one midnight phone call altered the entire trajectory of Nathan's life. High on drugs, panicked and unable to cope, his mother called his grandmother with an ultimatum: "Come and get your grandkids, or I'm going to leave them at the police station."
From that day forward, Nathan and Sara were raised by their grandparents in the small town of Pearl River, Louisiana. He didn't see his mother, who remained in and out of prison, again until he was 15. And the hits kept coming. Shortly after moving in with their grandparents, Sara was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of brain cancer. A year later, at only 8 years old, she passed away, leaving 6-year-old Nathan and his family reeling in the wake of the unexpected loss.
Raised essentially as an only child, Nathan frequently butted heads with his strict maternal grandparents, with whom he has a close-knit relationship today. "It wasn't the natural order of things. It was a strange situation," he reflects. "They became my mother and father, but there was still that generation gap, and it created a lot of tension at times."
Although he cultivated a rebellious streak, Nathan reached a turning point at 14. At a church-sponsored play he heard the Gospel for the first time. "That's when I knew I wanted to be saved and follow Jesus," he shares. "I was really immature in my faith until I was about 16, when I discovered music and worship and really saw a whole different side of things." Picking up a guitar for the first time at 15, Nathan realized music could be a healthy outlet through which to channel his emotions, as he began playing in a youth band at his church.
Much to his grandparents' chagrin, Nathan opted to skip college and joined the National Guard following high school graduation. While in basic training, he exchanged handwritten notes with his now-wife Harley--falling in love with her one letter at a time--and after training he deployed to Kuwait. It was there that his passion for music began to resurface.
"In Kuwait I really got involved in the chapel," Nathan recalls. "The entire worship team and all the chaplains were going back home, so it left room for a whole new group to come in." The military band was a motley crew of every rank, including veteran officers, revered captains and even a full bird colonel who was also a classicaly trained pianist. During rehearsals and chapel services, military rank was set aside and the band united around a central goal--worship.
"We would show up in civilian clothes a lot of the time, so nobody even knew who you were," Nathan remembers. "They had no clue we had a full bird colonel. It was really special. It just doesn't happen anywhere else. I don't think anybody would even try to exert their authority in that environment. It was a safe place to just worship and feel some sense of normalcy. That was probably one of the coolest things."
As he led worship for soldiers every Sunday and some Wednesdays, for the first time Nathan began to connect the dots on how God was using his music to impact people's lives. He also received a lot of encouragement from his fellow Guard members.
That affirmation stayed with him as he returned to civilian life. While he occupied his days with odd jobs like pipe fitting and working on cell towers, on the side, he recorded an acoustic album with a buddy who convinced him to commit his music to tape. That's when he earnestly began writing songs rooted in personal experience.
"It can be easy for me to doubt God's plan for my life," he admits of his reluctance to record an album or even pursue music as a career. "Sometimes it takes somebody else to force you to that next step, and my friend pushed me over that edge."
After the directors of a music conference in Nashville discovered his demos on social media and asked him to perform at the event, gradually, Nathan began receiving more invitations to lead worship. At Harley's insistence, they made the move to Nashville, and soon after Nathan became the first artist to sign with Joseph's Nashville Label Group pop imprint, Burtonwood Records.
He immediately entered the studio with acclaimed producer Jeremy Holderfield (Seventh Day Slumber) who helmed Nathan's debut. In addition, the budding singer/songwriter received early exposure on the road when he filled an opening slot on 2017's Small Town America Tour alongside Seventh Day Slumber, Manic Drive and Shonlock, among others. Less than 12 months after moving to Music City, Nathan signed a record deal, embarked on his first cross-country tour and began making his label debut.
He's held nothing back on Broken With You, co-writing all of the album's tracks, and penning half of them solely. In addition to writing with his producer, Jeremy, Nathan also worked with GRAMMY®-winning songwriter Michael Farren (Reba McEntire, Mandisa) and Tree 63's Daniel Ornellas, among others.
The album includes a stylistic mix of varied sonics, yet Nathan's soulful voice is its common thread. Numerous selections are personal in nature, while others display the songwriter's worshipful side. The vulnerable "Again" details the loss of his sister and his unconventional relationship with his grandparents. The title track takes a deeply personal turn, as well. "It's about the relationship with my mother and father and the struggle to trust God when you haven't been able to trust too many people in your life," Nathan reveals. Meanwhile, pop earworm "Loves Like That" focuses on the way God cares for His imperfect children.
"Even when you don't feel perfect or you don't feel like you're worthy of love from man, you've been made in God's image, and He loves you because He created you," Nathan contends. "When you can't find love in other places, you can find love in Him. You don't have to be perfect to be loved perfectly."
Nathan Sheridan's journey has been filled with unimaginable sorrow and heartache, yet these days, his story shines with Hope. He's living proof that God can take our worst chapters and rewrite them into something beautiful. "I believe my life has been Divinely orchestrated, 100% of it," he maintains. "I've had nothing to do with it, but I give God the credit. He's taken care of me this far, so I just don't see any reason to worry. God's plans are way bigger than what I could've imagined."