By Andrew Ellis, Editor-In-Chief
“You’re Not Alone” certainly came from a real place when Jake Nelson was writing it, but he had no idea the real life impact it would make. Luckily, he would find out – almost immediately.
“I do remember playing the song acoustic in my kitchen for my friend Roland Nisben in its early stages of writing,” Nelson says. “He actually recorded it on his phone. He was in tears by the end of it.”
Then it started connecting in more ways than he could have imagined. His friend Erik McLoed had fallen on hard times and his dark thoughts were starting to get the best of him. He decided he was going to end it all that night. He posted some dark final thoughts on social media, and set out for one last alcohol binge at his local bar. He had a loaded gun waiting for him in his garage when he got back, but Nelson had already sprung into action.
Nelson and some of McLeod’s other friends had caught the troubling posts on social media, and started reaching out. But Nelson’s message a little different.
“He texted me and said, ‘I’m writing you a song and you need to be here to hear it,’” McLoed says. “And I promised him I would.”
The last time Nelson contacted him it was to ask for email address to send him the song. He started listening to the song, and that’s when it all started turning around.
“I sat there at the end of the bar and listened to it 20 to 25 times, and the whole song just spoke to me,” he says. “You know, ‘The sun will shine tomorrow,’ and ‘give me a brand new day.’ Everything about the song. I sat at the end of the bar and cried.”
As he played the song again and again he says he realized how much he had to live for. With those dark thoughts blinded by the light that the song showed him, he left his truck in the parking lot, and walked home.
“I was walking up my street and I texted Jake back and I said, ‘Hey bro, I listened to the song like 20 times. Thank you. You saved my life,” he recalls. “And he told me he was happy he could change my thinking, and I mean I love that dude with all my heart.”
McLoed even agreed to star in the video Nisben insisted they make for the song. But Nelson was very nervous about having him go through that experience again.
“We did have a discussion prior to shooting the video because I wanted to make sure he was comfortable,” Nelson says.
As it goes with reliving any kind of experience, good and bad, the shoot did bring back those dark memories and feeling for McLoed. But it also resulted in a very true and honest music video. As the song made its rounds Nelson was also asked to perform it at the Stomp Out Suicide 5k Walk/Run. And it’s one he will never forget.
“To look at over 1,000 faces who connect first hand with the real issue of suicide, and play this song during a balloon release was the most emotional moment I’ve had thus far in front of a crowd,” he says.
When a song like this connects with an audience like it has it’s a given it performance numbers are going to reflect that as well. It recently hit 80,000 views on Facebook and has been shared nearly 2,000 times. Nelson says the song is bigger than him and his career. It’s because of that song his friend is still here.
“I owe him until the day I die,” McLoed says. “Because of him I’m here for my daughter. Because of him I’m here for my friends, my mom, my loved ones, everybody. Because of Jake Nelson I’m here for everybody.”