NF (Nathan John Feuerstein)
NF (Nathan John Feuerstein) is an American rapper, singer and songwriter. He is known for his relatable lyrics and catchy beats. Born and raised in Michigan, US, he had a difficult childhood. He found relief in listening as well as creating music and channelized his inner turmoil and anger through his songs, but, interestingly, his lyrics are without any curse words, crime or despair. Listeners effortlessly identify with his honest words and raw emotions, and this has gained him a huge following. He has topped both ‘Christian Hip-Hop’ and the ‘Mainstream Hip-Hop.’ NF has signed with the major ‘Christian Music’ label (Capitol CMG) in the US, so he is considered a ‘Christian rapper,’ but he prefers to call himself ‘an artist who makes music for everybody.’ His EP, ‘NF,’ released in 2014, brought him the breakthrough success. He followed its success with three studio albums in three years - ‘Mansion,’ ‘Therapy Session’ and ‘Perception.’ His single, ‘Let You Down,’ from ‘Perception’ was certified triple platinum. ‘Real’ is his most watched video with 18 million views on the ‘YouTube.’
Childhood & Early Life
NF was born Nathan John Feuerstein on March 30, 1991, in Gladwin, Michigan. His parents divorced when he was very young. He and his two sisters lived with their mother, who was addicted to opioid. One of her mother’s boyfriends physically abused him and one of his sisters, so his father took the three children away. Due to strained relations, the children did not see their mother much. During high school years, NF severed contact with his mother because he felt uncomfortable when the court ordered that a social worker should monitor their conversation.
In 2009, his mother died of drug overdose. Later, he wrote a heart-wrenching number, ‘How Could You Leave Us’ (album ‘Therapy Session’), which speaks of the emotional confusion of a child who couldn’t understand why his mother loved the pills more than him. Many of the listeners confessed of crying after listening to his this song.
He attended the ‘Gladwin High School’ and graduated in 2009. He was a part of the school basketball team.
In childhood, he often listened to Eminem’s music. NF admits that Eminem’s music was a major source of inspiration. He began writing and rapping at the age of 12 and started recording songs on Karaoke machine; he recorded his raps on one microphone and the instrumentals on the other. He played at the ‘Fine Arts Festival’ with the Connection Church in Canton, Michigan. In 2008, he won a second place in a nationwide ‘Fine Arts Festival’ rap competition and won the first place in Michigan in 2009.
During his struggling years, he worked as an electrician to earn a living.
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He started his career in music in 2010. His debut album was ‘Moments,’ released independently under his birth name. The album was noticed and he was approached by the recording label, ‘Xist Music,’ and in 2012 he was signed for a recording deal. By this time, he had taken up the stage name, ‘NF.’ The music company announced his extended play, ‘NF,’ but due to some dispute, it was not released. However, later NF did record a song for the compilation album of the ‘Xist Music.’
He did not sign with any label for the next two years. He worked with local producer Tommy Profitt and they recorded ‘Wake up.’ His single, ‘Beautiful Addiction,’ was brought out under his actual name, on November 4, 2013.
In 2014, he signed with ‘Capitol CMG’ and released his extended play, ‘NF.’ This became a hit, and it reached at number 12 on the ‘Billboard’s Christian Albums,’ number 4 on ‘Top Gospel Albums,’ and number 15 on the ‘Top Rap Albums.’ The EP received three and a half and more stars in various reviews.
NF released his first studio album, ‘Mansion,’ through ‘Capitol CMG’ on March 31, 2015. It reached number 62 on the ‘Billboard 200’ and included the tracks, ‘Wake Up,’ ‘Mansion’ featuring Fleurie, and ‘I’ll keep On’ featuring Jeremiah Carlson.
He has contributed to the music of other artists, including ‘Epiphany’ by Futuristic, ‘Till the Day I Die,’ by TobyMac, and ‘Start Over’ by Flame. ‘Madden NFL 16,’ an American football sports video game (based on National Football League), features the song, ‘Intro,’ by NF.
The singles ‘I Just Wanna Know’ and ‘Real’ from his next album were released on April 8 and April 22, 2016, respectively. The song ‘Real’ became a big hit with more than 18 million views on ‘YouTube.’ His second album, ‘Therapy Session,’ which included these tracks, was released on April 22, 2016. It made to number 12 on ‘Billboard 200’ and topped the ‘Rap Album Chart.’
On September 8, 2016, he brought out a single, ‘Warm Up,’ which was a non-album single. The singles ‘Outro’ and ‘Green Light’ were released in the summer of 2017 and later both were included in his third album, ‘Perception.’
NF’s third studio album, ‘Perception,’ which was released in October 2017, became his first chart topping album as it debuted at number 1 on the ‘Billboard 200.’ A third single from this album, ‘Let You Down,’ reached the number 1 position on the mainstream ‘Top 40’ and ‘Christian Song Charts.’ It was certified triple platinum.
He never had a single on the ‘Hot 100’ list, so it is rather uncommon for a musician to top the charts without any hit single and with little press or media coverage. NF has been compared to another famous rapper from Michigan, Eminem, as his songs convey similar fury and anger. After the release of his third album, he debuted on the London stage in November 2017, and planned an extensive tour by the mid-2018.
Awards & Achievements
His second album, ‘Therapy Session,’ earned him the ‘Dove Award for Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year’ in 2016. In 2017, he won the ‘Dove Award for Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year’ for his song, ‘Oh Lord!’ His song, ‘I Just Wanna Know,’ had received nomination for the ‘Dove Award for Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year.’
In January 2018, NF reportedly got engaged to Bridgette Doremus. She is a fitness instructor.