It’s no secret that Brantley Gilbert got sober a few years ago, but it’s not something he talks about all the time, either. In a new interview, the "One Hell of an Amen" singer shares what finally led him to make that change.
Gilbert participated in a panel at Billboard’s Touring Conference on Wednesday morning, and he says his drinking problem escalated as he rose to fame after the release of his 2009 debut album, ‘Modern Day Prodigal Son.’ He told his manager he felt that God was allowing him to do many great things, but he just didn’t feel satisfied.
“I told him that success wasn’t punching me in the chest like it should be,” he tells Billboard.
Gilbert sought professional help in December of 2011, and he received a lot of support from friends in the industry, including Keith Urban, who had been through his own struggles. Urban even visited Gilbert in the hospital.
“I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do my job because I had always had a little bit of a buzz on,” Gilbert admits. “Keith told me I was going to be alright.”
Still, it was an adjustment. Gilbert had to find ways to maintain his branding and image, which was built around being the life of the party, without drinking, though he says he’s fine with fans drinking and getting wild at his shows. These days he gets wild in different ways, but he still admits to one unhealthy vice.
“I’m a smoker, so I don’t do Crossfit because I’ll die, but I get a workout every night on stage,” he says. “Being on stage and on a motorcycle are two of the only places I feel comfortable and free. Those are my happy places.”
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