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Darius Rucker Helped David Nail Prep for Tour

David Nail Darius Rucker
Terry Wyatt / Larry Busacca, Getty Images

David Nail says his stint touring with Darius Rucker had a big influence on how he decided to go about his I’m a Fire Tour, his first as a headliner.

“I would say we probably learned more as a group from Darius, and we’ve played with some great people,” Nail tells Billboard. “He took me under his wing, and taught me a lot — first and foremost — about how to treat people.

“I remember the last night we were on stage, singing ‘Family Tradition,’ and he pulled me aside and said, ‘If there is one thing I want you to take from this tour, hopefully one day when you’re headlining, you’ll treat people the way we treated you,’” he adds. “Everybody just treated us with respect and inspired me to be available to the opening acts — and to pass along some of the lessons that guys like him taught me.”

Nail’s latest album, ‘I’m a Fire,’ earned him his second No.1 hit with the record’s debut single, ‘Whatever She’s Got.’ He hopes that headlining will give him the chance to expand his fan base by being able to play more music.

“We’re more successful in showing what we can do live over the course of an hour rather than saying, ‘Okay, we’ve got 30 minutes to try to sell you on the music,’” he says. “While your set might be full of songs that people are more familiar with, I feel that a lot of times it’s the songs you didn’t know about that sell you on the artist. I think that you want to continually grow, and the longer we have on stage, the better our odds are of impressing people.”

The tour includes a stop in New York City, a city that Nail calls a “mecca” for him.

“You move to Nashville to be a country music singer, and I’d be lying if I said I thought I’d be playing New York City one day,” he says. “I can remember the first time we played there, it was the most nervous I’d ever been. The label is there, you have a lot of press there, and fans. It’s like playing a showcase in Nashville except that you’re in the greatest city in the world. You try your best to treat it like any other show, but you know damn well it’s nothing like every other show.”

The I’m a Fire Tour kicks off on Sept. 11 in Oxford, Miss., with dates continuing into November. A list of upcoming tour stops can be seen here.

NEXT: Watch Nail Perform an Acoustic Version of 'The Secret'

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