In a new memoir, legendary singer-songwriter Aaron Neville tells his personal story of overcoming poverty, racism, addiction, and loss through faith, family, and music.

Neville’s first No. 1 hit, “Tell It Like It Is,” was released in 1966. In the mid-’70s, he formed the Neville Brothers with Art, Charles, and Cyril — now known as the “First Family of New Orleans.” Given his one-of-a-kind, soaring falsetto, Aaron was the breakout star, and over the next six decades, he had four platinum albums, three No. 1 songs, and numerous film and television appearances. He was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.

But few people know the challenging road Aaron Neville took to fame. Born in a housing project in New Orleans, he struggled as a teenage father working to raise a family while building his career as a musician, surviving a stint in jail for car theft, and many years battling heroin addiction. Recognized by the dagger tattoo on his cheek and his St. Jude medallion earring, Neville credits St. Jude — the patron saint of lost causes — for turning his life around. He found healing and salvation in music. Aaron Neville is a man who by all accounts should not have made it. His new book Tell It Like It Is shares his full story for the first time.

Neville recently joined us in the Gumbo Kitchen to tell us more about it.