Aaron Neville's career had a major comeback when he recorded songs on the album "Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like The Wind" with Linda Ronstadt in 1989. The duet "Don't Know Much" made it to No. 2 on the pop charts and won a Grammy. Neville had met Ronstadt five years earlier at a Neville Brothers performance in New Orleans.
"Someone said she was in the audience, so we dedicated a song to her and called her up on the stage to sing," Neville remembered. "She gave me an autograph, she said, 'To Aaron, I'll sing with you anytime any place anywhere in any key.' And I told her, 'Meet you at the Grammy's.' And we did meet at the Grammy's."
Neville never could have imagined what would happen in New Orleans more than 15 years later, when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The storm ravaged the city, and destroyed Neville's home. He didn't return until 2007 to bury his wife, who died of lung cancer in the interim.
He said it is often music that gets him through daunting and testing times, calling it "a kind of medicine for me."
"I put it on and it calms me down," Neville said.
He said he connects to music recorded by people who have struggled and been tried in life, but who use those challenging times to strengthen their art form.
"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye is one of Neville's all-time favorite songs. "Marvin Gaye was before his time," he said. "Because the stuff that he recorded back in the days could be just released. I used to call him the man with the tear in his voice, you know you could tell he was troubled, you know you could feel his hurt."
Neville's newest endeavor is singing a cut off the album "Oh Happy Day," which is a compilation of world-renowned musicians teaming up with gospel artists to sing traditional and beloved gospel songs. Other artists on the album include Al Green, Jon Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah and Joss Stone. Neville likes to listen to the album when he's exercising.
"The whole CD is great," he said. "And I can walk on the treadmill and don't get tired of looking at the numbers. I'm like, 'I been here an hour? Wow!'"
Despite the ups and downs Aaron Neville has faced in his life, he sees it all as a learning experience and continues to grow with every challenge.
"Your whole life you're learning," he said. "It don't come with a manual, you know."