May 15, 2009 09:05 AM by Britteny Elrick
Danny Gokey has acquired a huge fan base while competing on American Idol. He was considered on of the judges’ favorites right from the beginning and stole the hearts of America with his inspirational story and soulful voice. Unfortunately, it was the end of the road for Danny last Wednesday, but you can be sure it’s not the last you’ll see of him…
Here is an interview that Danny did with Zap2it.com following his elimination:
Much has been made about the scream you did at the end of “Dream On” and I’m wondering how you reflected on that performance and if you think that might have been the beginning of the end for you?
Who knows? I was actually thinking about that this morning because the week before [the scream] I had a really good performance. I wanted to have a big song that week and I took a risk. So late in the competition, you don’t want to have a performance like that. See, everything up to that point was good and I rehearsed that scream so much that it hurt my vocal chords. It was funny, though, it was a very funny scream.
What did you learn from your experience on American Idol?
I learned a lot about myself. How pressure has an effect on a person and you know, I think for me, I learned to overcome things in my life. Overcome insecurities and doubts because sometimes you don’t want to go out on that stage because you feel unprepared or you wonder if anybody is going to like what you’re doing, but when I had the really good performances I was so thankful and even though I didn’t want to go out there, I made myself do it. You wonder how people feel about you and it effects your performance.
You’re the best expert on the last two guys so tell us what you find interesting about Kris and Adam as a person or as a performer.
Well, you know, Kris is obviously really artistic and Adam has a way of capturing the audience. People need to vote. Don’t automatically assume somebody is safe, don’t have your assumptions. If you want somebody to win, you have to vote. I have a feeling it’s going to be a very tight race.
Is Kris really as quiet and shy offstage as he is onstage and is Adam in total control offstage the way he is onstage?
One thing I admire about Kris is that he’s very mellow and that’s one character trait I’ve always wanted. I’m an intense personality at times and I admire that. Adam is just an all-in-all great guy, I really can’t fault him for anything. Adam is who he is onstage and who he is offstage. He’s very creative. He dresses creatively and he talks from that perspective.
Do you feel an Idol singer now has to change or switch up every song, like you did?
I really do. I think you have to change up every song. It’s funny because there are some songs that I wanted to do, that I changed up, and I never got to do them. It kind of stinks because at this point it’s more than singing. People want to see a creative element, they want to see an old song made fresh again. You can’t go on singing the same arrangement of the song.
How do you want to change the music industry in general?
You know, I’ve thought about that a lot. I really want to start a movement with my music, it sounds so big, so cocky, but to start a revolution and change people’s hearts. I want to merge my music with my foundation. When I get a vision for a concert, I see opening up concerts and following with the story of a young kid whose father was killed in a gang and mother was a drug addict and how he’s had to overcome this and that and how Sophia’s Heart Foundation has effected him. I want to entertain people, but I want people to come out of their zone for awhile and look at other people’s problems. They’ll walk away feeling good and they’re going to want to make a change. My whole testimony is overcoming the impossible in my life and now I want to take that message that if I can do it, you can do it.
In the beginning, you were a front-runner and I think what happens sometimes is people peak too early and so much praise is given to them that it’s hard to match it every week. Did you feel that kind of pressure?
Absolutely. I felt like I had so much on me in the beginning of the show that I had to out-do myself every week. I’m still growing as a musician but people expect this to come out of me and at times I was like I’m not there yet. There’s so much expectancy on one person that people tend to get disappointed but then someone else where there is no expectancy can just show up and wow the crowd. When you have expectations and it doesn’t work out, people get disappointed. For me, at times, I was in the room and it was like, “What do I do?” and I gave it a really good try. The thing is I know that there’s a lot of creativity and I can’t wait to express it the way I want to express it and I know there’s a bright future ahead for me.
Just in terms of sound, what do you see yourself doing?
I really want to do a soulful album. I want to mix a very soulful album with nice R&B beats and mix it with a hint of a Latin vibe. I was with my wife for 12 years and she was Puerto Rican and I want to mix it all in one arena.
Who was your favorite mentor and why?
My favorite mentor was Jamie Foxx. He made the atmosphere very light and very fun and I really enjoyed him, plus I watched the guy growing up as a kid so that was great.
When you go out on tour this summer, what do you envision that being like?
I envision it being good, without a doubt. I envision it as the point where I can talk to my fans and show a side of me they weren’t able to see on the TV. The cool thing now is that I can take my guard down because I don’t need votes anymore. Now I can just talk openly and freely to the people I sing in front of and I’m excited for that.
At the point when Ryan said Kris was the first person in the finale, what went through your head? Did you think it was it for you?I knew it was it for me. Actually, the whole day I felt like it was it for me. Did I want it to be it for me? No, I wanted to go for the gold and it didn’t work out that way. I’m a competitor, I like to compete and I gave it what I gave it. Looking back, would I have done things different? Absolutely. But I’m proud of my accomplishments, coming from losing my wife 10 months ago to coming this far in the competition. I had to deal with that whole end of the spectrum and I saw strength in me that I didn’t know I had.
What did Simon say to you afterwards?
He said “you are a phenomenal singer” and that these things happen, but you’re one heck of a singer and it’s sad to not see you in there. He said some very nice things. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to sing in front of these judges.
I sensed that the winning wasn’t as important as the mission you see yourself on. What are the first steps we’re going to see from you?
The first step is that during this competition I haven’t been able to put my hands in the Sophia’s Heart Foundation. Right off the bat I’m going to call my team and we’re going to get our focuses laid down and what our first agenda is. I want to define our goals because we haven’t been fully able to do that. This foundation means so much to me because it’s the legacy of my wife and myself here on this Earth and I have a lot of open doors now and I’m going to walk through those. I also want to come out with a line of glasses. Maybe I’m going too far into detail but I want to start working on my own material. The competition has catapulted me towards my dreams and I really want the first place to be Milwaukee. I want to represent the hometown. I already have my vision of my building planned out, I want to have a hip-hop media art center with a gym. I want to get kids back involved in music because they’re pulling that out of schools first and it can help kids learn.
How did you feel Tuesday night when Simon was making a plea for Adam?
It doesn’t make me mad, it is what it is. It’s what is going to make the most money. I didn’t get into this thing for the money or so I can live this glamorous lifestyle. Does that come with this career? Yes, but those aren’t my goals. I’m okay with that. I want to have a movement in my music, I feel like my vision is a little different. I just love Simon, I can’t hate on him. Not everyone can be what I’m about and we need a lot of entertainment out there because that’s what sells.
Do you have a message for your fans?
What affirms this for me is them. They voted for me week after week and they see something inside of me and I want to tell them I love them and that they’re the best out there and I hope they support me when the CD finally does drop.
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photo credit: ew.com