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American Idol: Danny Gokey Talks About His New Album and His Decision to Go Country

February 17, 2010 10:00 AM by Nancy Floyd

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Viewers of the eighth season of American Idol won’t be shocked to hear that third-place runner up, Danny Gokey, is releasing an album, but they might be surprised to find out it’s country! The soulful singer who has a background in gospel music opens up about his dating life, what country music legend encouraged him to try the genre, and what fans can expect from his new album…

American Idol alum, Danny Gokey, was a fan favorite from the very beginning of season eight. His heartbreaking personal story resonated with fans around the nation and he soon developed a strong following. His fan base wasn’t quite strong enough to earn him an American Idol victory, but it did carry him to third place behind Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. The widower and former worship leader is set to release a country album titled “My Best Days” on March 2nd and opens up about what fans can expect from his new project.

American Idol viewers might be surprised by Danny Gokey‘s decision to dabble in country music, but the soulful singer says his experience on the show helped him make the leap to a new genre. “My experience has always been in gospel. Going on American Idol was good for me, because it helped it me to find out where I fell, and where my strengths were. It was a learning process for me. I knew when I came on the show, I didn’t want to do gospel any further.”

The biggest inspiration for the change came from a chance encounter with country music legend, Randy Travis. After Travis’ stint on American Idol as a celebrity mentor, Gokey ran into the country crooner in the parking lot. “I happened to walk past his bus…and he was standing outside and he saw me and he called me over by him. He just asked me, ‘Have you ever considered doing country?’ He said, ‘You really need to try it….The fans will embrace you.’”

One of the things that Gokey loves best about country music is the opportunity to tell stories in his songs. ”Since I’ve known country music, it’s always been a very real genre, it’s always been real people just singing, and it’s touchable. That’s how I’ve always wanted to be as a musical artist. I kind of have a story that comes along with me. I want to be able to share that and I want to give people hope, and give people help while I’m entertaining,” Gokey says.

In addition to recording “My Best Days,” Danny Gokey has also been spending time establishing Sophia’s Heart Foundation, a non-profit to fund arts and music programs for children, developed in memory of his late wife. Gokey says, “I’m setting up Sophia’s Heart to turn into a machine. You put in the hard work now so that it builds something, and you get some momentum going and the wheel keeps rolling. I know it takes hard work to get where I want to go.”

With so much on his plate, does the 29-year old widower have time for love? “I don’t have a girlfriend. I’m not dating. I think I’ll probably be more open to it after the two-year [anniversary of my wife's death], the two-year mark comes July 9 of this year. I think after two years, I’m not going to force it, but when it comes it comes. I wanna get married again, I really do.”

“My Best Days” hits stores on March 2nd. Danny Gokey can be seen this spring on tour with Sugarland.

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Photo Courtesy of FOX

Topics: American Idol, Danny Gokey, FOX Reality TV Shows |

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