Thursday, December 8, 2011

#77 Danny Gokey

Next on my American Idol countdown is my number 77 American Idol finalist Danny Gokey. He got third place on American Idol season 8. Allison Iraheta should have made the top 3 instead of him. He wife Sophia Gokey, who was a fan of the show, died before his time on American Idol. After his time on the show, he was signed to 19 Recordings and RCA Records Nashville as the beginning of his career as a country singer, releasing his first single "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me." His debut album, My Best Days, was released in March 2010.

Gokey started singing with his family in church, but stated he would rather record mainstream music than perform solely contemporary Christian music. He was the worship director at his church Faith Builders International Ministries, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one of the venues where American Idol season 10 auditions were held. Danny got his first take as a recording artist with his demo-tape being professionally recorded at Beach Club Records run by his friend, Rich Clemons, in Racine, Wisconsin.

He is the penultimate of six children. He has a brother, Charles, and four sisters. He has acknowledged the influence of Jeffrey and Robin Pruitt the pastors of the church he worked at and also Matthew Barnett the founder of the LA Dream Center. He has stated that his faith is the "key to who I am." Gokey then spent two years on the open road as a freight driver.

On July 9, 2008, our weeks before he auditioned for American Idol season 8, Gokey's wife Sophia underwent routine surgery for congenital heart disease. It was her third surgery, but she died from complications. The couple had been together for twelve years, and Gokey credited her for his success. Sophia was a fan of American Idol and encouraged Gokey to be a contestant, and Danny established a foundation in her name Sophia's Heart Foundation with some of her family members who are also into the music industry. The foundation exists to help mend and heal the hearts of children and families who have been touched by poverty, sickness, disease, broken homes and broken dreams.

Gokey rose to national fame with his participation in the eighth season of American Idol. On August 8, 2008, he auditioned in Kansas City, Missouri, along with his friend Jamar Rogers, who is also from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both made it through to Hollywood, but Rogers was eliminated from the competition prior to the semifinals. Rogers decided not to audition for American Idol season 9. Gokey's American Idol audition occurred only four weeks after his wife's death in July 2008.

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