Danny Gokey came in third place during the 2008 season of American Idol. His voice was (and is) amazing, but it was his story that touched the audience. On Monday, Danny stopped by KCMS and it was my honor to meet with him and get caught up on how his life has changed in the years since then.
A mere four weeks before the 2008 tryouts for American Idol, Danny Gokey’s young wife passed away following what was supposed to have been routine heart surgery. Earlier that year, Sophia had talked Danny into going out for the show. It was the last year he was eligible, his last chance to try out. He wanted to put it off and grieve, but he had promised Sophia. Once in Hollywood, Danny had to deal with the pressures of the competition and with the crushing grief that hounded him. His voice is soulful and each week he really touched the audience and the judges. I, for one, was crushed when he was cut and ended up in third place. But, as is usual when God is involved, it turned out to be the very best thing that could have happened. Because of his third place finish, Danny’s record deal was in Nashville instead of LA or New York. It was there that the first big piece of his charity, Sophia’s Heart, fell into place.
Sophia’s Heart is dedicated to serving children and their families who have been impacted by poverty, sickness, disease, broken homes and broken dreams. It is named after his late wife and honors her love of children. It takes only a few minutes of talking with Danny to realize that he is as passionate about Sophia’s Heart as he is about his music. He can spout off facts and figures about the charity as well as he can remember song lyrics. This is not an attempt by a public figure to look good. This is not a star lending his face to a cause and then being uninvolved. This is his passion.
On top of all that, he is excited about the music on his new album. His smile gets huge when he speaks about the songs. He can’t wait for us to hear them. You can hear the first single: “Hope in Front of Me” online and I urge you to do so. I loved it. The album is scheduled to be released in June. (Danny has a book out, also named “Hope in Front of Me: Find Purpose in Your Darkest Moments”). Danny talked about his plans for his album tour. He wants to entertain and deliver amazing music. But, he will also weave in videos of the guests at Sophia’s Heart telling their stories. He wants his audience to leave his shows feeling not only entertained, but moved.
Danny is once again a happily married man and he has an adorable one year old son. His eyeglass line sells in over 1400 stores. His book is out. He has signed with a new record label and he is excited about the music he is making. He has watched Sophia’s Heart change lives. Life is looking pretty good right now for Danny Gokey. Hope is in front of him.