Entertainment behind the scenes
“Idol” finalist Danny Gokey gets countrified with record deal
Competing this year on “American Idol,” contestant Danny Gokey often sought to cut an image in viewers’ minds as an R&B singer, but now that a record label tied to the TV program has flashed a contract in front of him, the Wisconsin native has decided he’s a country singer.
Gokey has signed to 19 Recordings/RCA Records Nashville and plans to release a country album next year, the label said on Wednesday. In a statement, Gokey said, “I didn’t realize the ‘Idol’ experience would give me a musical direction, but it did.”
The deal marks the first time 19 Recordings, the company run by “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller, has signed the top four finalists. But it comes a long time after the other three got their record contracts. Seventeen year-old phenom Allison Iraheta signed with 19 Recordings back in June, despite finishing fourth on the show. “Idol” champion Kris Allen was guaranteed a record contract from 19, and runner-up Adam Lambert quickly landed with the label after his upset defeat.
During his run on “Idol,” Gokey performed well during the Country Week portion of the show, when he sang “Idol” alumna Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel.” But when given free reign to pick a song, he often tended toward R&B or soul, such as his choice of the Mariah Carey song “Hero” and the Diana Ross/Lionel RIchie number “Endless Love.”
Gokey also has plenty of fans, especially from Wisconsin and among devout Christians, who responded to the way he showed his own faith on the show. That could serve Gokey well in the country music realm, which has always had a heavy dose of spirituality stirred in with more secular concerns of job, love and money.
Now that Gokey has gotten some love from 19 Recordings, and a job and some money working on a new record, exactly how far country will he go? Gokey has said his fans shouldn’t expect to hear any twang from him, so look for the famously bespectacled singer, who collects eyeglasses like some women buy shoes, to show his country side in other ways. Maybe some Dukes of Hazzard-style eyeglasses, if there is such a thing?