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Entertainment behind the scenes

“Idol” finalist Danny Gokey gets countrified with record deal

September 3, 2009

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.danny-gokey

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?


Danny will be such a great addition to the country music scene. I really loved the country music songs he did on the show. Although he may not have immediately though of himself as a country artist, he began selecting country songs almost immediately on the show with I Hope You Dance during Hollywood Week.
Danny has some amazing performance videos on youtube from the current AI tour. His version of What Hurts the Most is extremely powerful and heartfelt, and he seems to really engage the audience on My Wish.
I honestly can’t wait for his CD to add to my country music collection. Great news.

Posted by stef | Report as abusive

This blog is obviously a litte, ahem, biased! Danny sang 3 country songs on the show and 50% of his songs on tour are country. Country makes sense for him with his strong commitment to a message (non-religious) in his music- R&B these days doesn’t cut it in that respect. Its no wonder it took him a while to find his genre; he only sang gospel before the show; plus he is so versatile he really does have a choice what to sing.
From those in the know: The contract was “flashed” in front of him back in May; and instead of grabbing it he took his time, thinking about his prospects while 2 labels bid for him.
Your parochial statement about his fans is silly; are all Lambert fans Jewish and Gay? He has a huge fan base (he actually has fan groups in asian companies and Brazil, among other countries) and I am just one of them who is not a “devout christian”.
I think he is going to introduce some great soul sound into the country genre and bring new fans with him.

Posted by Jean | Report as abusive

I am so happy that Danny got a record deal and I am thrilled that he is going country. I saw him in concert and loved his gut-wrenching performances of What Hurts the Most and My Wish by Rascal Flatts. I can’t wait for his single and album.

Posted by Lizzy | Report as abusive

Excuse me, but I’m not from Wisconsin — (not that there’s anything wrong with Wisconsin) — and I don’t consider myself to be a “devout Christian” — (not that there’s anything wrong with being a devout Christian, either). Wake up and smell the roses! We live in a diverse country. Just because a blogger doesn’t like a particular artist or doesn’t like country music doesn’t mean the rest of the world feels the same way. People are a lot less narrow than some may think; don’t put us in a box. I have friends all over the country, of various faiths or no faith at all, and my musical tastes range from Metallica to Jane Monheit to Little Charlie and the Nightcats to — yup, Danny Gokey! I admit I would have preferred Danny to do blue-eyed soul, but country may be a better vehicle for his message. As long as Danny is allowed to keep the edgy quality to his voice — and it sounded like the head of the record label recognized that as Danny’s distinctive sound — I’m on board!


I cannot wait for this soulful gritty voice to be heard.
When he sang “What Hurts the Most” he had me wanting more. Looking forward to Danny Gokey.

Posted by Denise | Report as abusive

I love Danny. I think he is a kind man with a beautiful voice. If he’s going to sing country, then I will start listening to country.
I’ve already started practicing. I found a country station on my car radio today and listened a while. I liked some of what I heard and am eagerly waiting to hear Danny. His music touches my heart.

Posted by felicia | Report as abusive

It won’t be long before Danny signs a contract to sponsor his own designer line of eyeglass frames. Adding his name to a particular frame collection will add an additional $20 or more to the cost.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

I think Danny made a very smart decision. He’s much more versatile than a lot of the others on AI and will be a great country star. Looking forward to watching him shine! Saw the AI show and Danny and Adam were the stars… a little tired of the re-making of Janis Joplin with Allison.

Posted by Ann | Report as abusive

Kudos to Danny for this record contract. I loved him in the American Idol contest, love his voice, love his spirit and he will do just fine with country music. I look forward to his new CD and will definitely buy one…or more.

Posted by Charlene | Report as abusive

Danny didn’t know what he wanted to do and I guess that it took a record deal to make the decision for him.

Posted by Barbara | Report as abusive

Danny was middle-of-the-road mediocre week after week. Doing well enough to survive on the strength of his back story.. but not knocking it out of the park. He’ll be taking Taylor Hicks spot in Grease within a year.. IF he’s lucky.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

In my opinion Danny should have won American Idol. He was more versatile than the others. He’s got such a unique voice that can sing any genre. I bought a CD on ebay of him singing all of the songs that he sang on Idol and I’ve played it over and over and over again. I absolutely love his voice and can’t wait until I can buy another CD. Way to go, Danny!

Posted by Karen | Report as abusive

Oh good, the bigoted Christians get more bigoted Christian role models.

Posted by Danielle | Report as abusive

Shame on you. What is wrong with you?

Danny, Adam, and Kris are all decent guys and none of them would appreciate your nasty attitude. Don’t you have any tolerance for people?

Posted by StephieG | Report as abusive

Love Danny! I am so happy he finally made up his mind on which of the two contracts to take. I would have probably grabbed the first thing that came my way. I voted for Adam on the show but after making a CD from my iTune purchases of the Idols I really love Danny’s voice on CD better. Kris sounds good too.

Adam I love to watch and listen to but it did not translate as well to my CD for some reason.
Anyway I think Country will be great for Danny!

Posted by KitKat | Report as abusive

Erin, I’m with you, as long as Danny can keep his “edgy” sound, I’m totally on board. Danny has such a unique sound that he will definitely add something new and fresh to the country sound. I really like it when you hear a singer on the radio and immediately know who the artist is. THAT is Danny. Such a beautiful raspy, soulful, sexy voice. I don’t know why people think fans of so-called “authentic” country won’t embrace Danny. I like country but for me Danny will only make me like it more. I’d love to hear more artists like Danny doing country.

Posted by GokeyGal | Report as abusive

Dude should have finished 4th at best. Alli Iraheta is the star from this season. Bank on it.

Posted by JSpicoli | Report as abusive

Just bought & listened to Danny’s new CD, ‘My Best Days’. Absolutely stellar! Definitely worth the wait for it & I couldn’t be happier for Danny. I felt all through the American Idol competition that he was THE voice. I was & am so right! Thanks, Danny.

Posted by Goldshadow | Report as abusive

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