Danny Gokey

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Daniel Jay Gokey (born April 24, 1980) is an American singer and former church music director from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the third-place finalist on the eighth season of American Idol. After his placing on the show, Gokey signed to 19 Recordings and RCA Nashville at the beginning of a career in country music, releasing the single "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me". His debut album, My Best Days, was released in March 2010.

After leaving RCA Nashville in November 2011, he gravitated his music towards an adult pop/contemporary Christian sound and subsequently made a record/publishing deal with BMG in May 2013. His second full-length album, Hope in Front of Me, was released in June 2014.

Early life

Gokey attended Heritage Christian Schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He started singing with his family in church, but stated he would rather record mainstream music than perform solely Christian/gospel music. He was the worship director at his church in Milwaukee, Faith Builders International Ministries, for several years.

He is the fifth of six children. He has a brother named Charles, and four sisters: Angela, Janell, Gina, and Tracey.

He has acknowledged the influence of Jeffrey and Robin Pruitt, who are 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 was a church music director, while also driving a semi truck (18 wheeler) for a local logistics company for two years.

American Idol

Overview

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, whom he met in Milwaukee. Both made it through to Hollywood, but Rogers was eliminated from the competition prior to the semifinals. (Rogers later appeared on the second season of NBC's The Voice.) Gokey's American Idol audition occurred only four weeks after his wife's death in July 2008.

During Rock Week (Top 4 week), Gokey's take on Aerosmith's "Dream On" was panned for the extended scream with which he finished the song. Gokey was the only contestant in that season who was never in the bottom two or three, but he was eliminated in third place on May 13, 2009, after his performance of Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful."

During the season 8 finale on May 20, 2009, Gokey performed a duet with R&B superstar Lionel Richie. The performance opened with Gokey singing a true-to-the-original soulful ballad solo of Richie's "Hello," and then Richie joined Gokey for a duet of his hits "Just Go" and "All Night Long".

Performances/results

Post-Idol career

Gokey was nominated in his home state of Wisconsin for a WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) Award for Best Christian/Gospel Artist of the Year.

As of September 2009, Gokey finished his tour with the other idols on the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2009, and he worked on his foundation, Sophia's Heart, which was set up to help disadvantaged children.

Gokey, known for his many pairs of eyeglasses that he often wore on the show, had stated he might start an eyewear line to help raise funds for his foundation and Match Eyewear teamed with him for the Danny Gokey Eyewear collection. Launched in March 2012, the collection has exceeded sales projections with over 1.7 million in net retail sales.

2009-2010: My Best Days

On September 1, 2009, Gokey signed with 19 Recordings/RCA Nashville, becoming the first third-place finisher to record with 19 and the first male Idol to be signed to a major country label. On November 19, 2009, 19 Recordings and RCA Records announced the release of the debut single "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me". Gokey's debut album, My Best Days, was released on March 2, 2010. It debuted on the Billboard charts at number four, and it netted Gokey the best opening-week sales by a debut country male in 18 years and the highest debut of digital downloads sold by any new country artist ever. In support of the album, Gokey was the opening act on Sugarland's Incredible Machine tour which began in April. Gokey also performed at country singer Darryl Worley's ninth annual Tennessee River Run festival in Savannah, Tennessee along with other artists such as Joe Diffie and Lee Brice. The event helped raise $200,000 for the Darryl Worley Foundation.

On October 18, 2010, Gokey earned a nomination for Best New/Breakthrough Artist at the first annual American Country Awards. He revealed in an interview released on October 26, 2010, that he had recently recorded his own version of the Amy Grant song, "Tennessee Christmas," to be released to country radio as a holiday single.

On November 21, 2010, Gokey was a part of ABC's pre-show event at the American Music Awards.

2011-2013: Love Again and label change

Gokey released the single "Second Hand Heart" penned by Cary Barlowe, Shane Stevens and Josh Kear on July 4, 2011. He was one of opening acts on Taylor Swift's Speak Now World Tour. He also made an appearance in a TV movie with Candace Cameron Bure called Truth Be Told.

Gokey left RCA Nashville in November 2011.

Gokey released his EP Love Again in May 2012. It was self-released limitedly via his official website only as physical CD format. His memoir, Hope in Front of Me: Find Purpose in Your Darkest Moments, was published on October 1, 2013.

2014-present: Hope in Front of Me, Christmas Is Here and Rise

Gokey kicked off 2014 with the release of his new single "Hope in Front of Me" under BMG.

Gokey's second album, Hope in Front of Me, was released on June 23 and debuted at number one on the Billboard Christian Albums chart.

In late August, "Hope in Front of Me" topped both the Billboard Christian Airplay chart (lasted 3 weeks) and Mediabase Christian Adult Contemporary chart. For the week ending of September 20, it also topped the Billboard Christian AC Songs chart.

On December 5, the official lyric video for the second single "More Than You Think I Am" was released.

In the spring of 2015, Gokey joined Natalie Grant's Burn Bright tour as a special guest, followed by The Bible Tour 2015 with Steven Curtis Chapman, Brandon Heath and Francesca Battistelli.

"Hope in Front of Me" was nominated for Song of the Year at K-LOVE Fan Awards 2015, held on May 31 and one of award-winning songs at 2015 BMI Christian Awards, held on June 23.

In July, "More Than You Think I Am" peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Christian Airplay chart. In August, Gokey earned nominations for New Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for "Hope in Front of Me" at 46th GMA Dove Awards.

On September 25, Gokey released the lead single "Lift Up Your Eyes" from his holiday album, Christmas Is Here, which was released on October 16. In October, Gokey joined NewSong's Beating Hearts Tour with Mandisa. In December, Gokey joined the 2015 K-LOVE Christmas Tour as a special guest.

In February and March 2016, Gokey was a part of the Rock & Worship Roadshow Tour 2016. The official music video for "Tell Your Heart to Beat Again", the third single from Hope in Front of Me, premiered at K-LOVE online on March 28. On May 6, Tell Your Heart to Beat Again was released as an EP at digital retailers. On June 5, Gokey won Male Artist of the Year and Breakout Single for "Tell Your Heart to Beat Again" at the 4th annual K-LOVE Fan Awards.

Rise, received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.

Personal life

Gokey married his high school sweetheart, Sophia Martinez, on May 15, 2004. The two had been together since 1997.

On July 9, 2008, four weeks before he auditioned for American Idol, Gokey's wife died from complications during her third surgery to treat her congenital heart disease. The couple had been together for 12 years, and Gokey credited her for his success. Sophia was a fan of American Idol and encouraged Gokey to be a contestant, and Danny started a foundation in her name, Sophia's Heart Foundation, with some of her family members who are also musicians. With branches in Milwaukee, Nashville and Sacramento, the organization's goals are to provide hope and help to homeless families, provide scholarships to deserving students and operate a thriving inner-city music and arts program.

In 2011, Gokey began dating Leyicet Peralta. The two announced their engagement on December 25, 2011 on the Sophia's Heart website. They were married on January 29, 2012. Their son Daniel Emanuel was born on January 20, 2013. Their daughter Victoria Isabella was born on November 28, 2014. Their son Gabriel Daniel was born on August 29, 2017. On Aug 16, 2019, their fourth child, Emmanuel, was born on the birthday of Danny's first wife.

Awards and nominations

Discography

  • My Best Days (2010)
  • Hope in Front of Me (2014)
  • Christmas Is Here (2015)
  • La Esperanza Frente a Mi (2016)
  • Rise (2017)
  • Haven't Seen It Yet (2019)
  • The Greatest Gift: A Christmas Collection (2019)

References

External links

  • Official website
  • Sophia's Heart Foundation (Official charity website)
Source : Wikipedia

Top Tracks

My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me 1

My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again 2

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again

Hope In Front Of Me 3

Hope In Front Of Me

Better Than Gold 4

Better Than Gold

I Will Not Say Goodbye 5

I Will Not Say Goodbye

Haven't Seen It Yet 6

Haven't Seen It Yet

White Christmas 7

White Christmas

I Still Believe 8

I Still Believe

Crazy Not To 9

Crazy Not To

Tiny Life 10

Tiny Life

Top Albums

My Best Days
My Best Days
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Hope In Front Of Me
Hope In Front Of Me
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My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me
My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me
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