Danny Gokey points to a key difference between his just-released new album Hope in Front of Me and its preceding 2010 album debut My Best Days.
“It has more of my DNA in it,” says Gokey, explaining that this time, he co-wrote nine out of the 11 songs, tapping into Nashville’s country songwriting community for collaborations with the likes of Tim Nichols, Brett James, and Keith Thomas—who also co-produced the album. But while Nashville resident Gokey’s first album was a country record, Hope in Front of Me is closer to his Christian music roots.
The Milwaukee native began singing with his family in church, and later served as worship director and music director.
“Faith is a big part of me,” he says, noting that his new album’s titletrack/first single, a Billboard Top 10 Hot Christian Songs chart hit, reflects the “love, hope, inspiration and faith” that are so central to his life.
Central, too, of course, is American Idol, on which he was third-place finalist in 2009.
“I love being part of it,” he says. “I have such a diverse fan group from being on the show, and I know they’ve lasted from the good response on social media.”
Known visually for his eyewear, Gokey also continues his association with Match Eyewear, his Danny Gokey Eyewear signature line now numbering 30 different frames in 1,500 retail outlets.
Gokey’s other main non-music activity is his Sophia’s Heart foundation, which helps disadvantaged children and is named after his late first wife.
“It takes up most of my time,” he says. “We’ve taken 70 homeless families in Nashville off the street, and could serve 300 families a year. I need to double my staff!”
But Gokey also retains his ties to his hometown. He recently delivered a keynote speech in Milwaukee, which is one of his top three markets, the others being Chicago and New York.
Subscribe to my examiner.com pages and jimbessman.com Website and follow me on Twitter @JimBessman!