In the summer of 2008, Danny Gokey, who was then worship director for a Milwaukee-based church, auditioned for "American Idol" just one month after his wife, Sophia, unexpectedly died during a routine heart surgery.
Gokey made it to the Top 3 round in "Idol's" six season, but was eliminated after his performance of Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful." He went on to tour with American Idol Live in 2009 and released "My Best Days" on RCA Nashville in 2010.
While on "Idol," Gokey was known for wearing glasses, and later became the spokesperson for Wisconsin Vision. Earlier this year, he unveiled a new collection of unisex glasses called the Danny Gokey Eyewear Collection.
Gokey remarried in January and now lives with his wife in Nashville.
"She looks great in glasses," he says.
Gokey stopped by the OnMilwaukee.com offices this morning and we had the chance to chat about his new record, his new wife and his new line of glasses.
OnMilwaukee.com: What's going on with your record?
Danny Gokey: I just signed with new management and I am doing a lot of writing right now. Expect a full-length album out in early 2013. We're in the process of negotiating labels and trying to find the best place for me. There are a lot of opportunities.
OMC: How would you describe the future album? What genres and messages will it include?
DG: It will again cross genres: country, Christian, rock. My messages always revolve around love, inspiration, church and real issues like heartbreak.
OMC: Which bands / musicians are inspiring you these days?
DG: It's hard to say. There are so many: Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Motown.
OMC: So when did you get remarried? And tell us a little bit about your new wife.
DG: My wife's name is Leyicet Peralta. We had a very intimate wedding in Miami on Jan. 29. She is a model and a broadcast journalism student.
OMC: Do you want to have kids?
DG: Maybe (smiling).
OMC: How did you meet?
DG: Through a mutual friend.
OMC: When you met Leyicet did you feel like you had made it through the grieving process or did she help you through it?
DG: I think I had grieved already in a healthy way. I was grieving while being broadcast all over the world. It was good, actually, because it gave me something to live for.
OMC: I read that you and Leyicet asked your wedding guests to donate to the charity you set up for your late wife, called Sophia's Heart, instead of gifts.
DG: Yes, we did.
OMC: So tell me about your new line of glasses ...
DG: I always dreamed of getting my own line of glasses. I've been working with Wisconsin Vision and Match Eyewear on the The Danny Gokey Collection. There are 13 styles in three or four different colors each. Four more styles are coming out this fall, and some sunglasses. They're "geek chic" but go beyond that, too.
OMC: Do you personally have all of the styles in all of the colors?
OMC: How do you decide which pair to wear every morning?
DG: It's tough. (Laughs) But there's a pair that goes with everything.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.