When Danny Gokey was on "American Idol," he was invited into the households of thousands each week. The Milwaukee native, mourning the loss of his first wife, Sophia, he used music as a therapy for coping with the loss. People seemed to identify with his story and his voice to propel him to a third-place finish.
Flash forward to this week, and I’m chatting with Gokey on the phone as he travels into New York. He’s about to hit the road, supporting his sophomore album, "Hope in Front of Me."
"I was just in Milwaukee last weekend," Gokey said, as the cell signal started to crackle as he was heading into the Lincoln tunnel.
We chatted a bit about when we last saw him on television and the work he’s been doing to get this latest effort to the people.
"Well, I signed with a new label, BMG, and they have been great," Gokey said. "They gave me so much creative freedom … I co-wrote nine of the 11 songs on the album. They said, ‘listen, we are in no rush here,’ and that was refreshing."
Gokey’s single "Hope in Front of Me," the title track from the album, has already been released. The song is climbing the Top 30 on Christian Radio charts, and is crossing over to other genres as well. The upbeat tune leads the album, that will be fully released on June 24.
"If people download the song now, they will get two free downloads as well," Gokey said. "We want to get that out there."
Having the opportunity to listen to the new songs, one can see Gokey’s love of different types of music shine, and the lyrics are very powerful, which adds a whole other level to the tracks.
"I wanted to continue to use God’s gift in me to reach others," he said, speaking of some of his favorites on the new album.
"I really wanted to just capture more of who I am with this record … more of the soul, and more of all of me as an artist. It’s got a big sounds to it, which I love.
Gokey said he is enjoying getting out and promoting the album, including a performance on "Good Day" on Fox.
His "Better than Gold" has a nice pop and soul feel, where you can hear the R&B influence in the chorus, and "Take it to the Limit" and "Pretty Beautiful" will have you trying to sing along on the first time you heard it. It is always great to see and artist given the time and venue for their soul to shine, and "Hope in Front of Me" is that place for Gokey.
We did get to talk a little about coming home to vising Milwaukee, and Gokey said he misses the diversity that’s found here, when compared to Nashville, Tenn., the city he works out of.
"I really enjoy all of the food, especially on the south side," he said. "And the east side is so eclectic."
Gokey did say that he missed the cut off with the album and tour plans to make it to Summerfest this year, but he hopes he will be able to return soon, possibly as early as next summer.
LATER TONIGHT: "Kelly File Investigation: The VA Scandal," will air at 8.m. on Fox News. Megyn Kelly will trace the origins of trouble within the Department of Veterans Affairs, beginning with initial warnings to then-incoming President Barack Obama in 2008, and will follow a growing trail of evidence showing VA bosses knew about major wait time problems and staffers "gaming the system" back in 2010.
The special will also detail how the VA scandal exploded in recent weeks as a series of whistleblowers have come forward and as issues have spread to VA centers in 19 states. Guests include Paul Rieckhoff, the Executive Director and Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, American Legion National Command Dan Dellinger and Peter Hegseth, former Executive Director of Vets for Freedom.
MORE THAN JUST "DOG": at 7 p.m. Saturday Al Jazeera America’s Peabody Award-winning investigative documentary program, "Fault Lines," examines America's multi-billion dollar bail bond industry, and the uniquely American job of bounty hunting.
The U.S. is one of only two countries (along with the Philippines) that allows companies to bail people out of jail at a profit. In all but four states, bail bondsmen are allowed to take almost any legal measure necessary to capture fugitives, including crossing state lines and breaking into homes. It’s a dangerous business for almost everyone involved, with few rules and little oversight.
RUN O.J., RUN: Geraldo Rivera will take a look back to 20 years ago at 10 p.m. Saturday with "Geraldo Rivera: O.J. Simpson at 20" on Fox News.
As the 20th anniversary of the tragic murders and subsequent trial approaches, Rivera takes a look back at the killings of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman and where O.J. Simpson is today.
The special will include an exclusive interview with the famous houseguest (and Wisconsin native) Kato Kaelin, regarding the murders and his friendship with O.J. and Nicole Simpson. Rivera will also take an in-depth look back at the infamous Bronco chase in an interview with Tom Lange, former LAPD detective on the case and the police officer on the phone with O.J. during the chase.
MEMORIAL DAY: Fox Business Network will air "War Stories with Oliver North" starting at 8 a.m. on Memorial Day. Fox Business will air 16 war stories episodes that range from Normandy, Korea and Afghanistan.
A LOOK BACK: Fox News will present a one-hour special, "Fox News Reporting: D-Day +70 Secrets Revealed" at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Seventy years after the great Allied victory, Appleton native Greta Van Susteren will host a special that reveals the secrets behind the Invasion of Normandy and uncover the plan the British concocted to trick Adolph Hitler about the time and place of D-Day.
The program will also feature interviews with World War II veterans who survived the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.