Danny Gokey was definitely a fan favorite on season 8 of American Idol. His story is BEYOND inspiring. Just 4 weeks after losing his wife, he auditioned for the show, came in 3rd place, and his life changed forever.
What’s even more inspiring is what he’s been doing post-American Idol. Danny has used his fame to start Sophia’s Heart, an org working to to help homeless families stay together and to promote performing arts for children.
Now, he's doing better than ever! Danny just released his first book, Hope in Front of Me and is expecting to release his second album early next year. Do Something got the inside scoop on everything from his book to his upcoming album – check it out below.
DoSomething.org: How has your life changed since American Idol?
Danny Gokey: It has changed everything for the good! I’ve had some amazing experiences and received some great opportunities. I have a music career, an eyewear line, and now a book released. On top of that, I’ve gotten married again and have an amazing 8-month-old little boy. Life is good!
DS: What was the inspiration behind creating Sophia's Heart?
DG: Sophia’s Heart was founded at a devastating time in my life when I had just lost my first wife. When her boss handed me the [death benefit] check from her insurance company, I knew that the money wasn’t for me. In my grief, I wanted to do something that honored her; I didn’t want to spend it on myself. I felt that I needed to establish something bigger that would touch and help other people. Helping people in my brokenness helped to bring healing to me.
DS: How can young people get involved in Sophia's Heart?
DG: We love having people help out! They can help out by serving in many different ways, but one of the coolest ways is to become a 'live in volunteer' and live at Sophia’s Heart for 3 months or more. Live in volunteers serve the families our organization helps on a daily basis by cooking, teaching, mentoring, and loving them. Many other opportunities besides that exist as well. If you want to get involved, contact email@example.com .
DS: Is there one story that stands out regarding how Sophia’s Heart has touched another person's life?
DG: We have had so many, but one of the stories that stands out is about a single mom. She was split up from her children for 3 months because she had lost her home. She was desperate to get her family back together and found Sophia’s Heart. When she was accepted into our program she got a key to her own room. She broke down in tears because for the first time in 3 months she had her kids and dignity back!
DS: What was your inspiration for writing Hope In Front of Me?
DG: I went through things in my 20's that devastated me, but I made it to the other side and found my purpose in my darkest moment. I want to give insight to readers that will hopefully help them get to the other side of their dark times. I want them to find hope and the ability to dream again, even if life took negative turns they never expected.
DS: What is the most important thing you hope readers will learn or take away from your book?
DG: Perspective, hope, and the ability to dream again. I hope readers will let go of the things that have held them back and embrace the next chapter of their life.
DS: What's next for you?
DG: I recently signed a record deal with BMG Records and I’m in the studio making my second album. We expect to have a single released early fall 2013 and a full length album by spring 2014. We are also working to promote new elements of the Danny Gokey eyewear line. And last but not least, we’re expanding the reach of Sophia's Heart to other cities to help bring hope to so many homeless families who need it.