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article imageInterview with David Cook: 'Laying Me Low' Special

By Markos Papadatos     Aug 8, 2013 in Entertainment
Retired four-star U.S. Army general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell once said: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
A musician who best exemplifies this wise quotation is American Idol season 7 winner and rock music sensation, David Cook. He has always been one of the most talented, versatile and genuine vocalists in the history of the reality singing competition. He was never afraid to take risks and showcased his vulnerability and his vocals were raw and emotional.
Most importantly, he sang with a lot of heart and was able to connect with millions of audiences watching him at home. While on Idol he was able to take songs by such artists as Lionel Richie (“Hello”), Michael Jackson (“Billie Jean”), Dolly Parton (“Little Sparrow”) and Mariah Carey (“Always Be My Baby”) and twist them, thus making them his own.
On August 7, I had the great fortune to chat via telephone with David Cook about his new single, his musical career, his songwriting, as well as his plans for the future.
David released his latest radio single “Laying Me Low” on April 30, via his label, XIX Recordings. David co-wrote the song with fellow songwriters Chris Reardon and Andy Waldeck. “Chris and I co-produced the single and it was a blast. I felt empowered to be able to be involved creatively on that level with the song from start to finish. I really felt like the finished product had my fingerprints on it. That song was different for me in the sense that it was a bit more experimental in trying to step outside of my comfort zone more than I really ever had before,” David said.
Although he hadn’t met Chris Reardon and Andy Waldeck prior to this creative process, he noted that a mutual friend got them in all together and they all connected immediately. “With the exception of one or two songs, I think Chris and Andy were a part of this entire record and they had their names on it. It’s really been a fruitful and creative partnership,” he said.
The “bulk” of David’s forthcoming album is written and that is going to determine whether they are going to release it on a new label, whether it is an independent or a major one. “My goal for this record is really to find the right home for it. This is probably as excited as I have been about music that I have been a part of in a really long time. I want to get this music out to as many ears as possible in the best way possible,” he said.
The Idol winner revealed that his previous studio effort had “such an arc to it which presented its own set of challenges” and this new project is more eclectic since it has “songs about everything” on there. “That has been fun and challenging in its own right. I think it allows for each song to have a little bit more of its own identity and now that I sit here with these songs and listen to them, it’s cool to see each song go in its own direction,” the singer-songwriter said.
While it is hard for David to choose a personal favorite song from the ones that he has recorded, he is drawn to his poignant and heartfelt ballad “Permanent.” “Obviously, there is the content of the lyrics on what the song is about, but that was the first time in my career as a musician where the way that I heard the song in my head is the way that it ended up on the record, and that was a very intense afternoon at Conway Studious with that song,” he said.
Throughout his tenure in music, David was crowned champion of the seventh season of American Idol, where critical judge Simon Cowell praised him on the night of his Idol win for being a “terrific” talent, as well as for “trying hard” and for “giving it his best” and he subsequently commended him for being a true gentleman. He went on to win with a difference of 12 million votes; moreover, his eponymous studio album has been certified platinum and it peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 all-genre charts; moreover, in 2008, he took home a Teen Choice award for “Choice TV Male Reality/Variety Star.”
American Idol winner and rock singer David Cook
American Idol winner and rock singer David Cook
Russ Harrington
Although he has had many “cool” moments happen to him, he is one true humanitarian that puts his work for philanthropic causes first. David remarked, “I have been really fortunate to be involved with Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure and the National Brain Tumor Society with the ‘Race for Hope’ in D.C. over the last five years has been huge and definitely an important part of all this for me. I am a big sports fan so to get to play at the celebrity softball game in Kansas City was huge too,” he said.
David shared that partaking in all of these charitable events is a great deal of fun for him. “The fact that I get to do these things and do good for other people is a big part of why I do this. I enjoy playing music, but being able to do more important things like that is extremely gratifying,” the humble singer said.
On his plans for the future, David revealed, “I have a new record in the works and another tour. I will continue to work with Chris Evert and her charity, as well as Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure.”
When asked what motivates him from day to day, he stated, “I just enjoy what I do. That has always been my motivation.”
In his spare time, he enjoys getting lost in Nashville with his girlfriend and his puppies, in an effort “to feel normal.”
A Blue Springs, Missouri, native David is a fan of Adele’s last album “21” and he listed the British sultry songstress as his dream female duet choice. “I really enjoyed my last record and I would love to work with Adele,” he said.
While it was quite overwhelming for David, especially when he first entered the music industry professionally, he added that having a great support system, which includes his family and great friends, was essential for him to overcome any challenges that were presented to him. “I have been really fortunate and everybody puts me in my place really quick,” he said.
He had but nothing the highest praise for his dedicated fans that have been with his from his Idol days. “My fans are awesome and I try to stay connected with them on Facebook and Twitter as much as I can. I really truly love being out on the road and connecting with them in-person,” he said. “I am continuously amazed at the support that I get from my fans this many years after Idol. I don’t think I am ever going to be able to repay them for that,” he added.
While some artists have extreme pre-show rituals, David has a really simple one. “I have to chew cinnamon gum on stage. That’s really my only ritual,” he said.
For David Cook, his definition of the word success is happiness in life.
For more information on rock singer and songwriter David Cook and his music, check out his official website.
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