Milwaukee native Danny Gokey an American Idol’ alum and three-time Grammy nominee, is releasing a new album

Milwaukee native Danny Gokey an American Idol’ alum and three-time Grammy nominee, is releasing a new album

The process Danny Gokey takes to create an album always starts the same: With prayer.

“Write through me. My hands are yours. In my own strength, I can only accomplish so much. But if you write through me, it can touch our world.’ “

Those are the words the Milwaukee native, “American Idol” finalist and three-time Grammy nominee prayed over his new full-length album, “Jesus People,” which drops Aug. 20.

Gokey described it as the type of album where people can “get their soul fed” while rocking out.

The album’s journey began mid-pandemic.

“There’s so much going on in our world, there’s so much division, it just feels like we’re being pitted against each other that there’s not a lot of unity, there’s not a lot of love,” Gokey said.

The songs on the album speak to those themes.

Gokey recalled watching the news last year and seeing “America turn on itself” amid the COVID-19 shutdown and unrest. The song “We All Need Jesus” featuring Koryn Hawthorne was born out of that place and was the first one that came together for the new record.

Songs show where he’s been, who he is now

Gokey said there are songs on the album, like “Stand In Faith” and “Agradecido,” that demonstrate where he’s been in the past and where he is today.

“Stand In Faith” is representative of what Gokey had to do when he faced some of the toughest battles of his life.

Gokey auditioned for Season 8 of “American Idol” in 2008, just four weeks after his wife, Sophia, died during an operation related to a lifelong heart condition. A fan of the show, his wife urged him to audition before she passed.

Gokey ended up making it to the top three, behind runner-up Adam Lambert and winner Kris Allen.

“If anyone was to look at my journey, that was the song that I had to live,” Gokey said.

But “Agradecido,” which means grateful, paints “a picture” of where Gokey is now: “Thankful for all the blessings God has given” him.

“That’s who I am today,” he said. “And I love that.”

What made this song even more special was that he got to film the music video in Puerto Rico with his wife, Leyicet, and their four kids. Gokey said he got to spend a lot more time with them at home in Nashville while making this album because of the pandemic.

“I started realizing how much they need me at home,” said Gokey, who loves watching movies, swimming, walking and visiting the gym and trampoline park with them.

“As I approach this new way of looking at life — my career and my kids — there’s just a different type of focus on it,” he said.

While Gokey said choosing a favorite or most meaningful song off of “Jesus People” is  like choosing a favorite child he gave it a go.

A favorite is “Do For Love” with Angie Rose, a pop/hip-hop artist from the Bronx, since it has the “kind of vibe” he’s “never hit before.”

“It’s one of those songs that you’ve got to have the radio up,” he said.

One of the most meaningful is “All Are Welcome.” It “embodies” what the album is about and tries to “bring people together,” he said.

Wisconsin album release concert

After losing about 105 shows to the pandemic, Gokey said he will have played between 50 and 70 since it hit by year’s end.

“I think a lot of people got lonely,” Gokey said. “It’s interesting how many shows that I’ve done this year where it was their first show back. The people responded with such enthusiasm.”

He’s putting on a couple of album release concerts across the country this month, including a “hometown” one at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at Pewaukee’s Spring Creek Church, N35W22000 West Capitol Drive.

Prior to becoming a superstar, Gokey — a graduate of Milwaukee’s Vincent High School — drove a 53-foot semi truck for an Oak Creek-based company, and was a music director at Faith Builders International Ministries in Milwaukee.

While Gokey will be showcasing “Jesus People” with his full band at his upcoming show, he’ll also be performing his radio hits.

“It’s just going to be full of energy, very entertaining, but also, at the same time, it’s going to feed the soul,” he said. “I think people need that right now.”

Tickets cost $20 for general admission with 7 p.m. entry, $35 for early entry at 6:45 p.m., or $75 for premium VIP with 6 p.m. entry. A group ticket option is also available. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit dannygokey.com/tour.

Looking ahead, Gokey is headlining a “Stand In Faith” fall tour — which won’t be making it to Wisconsin — with special guest Colton Dixon, another “Idol” alum.

“It’s going to be a great night of coming together, singing, celebrating that we’re back in concert together,” Gokey said.

To follow what Gokey is up to or to see where his fall tour will be stopping, visit dannygokey.com.

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