Danny Gokey, former third-place finalist on “American Idol”’s eighth season, attended California Baptist University’s Homecoming Weekend to perform music and promote his book, “Hope in Front of Me.”
Gokey performed with his band for chapel services Nov. 6, as well as a concert Nov. 7 in the Stamps Courtyard.
Kali Wade, sophomore communication disorders major, was among the many who bought Gokey’s book at his signing event.
“I wanted to meet him and buy the book after watching him play in chapel earlier because I think his spiritual leadership is really admirable,” Wade said.
The book signing provided an opportunity for students to learn more about why Gokey decided to write a book.
“About a year from the time God told me to write a book, I lost my first wife and started a non-profit organization called Sophia’s Heart,” Gokey said. “This led up to my ‘American Idol’ debut.”
Following the writing and release of his book, Gokey’s manager asked him to write a song sharing the same title as the book, “Hope in Front of Me,” which became a hit.
“The song is more about the book than anything else,” Gokey said. “In the book I discuss dealing with thoughts of suicide of wanting to end my life after I lost my first wife.”
Gokey said he was upset with how events transpired and felt there was no escape, especially since he was never one to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.
“Hope was the key, and for a lack of better terms, hope was the tranquilizer that helped me get through,” Gokey said.
In the time after his wife’s death, Gokey said he was battling with anger until a woman at his church urged him to look at the Bible verse Psalm 41:10.
“I looked at the Hebrew translation and the verse actually said, ‘Let go and stop fighting with God,’ and I knew exactly what God was saying in that moment.”
The singer explained when he went on “American Idol” he felt as if he were a brand new man, feeling refreshed after God had spoken to him.
Gokey said it felt like God had pulled a cork out of his heart removing the toxicity of the bitterness from the trauma of his wife’s death.
“Once I let that cork go,” Goke said “It just filtered through my heart and life was happy once again.”
Gokey said he plans to launch a YouTube series in December about his life with his second wife and kids, spotlighting his nonprofit organization and the musical aspects of his career after “American Idol.”