Author, Hope In Front of Me (2013)
BMG Recording Artist Released his first album My Best Days in 2010 which debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 100 Charts and include the singles “My Best Days are Ahead of Me” and "I Will Not Say Goodbye"
Nominated for New/reakthrough Artist of the Year 2010 for the American Country Awards
Founder of Sophia’s Heart, est. in 2008 in memory of his late wife Sophia for children and families in need
April 2012 on A Night of Hope in Washington, DC with Joel Osteen Remarried to Leyicet in Jan. 2012, son Danny (9 months)
Danny Gokey: Find Purpose in Your Darkest Moments
The 700 Club
CBN.com - CONSTANT HOPE
Danny Gokey confesses that like many of us, he is a person full of struggles and pain as well as hopes and dreams. He has described his life story as a tragedy that God has turned around and done something greater. Throughout all of his experiences, one thing has remained constant – hope. His dreams began to form as a child. He found his purpose in the relationships that meant the most to him. His destiny was birthed out of his darkest moments. He was married to his high school sweetheart for four years before she died unexpectedly in 2008 after a routine heart surgery for a congenital heart condition. Danny was devastated and he never saw the darkness coming. It happened so fast. In those days, nothing made sense and words would bring him no comfort. He didn’t know what to do. After the tragic loss of his wife Sophia, Danny spiraled into darkness and depression. His struggles even led to thoughts of suicide, but he clung to the hope of his faith with everything he had. This is where Danny learned that the power of his belief system could get him out of his darkest moments. Though it did not make sense, he knew his faith and hope in Christ had to be real.
Danny says it has been a gratifying process to be able to share the parts of his story that many people may not know. His hope is that people can find a part of their story in his and that it will inspire hope in others. There are new beginnings. You can recover after devastating loss. Your past does not have to define you or your future. He also says the greatest part of his story is that helping others brings healing to you and those you help. Danny challenges people to find purpose in their darkest moments and leave a legacy for others by investing in things that really matter.
He has a message for those struggling with grief and depression. His journey of healing led him to discover that “hope” is always present and always available.
AMERICAN IDOL AND BEYOND
Sophia was a fan of American Idol and had suggested several times that Danny audition for the show. Danny never really watched the show. However, he was nearing the cut off age of 28 and knew this might be his last shot, so he decided to audition. A month before the audition, tragedy stuck. In 2008, Sophia underwent routine surgery for her congenital heart condition and suddenly died during the operation. Danny was devastated. He says he was angry at God and didn't want to go on American Idol. He and Sophia had spent four years praying and believing for her healing. One of the reasons Sophia's death was hard for Danny was because healing was something he was taught to believe. He really wanted Sophia’s healing and it didn’t go as planned. Danny says God's grace reached out to him and got him through. God healed him and broke him from deception and old mindsets. He says there was no specific encounter with God; there were several instances where Danny saw God and found Him. He also found solace and healing in music. Danny would let the sorrow come out, let the tears just roll. Some of the music he would listen to encouraged him to not let the grief be the thing that destroyed him for the rest of his life. Music helped him get through and still helps him get through today.
Though Danny was still heartbroken after the loss of Sophia, the audition process for American Idol was the first ray of hope for him. This set him on a path toward healing and purpose. Eventually, he auditioned for American Idol, four weeks after Sophia's passing. He became one of the show's early frontrunners and ultimately finished third after Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. Danny had a great time on Idol. It was like a school that helped prepare him for the music industry. In hindsight, Danny says he wishes he had more experience. Before then, he only had experience with Christian music at his church. He learned a lot on the show and is still learning. Danny mainly stuck to gospel and soul music during his time on American Idol. However, he was urged by several people to give country music a try, which he did following the show’s conclusion. Danny sees now that it was for God’s bigger purpose and vision in his life and in the lives of others.
After competing on American Idol, The American Idols LIVE! Tour kept him busy until September 2009. Then he signed with 19 Recordings (in conjunction with RCA Nashville) and set to work on a country album. His first single, “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me,” topped the country charts at number 29. Next, he released his debut album, My Best Days, in early 2010. Danny never intended to move to Nashville, but country music was the best way and the best decision at the time in which he found great success. Danny believes this was for God’s greater plan.
As Danny was competing on American Idol, he also established a foundation, Sophia’s Heart, in honor of his late wife. Danny says starting this foundation helped him heal from the loss of Sophia. Originally, the vision of the organization was to reach out to children from ages 0-18 and help restore various areas of their lives. Now he has expanded to mend and heal the hearts of children and families who have been touched by poverty, sickness, disease, broken homes and broken dreams. Some of the ways they do this is by inspiring children’s minds through music and arts programs, after school programs, helping families succeed through interventions, and restoring hope to communities. They have two locations, one in Danny’s hometown of Milwaukee, WI and Nashville. For the Nashville location, a multi-million dollar building was donated and has helped the ministry. Sophia’s Heart is now helping twelve families and has established a music school. Danny really wants to “change the face of homelessness.” With the Nashville facility, Sophia’s Heart helps take care of the immediate needs of food, clothing, and a beautiful place to live. With Sophia’s Heart, Danny wants to go further and have programs that help families “design their futures.” A part of this is to restore hope and dreams and help them practically get to their destinies. They are renovating the Nashville facility. It will be able to house 100 families per year for a six-month program. Danny personally spends time with each of the families when he can – he has a strong connection with them. He attends “Family Night,” which are meetings held once a week where all of the families get together with pastors, teachers, leaders etc. from the community for worship and encouragement. Danny says whatever God’s purposes are for the direction of Sophia’s Heart, he is open to whatever He wants.
FINDING LOVE AGAIN
In 2011, Danny met his wife, Leyicet, through a mutual friend. Their connection happened quickly. Danny says God aligned their steps and they married on November 30, 2011. Danny describes her as possessing the heart of God and she responds to the things God responds to. Danny says it’s the best decision he’s made.
On January 20, 2013, Danny and Leyicet welcomed a son, Daniel Emanuel Gokey (or Baby Danny) to the family. Danny loves being a dad. He is learning firsthand how much one person can love another. Baby Danny is a joy to be around.
He is recording a new album with BMG Recordsdue for release in Spring 2014. He will be sharing the song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.” Although Danny did not write the song, it is closely related to his story. The single will be available Fall 2013 on iTunes.
A great lesson Danny has learned is to stay close to Christ and be rooted and established in His love. He learned through his experiences that if you don’t stay close to Christ, you start to be deceived. Especially if
you don’t have confidence in God and His love, you can be deceived and live contrary to your purpose. Sometimes trials and life’s circumstances can make you doubt God’s love if you are not strongly rooted in him. Also it can be a
a challenge to stay constantly rooted, but if you seek the Lord in everything no matter what, you will find confidence and strength in Him.
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