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How AMERICAN IDOL Alum Danny Gokey Got into Music: ‘God Kept Pushing’

Photo by Extraordinary Women Ministries via Danny Gokey’s Instagram

How AMERICAN IDOL Alum Danny Gokey Got into Music: ‘God Kept Pushing’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Danny Gokey didn’t always embrace his gift for music, but through the encouragement of others and God’s “pushes,” he found his true calling.

The AMERICAN IDOL finalist and three-time Grammy nominee opened up on the Jesus Calling podcast to discuss the beginning of his music career and how he found peace after sorrow.

“For most of my childhood and my teenage years, I had to be pushed, in a gentle way, to sing because I had no desire to do it,” the singer said.

His parents encouraged him to sing, and eventually, his youth pastor convinced him to sing in front of the church.

“He would really try to push me to sing solos in front of the church and do duets and trios with him and another guy,” Gokey said. “We’d sing a lot of Phillips, Craig and Dean songs because it just fit three male vocalists singing together. It must have been in my youth group years that I started getting a hold of it.”

When the church’s worship leader left, Gokey was asked to fill his spot.

“We had no one to do it. So I started doing it, and I started actually loving it around then,” Gokey said.

“Then I went to a new church in town. After some time—I think I was twenty—I fell in love with their music program, and once again the pastor pushed me because I just wanted to be a background singer,” Gokey said. “I loved being a [background] singer. And after that, he one day came to church and said, ‘You’re leading worship, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Yes, you are.’ He said, ‘I need you to lead worship.’”

“Most of my life, it has always been a thing that pushed me, but I’m glad God kept pushing me because it was something that I just didn’t see myself as—the lead person or the lead singer,” Gokey said.

When Gokey hit his late 20s, his wife Sophia encouraged him to try out for AMERICAN IDOL.

Movieguide® previously reported that Gokey’s wife tragically died before he could audition:

‘I made a promise that I would go try out,’ Danny said. ‘Little did I know that when I would try out for this show, it would be a month after she passed…’

The tragic event forced Gokey to face some of his lifelong fears about God’s love for him.

His wife had only been gone for a month, and he didn’t want to audition anymore. But his friends and pastor strongly encouraged him to go on the show.

And he did.

“And so in the most difficult time of my life, losing a spouse, all of a sudden there’s a wide-open door in the midst of that to fulfill a dream that God was giving me in that moment,” Gokey said. “And I will say this, having that dream and having that vision and having that hope really helped me to tread through the grief, the suffering, the angst of losing someone that I thought God was going to heal.”

God Reports reported that “Psalm 46:10 kept appearing before [Gokey]: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’” Then “God reinvigorated my soul with life again,” the singer added.

“I just kept moving forward, kept believing God, staying in peace, you know, because that can really take your peace away,” he said.

After AMERICAN IDOL, Gokey released a single that “went number one,” and his career soared.

Gokey is currently on his Stay Strong Tour and will join Natalie Grant in K-LOVE’s Celebrate Christmas, which will kick off in November 2023.

Movieguide® previously reported on Gokey:

Danny Gokey recently sat down with Kirk Cameron to talk about hope and how he was able to continue on after the tragic death of his wife. 

“When you walk through difficult times and hope is like a lifesaver to you, it tends to naturally bubble up out of you,” Gokey said. “What’s in us comes out of us.” 

“I’ve seen God move in my life, I’ve seen God help me pull through significant losses and through different seasons of anxiety and depression and everything that brought me out was always hope. When people lose hope, they lose their reason to live,” he continued.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.