Twenty-eight-year-old Danny Gokey, a Christian music teacher and worship leader from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become an American Idol front runner overnight.
Danny Gokey was selected for American Idol‘s Top 12 (in 2009’s Season 8) on February 18th. He blew the crowd and the judges (Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson) away with his rendition of Mariah Carey’s hit single, “Hero.”
Who is Danny Gokey?
Auditioning for American Idol in Kansas City
Danny Gokey initially auditioned for American Idol in Kansas City, singing Marvin Gaye’s classic single, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” His audition was aired on January 14, 2009.
His wife, Sophia Linnette (nee Martinez) Gokey died of heart failure on July 9, 2008, a month before his Kansas City audition. Supported by her husband and family, Sophia had suffered from a heart condition for an extended period of time.
The couple had no children, although the Gokeys had said often, to family and friends and on their own website, that they both loved kids and had hoped to have a large family.
Danny Gokey’s Follow-Up Performances
Since he first appeared on American Idol, Danny Gokey has wowed audiences with his adaptations of Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose,” Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance,” and more.
The American Idol judges selected Danny Gokey for the top 36, although his close friend, Milwaukee waiter and worship leader Jamar Rogers, did not make the cut.
Faith Builders International Ministries
Both Danny Gokey and Jamar Rogers are active participants in worship and music programs with Faith Builders International Ministries, a Pentecostal church with services in both Milwaukee and Beloit, Wisconsin. The American Idol finalist is on staff with Faith Builders, led by Pastors Jeffrey and Robin Pruitt.
In the past year, Danny Gokey has commuted between Beloit and Milwaukee, about a 90-minute drive, while spending considerable time in Nashville for philanthropic endeavors and recording sessions.
Sophia’s Heart Foundation
Named for the American Idol finalist’s late wife, Sophia’s Heart Foundation honors her memory by raising support for children with special emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs.
Children’s homes, family centers, art and music education programs medical funds and scholarships are hallmarks of the fledgling foundation, begun by Danny Gokey and supporters in the past year.
Will Danny Gokey Hold America’s Heart?
Time will only tell whether American Idol voters will remain devoted and faithful to Danny Gokey. Certainly, the judges have lauded his talent and performances enthusiastically.
Will America go ga-ga for Danny Gokey? Will preteens, teens and others text in their votes for the outwardly Christian music teacher and worship leader?
If folks in Milwaukee have their way, Danny Gokey will go all the way to the title of Season 8’s American Idol.