Danny Gokey: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Danny Gokey: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: Can we ask you about your first CMA Festival? What has been the most exciting thing so far?

DG: I have always been on the outside looking in. I think that most people that are not in the industry have that perception of what it is like to just look in. Being inside it now, I think the thing that has touched my heart the most is the connection with the fans. I really mean it. I have been able to shake and hug and sign so many times over, but seeing the realness of the impact over and over. I was that same person growing up that was impacted by music myself, just like everyone in this room; it is a universal language. Just to see that on the inside…I was sitting at the table today and thinking “wow, you really make a difference when you are doing music”.

Q: Some of us got to talk to you after the CMT awards, but it seemed that things really opened up for you after the awards. You got to meet a lot of great people. Can you tell us about that?

DG: Last night, I met “Snookie”. Talk about the buzz of the CMT Awards; “Snookie and the Situation” and I am not very familiar with “Jersey Shores”. You don’t have to watch “Jersey Shores” to know who they are. I was tweeting all night last night and I got a lot of behind the scenes pictures that I tweeted to my fans. Twitter was going a little crazy yesterday. I took a shot of what looked like of “me” Blake Shelton and Chuck Wicks peeing and yes, it was Blake’s idea, of course. I saw Kelly Clarkson last night too, of all people. She was there at the after party. I was able to talk to Keith Urban. I was walking down the hallway and Keith Urban called me to him. It was the coolest thing. I was surrounded by people, I walked by and he goes “Danny, come here”. I was like “oh” and came running up there. He mentioned that his family loves my single “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me”. He told how they were walking through Nashville Shores and they heard it and I think it was one of his kids came up and asked who it was. He said he knew that tone of voice and he went and looked in a Billboard magazine and knew he was right. He said they love that song, it’s a great song. I was honored, I was speechless.

Q: Can you give us some career advice for aspiring new artists?

DG: I think the foundation of the music industry is dream. I know that is probably the easiest part, but I think when the hardest part come is when it feels like the dream is not going to come true. I remember there was a point when I kind of gave up on it, but because I was very passionate about music, I just did it. I put no expectation on it. You have to keep dreaming, keep pushing, keep pressing but at the same time you have to be unique. We don’t need another Danny Gokey, Keith Urban or Reba McIntire. You have to be unique because that uniqueness will create a roll for you. It will bring you to where you need to be.

Q: What are your expectations for tonight?

DG: I think we have exceeded my expectations already. At this point, you can imagine the heaviness that you start to carry, because I have never done a show this size in my life. A national anthem for a “Packer’ game, the stadium holds tens of thousands, but it not performing.

Q: It is an end of an era for American Idol with Simon leaving. What are your feelings on that and who do you think should replace him?

DG: I think we can all come to an agreement in this room that we all feel like “wow, what is this show going to be like?”. Simon didn’t make the show, who was Simon when the show came to be? It was American Idol, but it was the chemistry of the people on the show that made the show what it was. Honestly, he was the front face on the show and to see him leaving is sad. But American Idol was successful in the beginning. If they utilize that formula they used was back in the beginning and put someone polarizing in that place, I think that will draw the people in. I heard a rumor that Howard Stern could have been that guy. Honestly, regardless of whether you like him or not he would draw crowds. I heard he isn’t going to do it, but I think what they are trying to do is pick someone polarizing and they are on the right track. We will see what happens.

Q: Can you tell us about the next steps you are taking in your career? You have the second single here, something about a video, what is happening?

DG: I am currently on tour with Sugarland, which has been a blast. It is definitely an opportunity, because if you think about it, American Idol gives you tools, it gives you a platform to become successful at that moment, but after that, you have to work. Just to have the opportunity, first off, to cut a CD and then to get on a tour to promote the CD has been amazing. Now, we are finishing the tour August 5th, we have a lot of spot dates coming up and we are getting ready to put together a tour for the fall. More details will be in the future. About the video and my single “I Will Not Say Goodbye”. If you have listened to my CD, you will see my CD tells stories because my CD is a very personal reflection on my personal life, but at the same time, so many people can relate to it. “I Will Not Say Goodbye”, everyone that knows my story will understand completely from the first word that comes out of my mouth. The video paints an even stronger picture of what I am trying to express. In the video, we actually tell other people’s stories of what they experienced with loss and how they are getting through it.

Q: With the international fame you gained with American Idol, have you thought about travel or touring overseas?

DG: I think that is always a thought in your mind because what is the first thing you think about when you think of touring? You think traveling. Yes, of course, but at this point, there has been opportunity, but there is a lot of ground work to be done. I have to grow my own legs and learn how to walk; make my own footsteps. I need to build upon a foundation that was laid. Yes, I want to but in its time and in its place.

Q: Talk a little about what you have learned being out with Sugarland. What have you learned performance wise?

DG: At this point in my career, I have become a sponge, because I understand the only way to get better is to learn from the people that are the best. Sugarland? They are the best of the best out there. To see their set design, to see their interaction with the crowd, to see how their movement sparks energy is amazing. When you get on the stage, you have to get a thermometer to gauge the atmosphere and work with that atmosphere and watch how they are doing that. Each city is different, not everyone will be up on their feet dancing, you have to learn to manipulate and control the show at that point. I am learning from them and everyone else I can get my hands on and watch.

Q: You started Sophia’s Heart Foundation. Has CMA Fest become a very good tool for you to educate the fans about that foundation and what they can do?

DG: Absolutely. For instance, you asked that question and there have been questions asked all around about the organization and what I am doing. We have the ability to lend a hand in the Nashville area for support. We opened a relief center. We got our hands on a 45,000 square foot building at a very low price and we have been able to serve over 100 families with food, water, clothes, cleaning supplies and anything we can do. We are definitely a very small influence, but we wanted to do with what we could do with our hands and team up with other people. That is what we have done. It is great to be in this place because not only does your musical career elevate but at the same time the things you live for elevate. The charity has been one of them. That is how I was raised, to help people. It is in every person here, it is how we think.

For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit http://MomentsByMoser.zenfolio.com/lpbackstage

Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

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