As overplayed as some may think it is, American Idol provides a great outlet for aspiring stars to really get some national attention. It also provides an outlet for wannabes to make complete asses out of themselves, but nonetheless, it's for the greater good. Take, for instance, rocker David Cook, who won season seven of the show. The man has made a record-breaking 14 debuts on Billboard's Digital Songs as well as released three albums and is currently on tour.
When we talked to the former Idol star, he was at home in Nashville, relaxing before going out on the road. Cook also told us he has been working on his new record and "keeping an eye on the World Series" because he is a "die hard" Kansas Royal fan (obviously we talked to him before the heart breaking loss to the Giants).
Here's a humble beginning for you -- he's a fan because he used to work in the stadium restaurant for five years waiting tables. We spoke with the modest singer/songwriter about new music, Idol, and turning tragedies into something positive.
New Times: You made chart history with a record-breaking 14 debuts on Billboard's Digital Songs chart. How does that feel?
David Cook: That time frame was pretty absurd in the best way possible. So many amazing things were happening, and I don't know that I ever internalized it, but I honored and appreciated all that stuff. It was nuts, and I never felt comfortable trying to make sense of it.
Do you think you can top it?
I work really hard to try, but it's one of those things that is out of everyone's control. Like, can you make lightning strike twice in the same place? All you can do as a musician and an artist is put yourself in your work and hope that people want to be a part of that experience and want to gravitate towards it.
You had an album out before American idol. How has your musical style evolved after winning?
I think more than anything, it was the resources I had at my disposable [after winning]... When you are doing it on your own, especially with my no budget budget, I think it's super raw. I think there are elements there that permeate through all my records. I try not to shut myself off through all possible stimuli. I try holding on to specific elements of that record and move on to the new one.
Has your taste in music evolved after winning?
Yeah, I think so. I try not to do the same thing. I'm a fan of music before anything. For the bands and artists I've always gravitated towards, when I buy a new record from them, I feel like I get something new.
There is nothing more boring that an artist that puts out the same thing over and over again, and I hope never to do that.
Do you watch the show now? Who do you want to win?
I watch enough to answer basic questions in interview (laughs). For no particular reason, I'm not an ardent watcher of it. I think American Idol was an amazing experience and opportunity, but it's done. Jesus, I'm almost seven years older now (laughs). I'm actually in the "looking forward" mode which is actually a fun place to be as a musician.
You wrote This Loud Morning after a tragic event with your older brother who died of brain cancer. Can you elaborate on turning tragedies into a good thing?
The artists that I've always enjoyed, I've always gotten that from their music: Taking negative energy and turning it into something positive. And with Adam passing away, This Loud Morning was a cathartic album for me. That was the record I needed to make at that point, for better or for worse.
Can you tell us about the new album?
I think every so often in your career, things test you and your resolve to continue to do that. I left that album wondering what my next move was going to be... I concerted an effort to enjoy the writing process and really get out of my comfort stuff, like trying bass stuff, synths and loops. This record is just more fun for me. I enjoyed the creative process exponentially more than any other record I've been a part of. It's a redemption record in the sense that it got me on the path of making music because I enjoy it, which is why I started all this.
What's the album name?
I have the name, but I'm not ready to throw it out yet.
Do you know when the release date is?
We are on the homestretch of figuring it out, including the single that will go out.
Can you give a hint about the new single?
It's a song (laughs). I've been told I can't give it out, so I can't give it out.
What artists and bands are your influences?
With this new record, I got into Nine Inch Nails. Big Wreck has always been a consistent influence, Our Lady Peace. You know, I'm going to look through my iTunes that's right in front of me. I have a lot of comedy in here, but that probably won't answer your question. Ah, Sleepwave and Silverchair. Yeah, that's good.
Any additional comments?
I've thoroughly enjoyed being on the road, and Florida isn't a market we've been a part of yet. It's right after a Halloween, so we know there will be a hangover or two out there, but hopefully everyone comes out.
David Cook, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, November 1, at the Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Visit BrowardCenter.org.