Danny Gokey on His Rocky Road to Success, New Christmas Album, and How He is Fulfilling the Great Commission Through Music

“The Greatest Gift: A Christmas Collection” is the newest Christmas album from acclaimed CCM artist Danny Gokey. | Cameron Powell

For award-winning artist Danny Gokey, the purpose and goal of his career is crystal clear.

“My music is part of the Great Commission: ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation,’” he told The Christian Post. “It’s a goal I continually work toward. With each new record, I’ve tried to reach out to the churched and unchurched. I really try to do that with my music and get the Gospel message out in a way that’s fresh.”

As the third-place finalist on the eighth season of “American Idol” in 2009, Gokey has seen tremendous success: He has several chart-topping albums, has been nominated for a Grammy, won a Dove Award, and this year took home “Male Artist of the Year” at the seventh annual K-LOVE Fan Awards. In June, his album Haven’t Seen It Yet hit No. 1 on the Billboard’s Christian Airplay chart.

But Gokey’s path hasn’t been easy. After appearing on “American Idol,” he signed to 19 Recordings and RCA Nashville for country music, releasing the single “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me.” Just two years later, he was dropped from the record label.

“I stepped on the world’s largest singing stage at the time, and I was thinking, ‘Here is where it starts,’” he recalled. “But that isn’t what happened. After I was dropped from my label, I went silent. I thought that was it. It was really devastating.”

Still, Gokey said he felt God calling his heart toward music. “I was eventually signed by another label, a non-Christian label, but I knew God was telling me to make a Christian album,” he said. “I lobbied to make a Christian record, and it took off. I got my first big song five-and-a-half years after Idol, which was a big deal.”

The father-of-four said his rocky path to success showed him that ultimately, “God is in control of my career.”

“I don’t know of any contestant that lost a record deal and is now doing better,” he said. “It shows me that God’s hand is on what I do and it’s about Him. That’s why my goal is to show Him and His glory through my music.”

Unabashedly professing his faith in a predominantly secular industry doesn’t come without drawbacks. Gokey admitted that sometimes, it can feel like he and other Christian artists are the “red-headed stepchildren” of the music world.

“Christian music, in general, is shrugged off a lot,” he said. “When it comes to ‘American Idol,’ [season five contestant] Mandisa and I have moved tons of music, more so than many in our field, but we’re just not invited to the table. We’re not celebrated. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m OK with it.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett