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Danny Gokey: Backstage At L.A.’s Staples Center

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

When I got a very brief amount of face time with third-place American Idol runner-up Danny Gokey backstage at last week's Idols Live concert at the Staples Center in L.A., naturally the first question on my inquiring mind was whether he'd finally landed that rumored record deal, like the other three signed Idols in this season's popular top four. Since my last interview with Danny at the tour rehearsals, he'd reportedly met with several labels in Nashville, indicating that he might be headed for a country music career (he does cover two Rascal Flatts song on the tour).

While Danny was still sketchy regarding those details, he did reveal that he hopes to work with one of country's (and American Idol's) top producers. He also discussed the message he wants his music, regardless of genre, to convey, and the added excitement and pressure of performing for music industry talent scouts in the showbiz capital of Los Angeles.

Below is the video of our Staples chat. I've included a handy transcript as well to compensate for the noisy audio of the very busy room:

REALITY ROCKS: Okay, you're much in demand, so I have to make this quick!

DANNY: Okay.

REALITY ROCKS: Last time I talked to you, you were talking to record labels...

DANNY: Yeah....

REALITY ROCKS: I hear there's been some developments on that front!

DANNY: Well, there have been developments. No signing yet, but a record label is coming out tomorrow to see me perform at the [Ontario, California] show, and I think I've found the producer who I want to work with.

REALITY ROCKS: Can you say who it is? A hint?

DANNY: Well, I want him to work with me...and it sounded like he did: Mark Bright.

REALITY ROCKS: I don't who that is.

DANNY: He produced Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts.

REALITY ROCKS: Oh, nice! So you are going to go in a country direction...

DANNY: Well, um...

REALITY ROCKS: Or country-ish?

DANNY: Well, it's more like a modern soul--I'm hoping. I like country because know, I feel like I'll get stuck in a whole bunch of, like, categories. There's a few record labels that have looked at me...I just want to be able to have a strong message in my music. Very entertaining, but strong message. And I think country houses that.

REALITY ROCKS: And the message is...

DANNY: Just life stories, real situations. Like, c'mon, can you picture me singing about booties and dancing like ho's?

REALITY ROCKS: Well...maybe at karaoke, but not on records! So you're not going to do a Soulja Boy song or something like that?

DANNY: Oh, yeah--country Soulja Boy! [laughs] You know, it's not all set in stone. I just want to make good music. That's my whole agenda: make good music.

REALITY ROCKS: And I imagine, because we are here in L.A., that's there's probably going to be a lot of industry people here tonight [at the Staples show].  

DANNY: Yeah, absolutely. So tonight we gotta put on a good show.

REALITY ROCKS: It seems that with you playing in L.A. tonight there's...not pressure, but this show is really important.

DANNY: It is. I've heard this is one of our biggest shows ever, and not because of the crowd size, but because of the industry people that are coming out to the show.

REALITY ROCKS: Yes, that is true. So is there anything special that you're going to do tonight, anything different?

DANNY: No, I'm just gonna bring it. I feel, like, an energy in the air, like already, just from being here. I'm like, "Wow, this is going to be a good show."

REALITY ROCKS: And this is your old 'hood, because right across the street [at the Nokia Theater] is where the finale was, where you sang with Lionel Richie.

DANNY: Yep, absolutely. Not only that, but this [the Staples Center] is where Michael Jackson had all his practices and his memorial. It's a really special place.

REALITY ROCKS: Have you guys done anything special to acknowledge that?

DANNY: No, we weren't able to. I do his song, "PYT"; that kind of memorializes him. But we were done with our tour rehearsals almost, already, when he passed away. 

REALITY ROCKS: How does it feel to do that song now?

DANNY: It has more value; it's meaningful. Because of the MAN. [19 Entertainment person summons!]

REALITY ROCKS: Okay, well, I'm sure it's going to go well tonight; hope you have a good show. I have to let you go, unfortunately.

DANNY: Thank you so much.

REALITY ROCKS: But I'm going to keep posted on what's going on with your album deal, and I'm going to get some dirt out of you later!

DANNY: Oh, boy....yay!


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