American rock singer David Cook, who will perform in Jakarta on July 17, was hardly a music-industry rookie when he became a contestant in the seventh season of “American Idol.”
Having played in a variety of bands since he was 15 and with several studio albums already under his belt, Cook knew just how hard it could be to break through in the tough business. And he didn’t know how long he could keep at it.
“I just want to give myself until I’m 26 years old to get a job,” he reportedly told his mother at one point.
When he accompanied his younger brother to the latter’s audition for “American Idol” in Omaha, Nebraska, the then 26-year-old learned that sometimes, all you need is a little bit of luck.
His brother didn’t pass the auditions, and instead convinced Cook to try out himself. Even though he hadn’t initially planned to enter “American Idol,” Cook eventually agreed — and the rest, as they say, is history. Others might call it destiny.
Throughout his “Idol” run, Cook — who cites Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Big Wreck, Our Lady Peace and Chris Cornell as some his biggest musical influences — earned a reputation for putting a new twist on R&B and pop songs by turning them into rock ballads, including Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and a post-grunge version of Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.”
In May 2008, Cook was crowned the new American Idol, beating 17-year-old David Archuleta in the final. The result surprised many critics.
The victory was a kick-start for his career, and his self-titled solo album swiftly made it to the top of the charts.
But while his music career took off, Cook suffered a great personal loss. His older brother, Adam, who had been fighting brain cancer for 11 years, died.
The tragedy was reflected in his sophomore album, “This Loud Morning,” released in June 2011.
In an interview posted on his official website, Cook said: “I got off the road and all the things that happened that I hadn’t been dealing with while I was on the road reared their heads.
“So I began writing these songs that would eventually make up ‘This Loud Morning.’ The act of using these songs as therapeutic outlets became a major release for me, and I think the end result is a bit of up, a bit of down, and a lot of honesty.”
Produced by Matt Serletic, who had previously worked with music greats such as Willie Nelson, Aerosmith and former Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas, Cook’s latest effort received positive reviews with many of the critics praising the singer’s more mature sound.
Music magazine American Songwriter wrote: “ ‘[This Loud] Morning’ has a much more artistic vibe combined with a rawness evident in Cook’s vocal performances not found on his previous Rob Cavallo-produced release.
“The album includes balanced amounts of strings, piano and crunchy guitar, which all suit this more mature-sounding material.
“Cook’s more-developed lyrics, melodic structures [he co-wrote all 12 tracks], and grittier vocal performances throughout the album abundantly display his overall growth as an artist.”
Despite the album’s success, Cook, now aged 29, took his time to get back on tour. He says he’s ready to face crowds and share with them the songs that bare a part of his soul. “I can’t wait to get on a stage, look people in the eye and see their reaction, whatever it may be,” he said. “Hopefully it’ll be hands in the air and singing all the words.”