When David Cook’s name was read aloud as the winner of the seventh season of “American Idol” back in 2008, industry experts believed that the good-looking rock singer would follow the immediate success of past winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
How right they were.
Cook rewrote chart history with a record-breaking 14 debuts on Billboard’s Digital Songs chart, and his platinum self-titled debut spawned radio staples “Light On” and “Come Back to Me.”
“I try really hard not to have expectations and have just enjoyed the ride,” Cook said. “I have been really fortunate over the last four years to make a living making music, which is not always the case for musicians.”
While in the midst of his first tour, Cook’s older brother, Adam, who had been fighting a battle with brain cancer, died. Reflecting on his brother led Cook to begin writing the songs that would become his second album, “This Loud Morning.”
It was soon after that Cook joined forces with the non-profit, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), and has worked hard to bring awareness to the disease.
On May 5, Cook will be performing at the State Theatre for the Night of Hope Benefit, a cocktail style reception and concert, with proceeds benefiting the Race for Hope - DC, and honoring Children’s National Medical Center’s Heroes for Hope.
Now in its 15th year, the Race for Hope - DC is one of the country’s largest fundraisers for the brain tumor community and benefits two nonprofit organizations, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure and National Brain Tumor Society. Cook has been involved in the event for the past two years.
“Last year we did a full-band show at the State Theatre, and the response was good so we wanted to come back and do it again, but wanted to really try something different,” Cook said. “This will be more of a cocktail evening with a few speakers, and then I’ll come up and play an acoustic set, like a storyteller’s vibe.”
The concert will be a mixture of the singer’s two records, as well as favorite covers and some new material that Cook has been working on for an upcoming release. Of course, “Permanent,” the song he wrote for his brother and performed on Idol’s results show two years ago will also be played.
“I enjoy acoustic because it allows us as a band to keep things fresh. I think the best songs are the ones that you can play any way and great songs transcend genres, so I really enjoy doing them and I’m really excited about it,” Cook said. “More importantly, I hope we will raise more awareness and hopefully get further to get rid of brain cancer.”
For those who followed Cook on “American Idol,” his history to the cause and the connection to his brother is known.
“Adam battled a brain tumor for almost 12 years and when this platform was afforded me through Idol, it became imperative to me to use it to do something bigger than myself,” Cook said. “I was real fortunate to meet the people of ABC2, and really felt the connection to the organization and what they are about, so I jumped at the chance to work with them.”
What’s amazing about Cook’s story is that he never intended to try out for “American Idol.” He was working on an independent album and his younger brother Andrew convinced him to join him in Omaha to lend moral support for his audition. His brother persuaded him to sing as well, and the rest is history.
Now, Cook is enjoying making music, loves travelling (“I sleep better on a bus than I do at home,” he says) and is trying to leave his mark the best way he can. He urges all his fans to come out and support this great cause.
“I think for people who are fans of what I do and the music I put out, I think it’s going to be a really fun night. I want everyone to come and have a good time and get some fun out of the seriousness of the weekend,” he said. “Who knows how long this ride lasts for anybody and if I can walk away knowing that I helped promote change in something that I am passionate about, that’s better than any plaque or trophy or award.”