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Danny Gokey Finds New ‘Hope’ After Personal and Career Struggles

Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

Danny Gokey‘s life has been far from easy. The 34-year-old lost his first wife, Sophia, in 2008, from complications of a surgery for congenital heart disease. Only one month later, Gokey auditioned for Season 8 of ‘American Idol,’ where he came in third.

While his career seemed to be taking off, with a record deal with RCA Nashville immediately following his appearance on ‘Idol,’ he had just two singles — ‘My Best Days Are Ahead of Me’ and ‘I Will Not Say Goodbye’ — that broke the Top 40, and was dropped from the label’s roster. The Wisconsin native admits his future seemed so bleak, he considered suicide.

But now, he says, his future has never looked brighter. He released his book, ‘Hope in Front of Me: Find Purpose in Your Darkest Moments,’ in October, along with a faith-based album, ‘Hope in Front of Me,’ in June. He married Leyicet Peralta, who he met on Twitter, in 2012, and is the proud father of one-year-old Daniel Emmanuel, with another child on the way. He also runs a charity, Sophia’s Heart, in memory of his late wife.

“If people can look at my life and say, ‘What would have happened if I gave up at that point?’” he tells Nashville’s Tennessean. “There would be no Sophia’s Heart. There would be no impactful music. There would be no hope for changing people’s lives. There would be no (family) … I think if people could take that and apply it to themselves, they could see that it’s not time to give up. There’s other people’s lives that need your story, so keep moving forward.”

The singer-songwriter, who has since signed with BMG in New York and also found new management, says he is grateful that everything is finally falling into place.

“Before, it was like the hope piece was there but the entertainment piece wasn’t there yet,” he acknowledges. “I was like, ‘Man, what’s going on?’ I had to really put my hope and trust in God, like ‘Man, I know you’ve got this.’”

In spite of all of his struggles, and all of his hard work, he admits he is still a bit surprised by how well things are now going for him,

“I went from nothing (going on) to everything,” he adds.

Purchase the book, ‘Hope in Front of Me: Find Purpose in Your Darkest Moments’ here, and download the album, ‘Hope in Front of Me’ here.

Next: The Top 10 'American Idol' Country Singers

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