Danny Gokey, Randy TravisDanny Gokey appeared on last season's 'American Idol,' coming in third. But going in to the show, he didn't realize he'd follow in the footsteps of Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington, by coming to Nashville to make a country record. That is, until Randy Travis appeared on the show and gave the Wisconsin native a nudge in the right direction.

"He's so respectable in country music, and every one of us has experienced his music," Danny tells The Boot. "But when he did the mentor shoot, he was so keen on helping me to decide where to go ... and I walked past his tour bus outside, and he called me by his bus. And this is Randy Travis, and he said, 'I want to talk to you. Have you ever considered going country? I really think you should. The amount of soul that you possess, and the people would love you ... You need to give it a try.' And I couldn't believe it! It touched my heart. It just got that ball spinning. I'd say that was probably the biggest factor that got me into country music. If anyone would know, it'd be him. And it's worked out."

It's definitely worked out for Dannny, considering he's climbing the country charts with his debut single, 'My Best Days Are Ahead of Me.' He did get a good head start at the country thing on 'Idol,' considering he covered the songs of four country artists during the show. "It was Mickey Gilley, Lee Ann Womack, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood -- that's four right there. It was my choice to go country," he says. "That was something that I chose to do because coming into the show ... I am a person who has only had experience in gospel music. And I knew that when I came on the show, I didn't want to go [into] gospel music, and that was kind of a change for me because I always saw myself as a gospel singer, but for some reason something switched."

'My Best Days Are Ahead of Me' is the first release from Danny's upcoming album, 'My Best Days,' due in stores March 2. He's currently in the midst of a radio promotion tour for the next few weeks, and has a few concert dates on the books, including one in San Bernadino, Calif. on Thursday (Feb. 18).

Danny Gokey on AOL Music | Randy Travis on AOL Music