For the past few months, Danny Gokey has been hard at work on his second album. The 'American Idol' finalist is approaching his next project a little differently than the first, taking an interest in a certain four-letter word.

"I like being an inspiration, but I want to start hitting more of the love songs," Danny tells The Boot. "I look at Brian McKnight and I love how he writes love songs. I would love to be the Brian McKnight of country music, and be known for a lot of great love songs."

The 31-year-old has been a writing machine, but his next single, 'Second Hand Heart,' which comes out July 25, wasn't one of his own. "It's captured more of my sound and voice," he explains. "It's country, edgy and soulful all in the same. We've been off the radio since September, as far as a single is concerned, so we've had some time to get down and talk to the producer and the label. I'm looking forward and very optimistic."

Danny says he was drawn to the new single's message. "I like to talk about songs that carry a lot of experience," he admits. "To me, it carries a lot of meaning. 'Second Hand Heart' talks about how people have been in relationships. Basically, it's the guy saying to the girl, 'I've got wounds, I've got scars and I'm not perfect, I have a second-hand heart. It knows a lot more than in past relationships, because it's learned a lot more and it knows what it likes now. I want to take this second-hand heart and give it to you, and give more than it's given anyone else.' It's like looking at a pair of jeans at a second-hand store, it's been used. The song title is very clever."

While Danny's personal story of losing his wife, Sophia, four weeks before auditioning for 'American Idol,' seems to be reflected in the tune, the song is universally relatable. "It fits with a lot of people's stories," he acknowledges. "Who hasn't been in a relationship and learned from it? People carry regrets, but it doesn't stop them and it helps them enjoy future relationships."

Also going forward, the Wisconsin native is taking a slightly different musical approach. "I wanted to show more soul," he admits. "I feel like that with the first record people kept pushing me this way or that way, and we couldn't capture my full sound. Although, it was a great record and fans love it. I told them, 'We have to bring more soul, but we have to fit it in within the format.' Everyone was in agreement and we just moved forward."

'Second Hand Heart' hits radio July 25, a few weeks after Danny starts his stint on Taylor Swift's Speak Now World Tour. His first show is July 8 in Charlotte, N.C. Get a full list of dates here.

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