On May 21, 2008, David Cook stood on a stage in Hollywood and looked up at confetti falling as he was announced as the winner of season 7 of American Idol.
Saturday night he will step on to the Uptown Theatre stage in Napa for the first time.
The nearly seven years in between is where is got interesting.
The good: he’s made two records and is about to release No. 3; he’s traveled around the globe playing on four tours (one with Gavin DeGraw) and on more tour dates than he cares to recall; he’s made an estimated $5 million; he’s raised over seven figures to fight brain cancer, a disease which killed his older brother Adam; he’s sang at sporting events and before military personnel in places such as Iraq and Kuwait. All of which isn’t half bad for a guy who was tending bar in Tulsa, Okla. Not long before his Idol coronation.
The not-so-good: after Idol and the subsequent riches he bought a home in Los Angeles and later decided the L.A. lifestyle wasn’t for him so he sold it and moved to Nashville, Tenn.; his music (he’s a self-professed “rocker”) hasn’t been that highly acclaimed; he was dropped by RCA, his music label; he dated and since broke up with a former Idol contestant; a couple of his original band members have come and gone; and maybe worse of all his beloved Kansas City Royals lost last year’s World Series (“Oh, I don’t want to talk about that,” he said, only partially laughing).
In retrospect, Cook doesn’t think much about that moment when he stood on the Idol stage for the finale with David Archuleta.
“I just don’t think much about it at all,” he said in a phone interview prior to a recent show in Pennsylvania. “I don’t have any of those ‘Pinch me moments.’ I think mostly about all the fun we had as a group during the show. We lost one of the finalists, Michael Johns, but most of us have stayed in touch. Idol is an amazing platform but you come to realize that the real work starts the second you walk off that stage.”
Cook had opted for a career in music prior to his Idol tryout and as he evolves, so does the industry.
“It’s an exciting time,” he said. “It is so wide open because there are a million different ways to get your music out there. And I think all of it has leveled the playing field. There is plenty to it all besides just performing your music. Of course, I prefer that to the business side. But they go hand-in-hand. I can’t complain.”
David Cook in Napa
When: 8 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 28)
Where: Uptown Theatre, 1350 3rd St., Napa