David Roland Cook, born December 20, 1982 in Houston, Texas, raised in Blue Springs, Missouri, changed his fate one day while residing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he decided to accompany his brother Andrew to the American Idol auditions. His parents are Beth Foraker and Stan Cook. Besides his younger brother Andrew, he had an older brother Adam, who passed away from brain cancer in May of 2009.
Early Life Cook's interest in music began early in life. He began singing in second grade, when his elementary school music teacher, Mrs. Gentry, gave him a solo in a school choir performance. He received his first guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, at the age of 12. He also participated in choir and drama programs in middle school and high school.
At Blue Springs South High School, he performed in musicals, including The Music Man, West Side Story, and Singin' in the Rain. In addition to this, he was an active member in the Blue Springs South High School National Forensics League (or NFL), where he qualified for the national tournament twice for duo interpretation, an event that relies on performance and interpretation of a literary work.
He was also an avid baseball player during high school. Eventually, he focused more on music. He earned a theater scholarship to the University of Central Missouri, but he abandoned theater after two semesters, graduating from the school in 2006 with a degree in graphic design. After his college graduation, he relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to pursue a career in music, telling his family, "I just want to give myself until I'm 26 years old to get a job."
Cook was the lead singer and guitarist of the band Axium from 1999 until 2006. He formed Axium in his junior year of high school with drummer Bobby Kerr. One of the band's songs, "Hold", was picked up by AMC Theaters Movie Tunes and was played before previews on over 20,000 screens nationwide. Axium was also named one of the top 15 independent bands in the country in the "Got Milk?" independent band contest, and it was chosen as the best band in Kansas City in 2004.
In 2006, after the breakup of Axium, Cook relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and joined the regional touring band Midwest Kings (MWK), playing guitar, bass, and singing backup vocals. He recorded one EP, Incoherent with Desire to Move On, with the band in 2006.
Cook released a solo independent album, Analog Heart, in 2006 for which he also designed the artwork. The album was chosen as the fourth-best CD released in 2006 by website Music Equals Life. Cook also won the Urban Tulsa Weekly's "Absolute Best of Tulsa" award for "Best Locally Produced, Independent Album" in 2007. He had completed recording his (never released) sophomore album before his appearance on American Idol. Over the weekend of April 18 to April 20, 2008, Analog Heart was listed as the number one album for "Today's Top MP3 Albums" on Amazon.com. Soon thereafter, the album was removed from Amazon. His musical influences include Our Lady Peace, Alice in Chains, Big Wreck, Pearl Jam, Chris Cornell, Switchfoot, Bon Jovi and Collective Soul.
While in Tulsa he was in the early stages of recording his second album when his younger brother Andrew asked Cook to accompany him to Omaha and lend moral support while he tried out for American Idol. Andrew didn’t make the cut, but he encouraged a very reluctant David to continue on after David received his “golden ticket” to Hollywood. “He threatened to beat my ass if I didn’t, so it’s entirely his fault that all this happened to me,” Cook says.
Cook auditioned for American Idol in Nebraska, performing Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer". For his first Hollywood audition, Cook performed "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. On the second song in Hollywood, he sang "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain. Cook took advantage of the decision to allow contestants to play musical instruments. Besides his Hollywood audition, he also accompanied himself on electric guitar for his performances of "Alright Now," "Hello," "Day Tripper," "I'm Alive," "Baba O'Riley," "Dare You To Move," and "Dream Big," and on acoustic guitar for "Little Sparrow," "All I Really Need Is You," and "The World I Know."
Cook's performance of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was highly praised by all three judges, especially Simon Cowell. Critics praised Cook for choosing versions of songs that fit his vocal style. Cook's arrangements of "Hello," "Little Sparrow," "Always Be My Baby." "All I Really Need Is You," "Baba O'Riley," "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" were original arrangements, and his rendition of Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" was also highly praised, receiving a standing ovation from Randy Jackson.
Cook won the seventh season of American Idol on May 21, 2008, receiving 56% of the votes, with 12 million votes over David Archuleta as the runner-up. Cook then sang "The Time Of My Life," the winning song of the 2008 American Idol Songwriter's Competition.
After winning the hit show, Cook hit the road with his fellow Idol contestants for the American Idols Live! Tour, which visited more than 40 cities across the U.S. — an experience he cites as extremely valuable. “Being able to make a 16,000-seat arena feel intimate is one of the trickiest things to pull off,” he says. “If you can get the people in the nosebleed seats to feel as though they’re getting the same show as the people sitting front and center, then you're doing something amazing. That’s always going to be my goal.”
For the Billboard chart week ending May 25, 2008, a week following Cook's American Idol victory, Cook broke several Billboard chart records. Most notable was his record shattering feat of having eleven songs debut on the Hot 100 that week, beating the previous record set by Miley Cyrus in 2006 when she had six songs debut on the chart. Cook's first single, "The Time of My Life" led the pack, debuting at #3 on the Hot 100, and has since sold more than 1,500,000 copies and become RIAA certified platinum. Cook's eleven charting songs also gave him the most songs by one artist on the Hot 100 of any week in the Nielsen SoundScan era (which began in 1991), and the most of any era since The Beatles placed 14 songs on the chart the week of April 11, 1964. In addition, that same week Cook also broke the record for the most debuts on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart, where he placed 14 debut entries, the record of which was previously six set by Bon Jovi in 2007. Cook's 17 entries had a combined total of 944,000 digital downloads in the first week of selling.
Since his win in 2008, Cook has been a proud advocate for the American Idol show, returning to its stage many times. In May of 2009, he appeared on the show to sing the song he had written for his brother Adam, “Permanent”, only a few weeks after Adam’s death from a brain tumor. Idol recorded the live performance and put it on iTunes with all proceeds going to ABC2 (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure) and the single sold more than 159,000 copies for that charity.
Additional Idol appearances have included a cover of “Jumping Jack Flash” performed during rock week in season 9, performing a cover of “Don’t You Forget About Me” which was used as the farewell song for the departing contestants in season 10, performing an original song “The Last Song I’ll Write For You” during season 11, an original song “Laying Me Low” during Season 12, mentoring the Idol contestants for a show during season 13, and in the 15th and final season, he appeared three times: first as a mentor to contestants Olivia Rox and C. J. Harmon and performing duets of his own “Light On” with Rox, as well as “The World I Know” with Harmon; the second time he appeared that season he sang his original song “Heartbeat” from his new album “Digital Vein” while a montage of past Idol winning moments played on the screens in the background; and finally at the show’s finale where he both appeared in the opening group number “One Voice” with 60 other former contestants, and played in a tribute medley to the late David Bowie with fellow Idol winners Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Phillip Phillips, and Nick Fradiani. Additionally during season 9, David and his guitarist Neal Tiemann traveled to Africa as ambassadors for the Idol Gives Back Special, specifically supporting education efforts for girls in third world countries.
David Cook (self-titled RCA debut album)
Cook collaborated with Ed Roland (Collective Soul), Zac Maloy (The Nixons), Jason Wade (Lifehouse), Neal Tiemann (MWK), Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra) and Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace) on his first post-AI album, the self titled David Cook, which was released on Tuesday, November 18, 2008. The producer for the album was Rob Cavallo. The album includes the tracks "Declaration", "Heroes", "Light On", "Come Back To Me", "Life On The Moon", "Bar-ba-sol", "Mr. Sensitive", "Lie", "I Did It For You", "Avalanche", "Permanent", and "A Daily AntheM" with bonus track "The Time Of My Life" and hidden bonus track "Kiss On The Neck", as well as select store bonus tracks "Breathe Tonight" and "My Last Request".
The first main single from the album was announced on Cook's official site titled "Light On", and debuted on September 23, 2008. "Light On" debuted at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has gone on to sell more than 1,166,000 copies, and is RIAA certified platinum. His second single, “Come Back To Me” sold more than 538,000 copies, and produced a second video, which required Cook to memorize the lyrics to the song backwards.
Cook also announced the musicians who would be part of his band which included Andy Skib on keyboard and guitar, Neal Tiemann on lead guitar, Joey Clement on bass, and Kyle Peek on drums. Partway through the Declaration Tour, bassist Joey Clement was replaced by Monty Anderson.
David Cook, the album, debuted the week of November 18, 2008 at #1 album on the iTunes overall chart and peaked at #3 or the Billboard Top 200 chart. It has sold more than 1,510,000 copies and is RIAA certified platinum. His music videos for the singles "Light On" and “Come Back To Me” each debuted on VH1 at #1.
Cook also performed both “Light On” and “Declaration" on Saturday Night Live on November 1, 2008.
Following a press tour for the release of the album, Cook and his band traveled overseas to perform as part of a USO tour, then began the “Declaration Tour” which started on February 13, 2009 and ended on December 1, 2009. During those 10 months, the band performed 152 concerts in the United States, Canada and the Philippines, and 2 private shows, as well as numerous small acoustic gigs for radio stations.
This Loud Morning (RCA Records
Immediately after the ending of the Declaration Tour, Cook began writing for his second RCA album, “This Loud Morning.” Produced by Matt Serletic, the album was released on June 28, 2011, and the album debuted in the top ten. The first single from that album, “The Last Goodbye” was released on March 31, 2011. Co-writers on the album included Ryan Tedder, David Hodges, Kevin Griffin, John Reznick, Gregg Wattenburg, and Marti Frederickson, as well as friends and band members Andy Skib and Neil Tiemann, and Ryan Star who had opened for many of the Declaration Tour shows. Music videos were released for both “The Last Goodbye” and second single, “Fade Into Me.”
Before the fall tour of 2011, Cook and his band traveled to Vietnam to perform in a special show in Hanoi.
In the fall of 2011, Cook and his band took to the road again for a co-headlining tour with Gavin DeGraw. Devin Bronson stepped in as lead guitarist in place of Tiemann. The co-headlining tour ran for 22 shows. After that ended, Cook and his band continued the tour with opener Carolina Liar for another 15 shows.
(self produced Analog Heart Productions)
Cook parted ways with RCA in the spring of 2012, and moved from Los Angeles to Nashville, Tennessee. He has said that he wanted to try songwriting for other people, and that at the time, he wasn’t sure if he would ever make another album. In Nashville, he began collaborating with other writers, and his co-write “Kiss You Tonight” became a hit for country singer David Nail. With the support of his close friends and other songwriters in the Nashville community, he began writing for himself again, and soon found himself having fun with his music again. Cook and his band (Andy Skib on guitar and keyboard through 2013, replaced in 2015 by Daniel D’Amico after the birth of Skib’s son, Nick Adams replacing Kyle Peek as drummer, and Monty Anderson continuing on bass) toured for 56 shows between February of 2013 – November 2013, and February - March of 2015, playing both Cook’s older music, and trying out some new songs which would eventually make their way onto the newest record.
During this time, Cook and his band also played several International Shows, including performances in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Singapore City, Singapore. Additionally they played two overseas runs with Navy Entertainment, performing for the troops in Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Italy in 2013, and Djibouti, two ships on the Persian Gulf, and Bahrain in 2015.
Cook enlisted friend and former band member Andy Skib to engineer the new album, and the majority of it was recorded in Cook’s home studio. “The whole thing,” he says, “was an experiment to see if (A) I could make a record this way, and (B) if I could enjoy doing it this way. I’m a control freak, and to have this level of control has been empowering. It was definitely a different process for me, but I can’t recall ever having more fun making a record.” “Digital Vein” songs are all co-written by Cook, except for a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” which Cook and Skib had been arranging for a TV show, but decided to keep the arrangement for themselves; and “Better Than Me” a Chase Foster written song that Cook said spoke to him from the first time he heard it.
Cook set up a Pledge Music campaign for a pre-order of the new album, which he named “Digital Vein,” that was very successful. Cook described the campaign by saying, “The best part is that fans have become a bigger part of the process than in records past. The hope is that, by continuing to build those relationships, we’ll be able to hit the ground running, and ultimately get this music into more people’s ears. I was a little apprehensive about that dynamic at first, but it turns out that it’s a great way to humanize yourself to your audience. It’s nice to tear down that wall, because the end game is that people hopefully will feel more connected to the humanity in the record.”
The first single from the Album was “Criminals” and was released July 31, 2015. A music video was released shortly thereafter. On September 18, 2015, “Digital Vein” was released. The album debuted at No. 35 on the Billboard 200, No. 22 on Top Album Sales, No. 8 on Independent Albums and No. 7 on Internet Albums. The second single from the album is “Broken Windows”.
In the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016, Cook and his band (now comprised of Daniel D’Amico guitar and keyboards, Andy Wildrick bassist – replacing Monty Anderson mid tour, and Adam Reidelbach on drums) hit the road for the Digital Vein tour. The first leg of the tour was sponsored by Neon Energy Drink and included 34 dates, and the second leg of the tour was sponsored by Hard Rock and included 19 dates.
Cook has become well known for his support of various charitable causes, most importantly Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2). Cook’s older brother Adam passed away on May 2, 2009 from brain cancer, after battling the disease for more than a decade. David announced the death to the world the next morning, while serving as honorary chairman of the Race For Hope, a 5K race held each year in Washington DC, to raise money to fight brain cancer. The Race is sponsored by ABC2 and the National Brain Tumor Society.
Cook has continued his association with the Race For Hope ever since, heading a team made up of family, friends and fans. In December of 2014, the team reached a milestone when at a benefit concert for the team, the total amount of money raised by Cook’s RFH team topped $1 million. They are currently working on raising their next million. Besides the RFH, Cook has supported ABC2 by completing a marathon, and by rappelling down the side of a skyscraper.
His good friends, Steven (E Street Band Member and actor in the Sopranos) and Maureen Van Zandt (dancer and actress in the Sopranos) have joined in his efforts and the three have auctioned off a dinner in New York with them to benefit the team for the past two years, raising an incredible amount of money. Cook and his band also have performed benefit shows at the RFH in several years. Cook continues to serve as the honorary chairman of the Race, leading the survivors on their walk to the start of the race each year, and has said he will continue "As long as they will have me."
Cook has supported many other charitable causes, including Shadow Buddies, the Ronald McDonald House, and more. He has performed for US military troops on numerous occasions.
Post Digital Vein
Cook continues to live and work in Nashville, a city he has come to love. He enjoys the “storyteller” aspect of songwriting there, and collaborating with many other artists. In June of 2015, he married his long-time girlfriend, Racheal Stump. While continuing to write for other artists, he has said that he has begun writing for his next record. He is also continuing to perform concerts while he is writing.
DISCOGRAPHYAxium "Matter Of Time" (2002)
Why Do You Care?
Close Your Eyes
Matter of Time
No Free Advice
No Place to Go
Peace of Mind (Song for Sarah)
Axium "Blindsided" (2003)
Feed Your Ego
Just In Case
Thought You Knew
Truth Is A Gun
Axium "The Story Thus Far" (2004)
Colors Of A Bruise
On The Floor
The Finish Line
"Analog Heart" (solo - 2006)
Don't Say a Word
Fall Back Into Me
"David Cook" (solo – 2008 – RCA Records)
1.Light On (Chris Cornell, Brian Howes)
2.Declaration (David Cook, Johnny Rzeznik, Gregg Wattenberg)
3.Heroes (David Cook, Cathy Dennis, Raine Maida)
4.Come Back To Me (Amund Bjoerklund, Espen Lind, Zac Maloy)
5.Life on the Moon (David Cook, Zac Maloy, Espen Lind, Amund Bjorklund)
6.Bar-Ba-Sol (David Cook, Danny Grady. Steve Slovisky, Chris Wojtal, Jade Lemons)
7.Mr. Sensitive (David Cook, Raine Maida)
8.Lie (David Cook, Zac Maloy, Espen Lind, Amund Bjorklund)
9.I Did It For You (David Cook, Raine Maida)
10.Avalanche (David Cook, Kevin Griffin)
11.Permanent (David Cook, Chantal Kreviazuk, Raine Maida)
12.A Daily AntheM (David Cook)
with hidden track "Kiss On The Neck" (David Cook, Neal Tiemann)
*The Time of My Life (Reggie Hamm)
*Breathe Tonight (David Cook, Samuel Hollander, Dave Katz)
*My Last Request (David Cook, Jess Cates, David Hodges)
"This Loud Morning" (solo 2011 – RCA records)
1. Circadian (David Cook - David Hodges - Neal Tiemann)
2. Right Here, with You (David Cook, John Rzeznik, Ryan Star, Gregg Wattenberg )
3. We Believe (David Cook, Julian Emery, Irving J. Lawrence)
4. Fade Into Me (David Cook, Kevin Griffin, Jamie Houston
5. Hard to Believe (David Cook, David Hodges, Jess Cates, Lindy Robbins)
6. Take Me As I Am (David Cook, M Frederiksen, Scott Stephens)
7. Time Marches On (David Cook, Marti Frederiksen)
8. The Last Goodbye (David Cook, Ryan Tedder)
9. Paper Heart (David Cook, Julian Emery, Irving J. Lawrence)
10. 4 Letter Word (David Cook, Claude Kelly, Matt Squire)
11. Goodbye to The Girl (David Cook, Andy Skib, Neal Tiemann)
12. Rapid Eye Movement (David Cook, David Hodges)
Bonus tracks deluxe album:
* This is Not the Last Time (David Cook, David Hodges, Chris Destefano)
* Let Me Fall For You" (David Cook, Rune Westberg)
This Quiet Night (Solo, 2011, Acoustic
(Acoustic versions of five songs from TLM)
1. The Last Goodbye
2. Right Here, With You
3. Take Me As I Am
4. Goodbye to the Girl
5. Paper Heart
"Digital Vein" (solo 2015 – Independent Analog Heart Productions)
1. "Heartbeat" (David Cook, Andy Waldeck, Chris Reardon)
2. "Criminals" (David Cook, Blair Daly)*
3. "Broken Windows" (David Cook, Zac Maloy, Jerry Flowers)*
4. "Laying Me Low" (David Cook, Chris Reardon, Andy Waldeck)
5. "Better Than Me" (Chase Foster)
6. "Carry You" (David Cook, Blair Daly)*
7. "From Here to Zero" (David Cook, Zac Maloy)*
8. "Kiss & Tell" (Cook, Andy Skib, Andy Waldeck)
9. "Wait for Me" (David Cook, Chad Carlson)
10. "I'm Gonna Love You" (DavidCook, Andy Waldeck, Andy Skib)*
11. "Wicked Game" (Chris Isaak)*
12. "Home Movies (Over Your Shoulder)" (David Cook, Kevin Griffin)
* Acoustic version of starred songs offered as an EP exclusively through the Pledge Music Campaign
Bonus Tracks (Deluxe Edition)
13. "Where Do We Go" (David Cook, Andy Skib, Andy Waldeck)
14. "Firing Squad" (David Cook, David Hodges, Steven Miller)
15. "But You Won’t" (David Cook, Andy Skib)
Bonus Tracks (Walmart Exclusive Edition)
13. "We're Not In This Alone" (David Cook, Andy Skib, Devin Bronson)
14. "Secret Garden" (Bruce Springsteen)
15. "Eyes on You" (David Cook, Andy Waldeck, Chris Reardon)