David Cook

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American Idol Season 7 Winner!

David Roland Cook (born December 20, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. Cook was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Blue Springs, Missouri. Cook’s interest in music began early in life; he received his first guitar at the age of 2. He began singing in second grade, when his elementary school music teacher gave him a solo in a school choir performance. He proceeded to perform in virtually every Christmas and PTA program. 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. He had also been an avid baseball player during highschool. After the sports slowly became uninteresting, 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. While in college, he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa. After his college graduation, he relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma to pursue his 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 Theatres 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, playing guitar, bass, and singing backup vocals. He recorded one EP, Incoherent with Desire to Move On, with the band in 2006. He also worked as a bartender at several Tulsa clubs, including Blank Slate and Rehab Lounge.

Cook released a solo independent album, Analog Heart, in 2006, the year he graduated from the college. It was written from 2004 to 2006, and he designed the artwork as well. 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 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 there after, the album was removed from Amazon.

Cook auditioned for American Idol in Omaha, Nebraska, performing Bon Jovi‘s “Livin’ on a Prayer.” He originally did not plan to try out for the show; he came to the auditions initially to support his younger brother Andrew (who did not make it to Hollywood) and then decided to try out himself. For his first Hollywood audition, Cook performed “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. Later in the week he performed “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain.

Cook has taken 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 “All Right Now,” “Hello,” “Day Tripper,” “I’m Alive,” and “Baba O’Riley” and on acoustic guitar for “Little Sparrow” and “All I Really Need Is You”.” His white, left-handed Gibson Les Paul electric guitar has the letters “AC” on it; as Cook told TV Guide, “I have two brothers, Adam and Andrew. So, because of superstition, I put their initials on everything growing up.” Since the Top 12 week, he has also been wearing an orange wristband to support a 7-year-old fan, Lindsey Rose, with leukemia.

Cook has been both praised and criticized for his song choices, as several of his performances have been based on covers of the original songs. “Billie Jean,” one of his most notable performances so far, was credited on the show to Chris Cornell and was highly praised by all three judges, especially Simon Cowell (Cowell later said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the performance “was in a different league to anything we’ve heard on the season so far,” and although he knew where the arrangement came from, “that doesn’t really matter.”) The performance received great attention on YouTube with over 1 million views. Another of Cook’s performances, “Day Tripper,” was credited to Whitesnake. It has been claimed that his performance of “Eleanor Rigby” was based on Seattle-based band Doxology’s version. On April 1, before performing his self-arranged rendition of “Little Sparrow” on American Idol, Cook responded to Ryan Seacrest in the interview session, revealing that his performance of “Eleanor Rigby” was based on Neil Zaza’s and Doxology’s versions. He also reiterated the credits of Whitesnake and Chris Cornell. Despite the controversy, critics praised Cook for choosing versions of songs that fit his vocal style. His arrangements of “Hello,” “Little Sparrow,” “Always Be My Baby,” “All I Really Need Is You,” and “Baba O’Riley” were original arrangements.

On April 1, 2008, a few hours after American Idol aired, TMZ.com first reported that Cook was driven to the hospital in a rush because his “heart was palpitating at a high rate and his blood pressure was high.” The website claimed that Cook was not feeling well before the performance of Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow” that night, but he had refused to go to the emergency room until the end of the show. Stress over a recent “setback” in his brother Adam’s struggle with cancer may have been a contributing factor. Subsequently, David Cook was released from the hospital and is so far doing fine.

Along with David Archuleta, Cook is one of just two American Idol finalists to have never been in the bottom 3 of American Idol season 7. – source: Wikipedia

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