David Cook’s dream reluctantly began in Omaha when he decided to accompany his younger brother to the American Idol auditions. Cook hadn’t planned on auditioning, but after a little convincing, he ended up belting out Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” for the judges. Soon, he was off to Hollywood and gathering the most votes in American Idol history .

“In that moment when I won, I went through a conscious blackout. I don’t remember much,” Cook says with awe. “My memory of it is exactly what everyone sees on YouTube. I don’t even remember my mother and brother coming on stage, but I guess that happened.”

Since then, it’s been a whirlwind for Cook. After winning the seventh season of American Idol, he’s been going nonstop. If success means beating Miley Cyrus’ record number of songs on the Billboard chart, then Cook is a winner.  Just one week after his Idol win, he had 11 songs debut on the Hot 100 list. His self-titled debut album was certified platinum shortly after its release and he quickly embarked on a headlining tour.

“My life has changed a lot. I get to wake up and do something I love every day, which is great,” Cook says. “Past that, it’s been crazy. I mean, I thought Idol was hard. I just wannna be someone who puts out good music and plays good shows and kind of sticks around for a while. It’s the formula I’m working with.”

It’s difficult to determine who out there has a penchant for this type of music. After all, he accomplished all of this by covering other people’s music. Obviously, Cook isn’t for everyone. He seems to be packaged for a very specific demographic and is most likely popular in the “adult contemporary” category.

“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. What I tried to lean on what that I’ve doing this since I was 15. The idea of writing songs and being in a band weren’t new things to me, but now the stakes were higher,” he explains. “I really don’t care about anyone expectations but my own.”

            Apparently that suits him just fine. The self-proclaimed “arrogant asshole” adamantly declares that he is in charge of his own creative process no matter how many people are working on his music with him. On his new album, This Loud Morning, despite having a small army in the studio with him, he insists on having the final say.

“Sitting in a room with so many people, I still manage to find my voice in the sense of really speaking up for myself and making sure what was happening was going to come across as me and not ‘why’s David Cook singing somebody else’s songs?’ I’m very confident in my ability to write music, but when you can bounce ideas off of other people, it’s still a good thing.”

Whether you’re a Cook fan or not, people are talking- and lots of them. MTV, VH1, endless music magazines and online publications have all covered Cook. While it’s been over 2 and a half years since his last release, he hasn’t been laying idle (no word play intended).

“We did 154 shows on the first tour and then got right to work on the next record. I thought it would take 6 months, but as things started to materialize, it was apparent it was going to be a longer process,” he says. “I think the end result is musically, the most mature record I’ve ever been a part of. Lyrically, it’s been the most therapeutic. I would say it’s my best record to date.”

While his goal of longevity isn’t exactly fantasy, it’s going to be a challenge, especially with how the record industry works today. Major labels drop artists faster than you can say, “wait, what?” The revolving door of pop stars spit out artists as if they were pebbles on a slingshot. Cook, at least, has massive amounts of ambition on his side.

“I would hope I’m the biggest road warrior out of all the Idols. I love being on the road. It’s my favorite thing about this whole deal. It mixes my two favorite things, traveling and playing music,” he says. “We did a ton of shows last tour and I would love to do more on this tour. For some reason, the idea of sleeping on a bus is appealing to me.”

Not all people are made for that type of lifestyle, but Cook seems as passionate about his career as anyone else that has ever been successful in what they do, if not more. You can’t hate on that.

David Cook, November 26, at Whiskey Roadhouse, Council Bluffs, 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Visit www.harrah.com/whiskeyroadhouse for more information.

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