‘American Idol”s Cook Rocks Out in Singapore
“American Idol” season seven winner David Cook performed in Singapore last week for the third anniversary of ION Orchard and was in the city to promote the upcoming season of the reality show.
The rock star, who performed in Jakarta for the first time in July, played an intimate acoustic set on Thursday night. He entertained his fans with his wit and humor on stage and impressed the audience with an impeccable performance that highlighted his wide vocal range.
Besides delivering his best-known hits, such as “The Time of My Life,” the 29-year-old artist also threw in a handful of surprises, including a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
At the end of the performance, he was in for a surprise himself, when organizers brought out a durian pancake for Cook to try on stage. Judging from his face after taking one bite, it is safe to say that should he come back to Southeast Asia, it won’t be for the “king of fruits.”
Prior to the show, Cook sat down with a handful of journalists from Indonesia to talk about his upcoming album, his memories of Jakarta, and why charity work is so important to him.
You performed in Jakarta in July. What memories do you have from that concert?
I had a very vague idea of what to expect, but it was just such a beautiful place. The whole trip was fun. It’s always good to go places you haven’t been before. The crowd response was great, too. The audience was awesome, I mean, I’ve played shows before ‘Idol’ when there was no audience at all. A good audience can make a show.
I have said this before, but I am really consistently amazed at how inviting and hospitable everybody here is, in Singapore, Indonesia and all over Southeast Asia, it makes it a joy to come out here. I’m loving it here. It makes it really easy to come back, despite the 17-hour-flight.
What do you think your career would have been like if you hadn’t won ‘American Idol’?
I actually graduated college with a graphic design degree. I made this commitment to myself that if I wasn’t where I wanted to be musically by the time I was 26, I’d go back to playing music as a hobby and get a job as a graphic designer somewhere. Then the whole ‘Idol’ thing happened, and I actually won ‘Idol’ six months before I turned 26, so I cut it about as close as I could — which is a good thing, because you probably wouldn’t be talking to me now if I was a graphic designer [laughs].
Do you still keep in touch with the other ‘Idol’ contestants?
As much as I can, yes. Of course, everybody is busy doing their own thing. I haven’t talked to Archie [David Archuleta, runner up] in a while because he’s been on his Mormon mission. I do talk to Carly Smithson pretty regularly. She and her husband just had their first child, so she’s learning the whole ‘being a mom’ thing. I also talk to the others once in a while, and whenever I happen to run into any of them, we always have a good time. We were a good group with very little drama.
What inspires you when you write songs? Do we have to look for hidden meanings in your lyrics?
I just want to make sure that [my songs convey] honesty. A lot of time when I write, I don’t write with a specific topic in my mind. So if I’m writing a song about unrequited love, I’m normally not thinking about one particular ex-girlfriend. I try to write songs in a way where I’m being autobiographical to some degree, but I’m leaving it open enough to interpretation, so [the listeners] can find something for themselves in it.
Any idea on when your new album is coming out?
We don’t know that yet, but the goal is, obviously, the sooner the better. The creative process this summer was a lot of fun, and we came up with a lot of great songs, so hopefully very soon. I am as impatient as everybody else is, but I really want to get it right, especially for my fans, who have always been so patient.
I think that’s always the challenge, to keep your fans invested in what you’re doing as an artist. The last thing I ever wanted to do — both to myself and my fans — is put out music that I’m not excited about. If I have to go on stage and sing songs to you guys that I don’t have my heart in, it’s unfair for me to expect [the audience] to reply. I would love to be able to put music out as often as possible, but it’s more important to me to make great music.
What do you like most about performing live?
What I love most about being on stage is that it’s never the same thing. Every show is going to be different, it’s going to have its own story and subtext. Besides that, being on stage is another side of my personality. When I’m on stage, I’m a different version of myself than when I’m off stage. And I like being able to show that side of myself on stage, being a front man, while off stage I’m pretty reserved, I like to stay at home and don’t go out that much.
Could you tell us a bit more about the charities you’re involved with?
One is the Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure foundation, based out of Washington, DC. They raise awareness and money to try find a cure for brain cancer. It is an obvious cause to me, because everybody who knows my story, knows that I lost my brother to this in 2009.Then there is Chris Evert Charities, based in Florida. It’s my third year working with them.
I just think that I have been given this amazing platform, I don’t know how long this will last, if it will last for the rest of my life, but if I can use that platform to help people in need, then I’m of course happy to do that.