Sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since Kristy Lee Cook first captured America’s heart on the American Idol stage. But the beautiful Oregon native (who went on to finish seventh in the competition’s seventh season) hasn’t rested on her laurels since her departure.
Rather, Kristy’s taken everything she’s learned from her AI experience and infused it with her own creative and emotional energies to make a mark in the country music realm. One that’s clearly evidenced by “Wherever Love Goes”; Kristy’s powerful new single and follow-up to “Airborne Ranger Infantry”, her personal tribute to both her father and the military.
Written by Neil Thrasher, Paul Jenkins and Jason Sellers, “Wherever Love Goes” is a power ballad that was originally cut for Randy Houser’s album, “How Country Feels”. But it was Benny Brown, the president of Broken Bow Records who suggested Kristy record her own version of the song and have Randy join in as well. The result is one of those songs that instantly engages you. The more you listen to it, the more it catches on.
“Wherever Love Goes” (impacting country radio on August 12th), will also be featured on Kristy’s debut album on Broken Bow; an album being produced by none other than Jason Aldean, who also knows a thing or two about hit songs.
I spoke with Kristy about the new single and also got an update on her new album and more!
What was it like working with Randy Houser on this single?
It was amazing. Randy is such a great person and has one of the best voices in Nashville. He can sing all day long and is very enjoyable to be around.
Is there a mind-set or something else you do to prepare yourself to sing a song this emotional?
When I was younger, I would sometimes bring pictures into the studio with me to help get into the moment. But now, since I can relate to many of the experiences I’ve been singing about, I understand the lyrics more, so it’s easier for me to connect with the song.
Tell me about your upcoming album.
We’ve recorded about twelve tracks so far and will be recording a few more. I’m excited about it. There’s going to be a lot of variety of music on this record, with something for everyone. I think it adds a little bit of character to the album.
Jason Aldean is producing. What’s it like working with him?
Considering that he’s my favorite male country artist, it’s pretty awesome! [laughs]. Seriously, he’s such a nice guy and we get along really well. Jason actually sang backing vocals on a song that we did called “Dirt Cheap”. I was there when he did his part and to watch him record the song was amazing. It’s an honor for me to be able to work with him.
Tell me the origin of the song “Airborne Ranger Infantry”
My Mom had collected a bunch of poems that my Dad had written when he was at war and would often read them to my siblings and I when we were younger. They’re very powerful poems and I remember growing up with the idea of wanting to write a song from them. It was something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity until I actually became a songwriter. I got together with Michael Logen and Luke Sheets to write it, and originally just wanted it to be for my Dad. But I quickly realized that it had become something much more. I saw the impact that it had on people and it’s since become my way of giving back to our military and saying thanks for everything that they do.
What are some of your best and worst memories from your American Idol experience?
The tour was quite an experience. We went from performing on the show to being in front of 15,000 people a night. It was intense, but it was also a lot of fun. One of the worst experiences for me was the first week of the live rounds. I had bronchitis and the flu with 102 degree temperature. I remember having to sing live and not knowing what to do. They even took me to a different hotel and everything! [laughs].
What do you think makes country music so great?
The fact that you can sing about anything and everything, and it’s real. You can sing about relationships and heartbreak and everyone can relate to the songs because everyone has gone through the same thing. It’s a way of communicating with people and having a personal connection with a song that soothes your soul. It also revolves around the outdoors and about good, down to Earth people who’ve got each others back. I love being able to share that message with people.
For more on Kristy Lee Cook, check out her Official Website.