Nashville’s Danny Gokey & Tammy Trent: Love, Loss, Hope, & Sunny Days

April Shenandoah and Danny Gokey at ICRS.

April Shenandoah and Danny Gokey at ICRS.

Each year when I attend the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) I meet amazing authors, filmmakers, and musicians that I have the pleasure of writing about. This year…

Danny Gokey of American Idol fame (season eight), who gained an audience of millions as a Top 3 finalist on the show, was my first interview. He was promoting his book Hope in Front of Me, to be released Oct. 1. As I read the manuscript, I was captivated by every word. Gokey’s single, bearing the same title, to be released at the same time, also has an album to follow.

Hope in Front of Me reveals the true spirit of Danny Gokey – his heart leaps off of every page. The story of his marriage brought big-time tears! He knew his precious Sophia 12 years, but only got to spend four years of marriage with her before he lost her to heart complications in 2008. Though he managed to audition for American Idol a month after Sophia was gone, he was an emotional wreck during that time. He did it for her! As you enter the depth of this story (book) you will discover that it isn’t the end of a story – it is the beginning of a “D.G. Movement.”

In 2010 he released his debut album, My Best Days – it peaked at #4 on the Billboard chart. He sings and speaks of destiny, success, failure, and being all we can be. Gokey has a heart to change lives, to encourage those with dreams who haven’t seen them realized yet.

Gokey says: “I didn’t want you to read this book so you could find a way to pass the time. I want to inspire you not to allow the unpredictable, unfortunate, and unexplainable to keep you from living into all you were created to be and accomplish … No matter where you live, what level of education you have, or how perfect your life appears, there is a part of you that needs to be healed, mended, and put back together. No house, car, or job can ever complete you … That’s because you were created to find your completeness in sharing and helping others.”

In 2008, Sophia’s Heart was founded by Danny Gokey to help children and families who have been touched by poverty, sickness, broken homes, and broken dreams. They provide transitional housing as well as coaching for job training, financial planning, spiritual inspiration, and health & wellness. Sophia’s Heart also inspires creativity in children through a thriving Music & Performing Arts Education program for inner-city kids. Visit

Tammy Trent is a multitalented recording artist, songwriter, author, and speaker who also suffered the loss of a mate. I knew of Trent through her Ministry Coordinator, Anita Rundell. I mentioned that if I ran into Tammy at the ICRS I would introduce myself … Miss Tammy and I are now bathroom buddies. Seconds into our conversation, after I peaked out of the bathroom stall and said, “Are you Tammy Trent?” I discovered how “real” she is. Her angel-like appearance automatically garners respect, and her humor makes you want to be her best friend. Authentic is a good word to describe this Nashville star.

Trent has been a familiar voice on Christian radio with a string of hits, including “Your Love is 4 Always,” “It’s All About You,” “Run to the Cross,” “My Irreplaceable,” and “Welcome Home.” However, she stepped away from the spotlight in 2001 after the tragic death of her husband in a diving accident. You can learn more about her special love story and the details of that fateful (one) day-before-9/11 in Trent’s book Learning to Breath Again.

She is also the author of Choosing Life and Finding Hope After a Shattering Loss, Beyond the Sorrow: There’s Hope in the Promises of God, and she co-penned the hilarious and brilliantly illustrated Children’s Potty Training book The Log Family: See You at the Beach with her late husband Trent Lenderink, who sadly never got to see his work completed.

Miss Tammy returns next month with her new album Sunny Days to be released on Aug. 6. She says, “I’m still over the moon excited about sharing my faith and hope with those that feel like leaning in for a listen.” Visit

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