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'American Idol' Alum Danny Gokey Parts Ways With RCA Nashville (Exclusive)

Season 8's second runner-up (behind Kris Allen and Adam Lambert) is the latest show graduate to find himself without a major label deal.

Danny Gokey publicity 2010 P
RCA Nashville

American Idol season 8 finalist Danny Gokey is the latest show alum to find himself without a major label deal. A spokesperson for the country singer’s label confirms to the Hollywood Reporter that, "Danny Gokey and RCA Nashville have mutually agreed to part ways."

Gokey was signed to the Sony Music subsidiary in September 2009, months after coming in third behind Kris Allen and Adam Lambert. He released his debut album, My Best Days, in March 2010. It entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 4 and the country chart at No. 3. According to Nielsen SoundScan, more than 192,000 copies of the album have been sold. The disc saw two singles released, “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me" and “I Will Not Say Goodbye," the latter which failed to chart.

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More recently, Gokey released the standalone track “Second Hand Heart” to iTunes in July. He also opened for Taylor Swift on more than a dozen dates this summer and fall. His last performance with the country superstar was on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena.

Prior to his stint on American Idol, the Milwaukee native, then 29, was the worship director at a local church for several years. He arrived at auditions with one of the more tragic storylines the series had ever come across: Gokey’s wife Sophia died from complications related to heart surgery four weeks earlier. She was the one who encouraged Gokey to try out and he’s since set up a foundation in her name called Sophia's Heart.

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Like most Idol graduates, Gokey remains on the 19 Recordings roster free to sign with another label or self-release his music. His website currently lists several upcoming live dates, including a cruise to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico which will benefit Sophia’s Heart and feature performances with Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts.

Three country Idols remain in the Sony fold, season 4 winner Carrie Underwood, season 5's Kellie Pickler and Season 9 third place finisher Casey James, the latter two are signed to the BNA Records label, Underwood is on Arista Nashville. Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery and country singer runner-up Lauren Alaina are on the Mercury Nashville roster as a result of the show's new deal with Universal Music Group.  

Gokey has yet to address the RCA parting in an official capacity. Ever the optimist, on Nov. 11 the singer tweeted, “No matter what hits you in life, having a bad attitude only makes it worse!” 

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin