Raw and heartfelt, David Cook's music and lyrics have always inspired an emotive response of passion and spirit. But it's his latest single "Fire," off his highly anticipated third EP, The Looking Glass, releasing next month that levels up his sincere and rich songwriting soul into a nuanced layer of passion and hope. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com for our series, PopCulture @Home, Cook opens up about the ardent, emotionally rich track of hope amid a pandemic that has left much of the world at its knees.
Optimistic about the times, particularly in light of vaccinations being made available for so many across the U.S., Cook shares how his new single is a lot about making a fresh start. "[Fire] is all wrapped up in this nice little relationship bow but talks about just starting over — kind of what we just talked about with whatever normal is going to be," he said. "I think we have, as individuals, this really cool opportunity to decide what that normal is going to be for us, and so fire just kind of touches on that vibe. Let's burn down what was and start fresh. When I wrote it, it was actually more of like a mid-tempo, slower ballad."
The Nashville resident admits when turning songs in to his good friend and frequent collaborator Andy Skib, he remembers having conversations about how "Fire" would be the easiest song to beat. "It took playing it for [Andy], and he was like, 'We need to speed this up. I've got ideas for it, but we've got to speed it up.' And the end result just has so much energy to it. It's become one of my favorite songs on this EP, so very much looking forward to getting to play it live."
With the two last working together on his album Digital Vein in 2015 and having a friendship that dates back to almost two decades, Cook admits Skib is not only an amazing friend but the kind who's got "good bedside manner" when it comes to providing feedback. "Andy's pretty good about it — I think it's because he has more of an objective opinion about these songs. I've created these things and so I very much have an emotional connection to the songs, but I trust Andy, and I trust his opinion, and I trust his ability to be objective," he said. "He can tell me it's a bad idea in such a way that doesn't make my defenses go up immediately, which I'm thankful for."
Though the past year was a challenge for everyone in light of the pandemic keeping so many of us home and social distancing, the American Idol alum admits having found a few things to set his heart on fire, including spending time with his wife, Racheal Stump, whom he married in 2015.
"This last year has kind of allowed me to embrace little things, but also things that maybe you don't think about that are big things — like being able to spend as much time with my wife the last year has been fantastic. I haven't gotten to spend this much consistent time with her since ever, really," he said, adding how the little things have really been humbling. "My father-in-law bought me a ukulele this past year and it's just like to be able to pick up an instrument and play absentmindedly for fun and not really think about it because I don't necessarily feel like a ukulele's my music bread and butter as far as my career, but just to noodle with it's been fun just to get back to playing music for the sake of enjoying music."
One of the latent functions of the pandemic that left Cook surprised was how much he "really enjoyed" using Zoom, especially with the live StageIt shows where he performed songs from his past albums and two of his latest singles off The Looking Glass, "Reds Turn Blue" and "Strange World" ahead of the EP's release. "Just the opportunity to connect with people in a different way and be thankful for it because I mean, otherwise, I'd be staring at the same wall for 23 hours a day," he laughed. "I think what I've learned through all this is just how much I appreciate human interaction."
David's EP The Looking Glass releases April 16, with his new single "Fire" out now and available at all digital retailers, including Amazon. For more on David and all your favorite musicians, keep it locked to PopCulture.com!