David Cook Flips the Switch on Anxiety With New Single 'Reds Turn Blue' (Exclusive)

As an artist who never fails to wear his heart on his sleeve, singer-songwriter, David Cook is looking to take his music to a whole new level with his latest single "Reds Turn Blue." The detailed story-driven track describes the manic highs and lows of anxiety — something the American Idol winner has struggled with since winning Season 7 in 2008. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com for our series PopCulture @ Home, Cook opens up about the cathartic experience in writing the intimate song, which he admits was a way for him to deal with his anxiety.

"It's just a therapeutic exercise," he told PopCulture of the single, written last fall. "I had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder about a decade ago, and I guess back in October, I just felt like — as another step in the process of figuring all this out — I would love to just write a song that probably nobody else will hear. So, I just attacked it."

Cook goes on to share how the song is a "letter" of sorts from his anxiety to himself as a way to help him process it "a little differently." With the song's title alluding to a visual representation of the emotions embodied in the unabashed and sentimental lyrics, Cook adds it's all about perspective, even if it took a lot of thought for him to want to share it with fans.

"I try to look at it as not myself, so I can acknowledge it and then say, 'Okay, I have to do this, and you just hang out, over there,'" he said. "The decision to release it was tough, but once that decision was made, it was actually a lot of fun and pretty easy, and kind of freeing, I think, just to share that little aspect of myself."

Cook, whose latest track runs through a valley of emotion and sincerity, went on to share that if there's one thing he wants fans to take away from "Reds Turn Blue," it's that they can all find their own meaning between the reflective lyrics. "I think I have a tendency as a writer to write somewhat ambiguously, which always makes discussing what the song is about from the songwriter's standpoint, always a little weird," he said. "But I try to write them ambiguously enough to where people can find whatever they want in them because I'm a believer if somebody is connecting to the song, far be it from me to impede that process."

The 37-year-old went on to reveal the new single is part of an upcoming EP, which he shares will join a "couple of other songs in the can," though he's "just kind of sitting on [them] right now" amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has swept the country and world. "Another side effect of everything going on is, it's been tough to get into a studio and track these things properly. The hope is, to start doing that — I hate using the word 'soon,' because it's kind of open-ended. But soon," he said, reiterating how there's no timeframe at the moment in light of the health crisis for the EP's release, but assured fans, "the goal is to put out a bigger collection."

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(Photo: Jake Harsh Photography)

While the pandemic has put a dent in a number of daily routines for just about everyone around the world, Cook humbly shares how he was "fortunate" with "Reds Turn Blue," which was recorded just before the federal shutdown in the U.S. "I got into the studio right before everything shut down," he said. "I've got another song — at least one — that I definitely want to cut, and that's been a challenge, just trying to get into a studio and make sure that everybody's safe. We're certainly operating under the guise of better wrong and safe than wrong and sick."

In addition to taking precautions in the recording studio amid the pandemic, Cook chose to postpone the release of his single in light of the nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality occurring across the nation. While it has undoubtedly been an emotional time for many in the U.S. with the events transpiring almost every day, Cook admits it permeates in some way to his songwriting, but not in an exact manner.

"Not so much in how I want to," he said, adding how as a songwriter, he must also internalize and take in a lot of the world. "I'd be hard-pressed to think that — what's going on in the world, both with the pandemic and with these social justice initiatives and conversations that are extremely long overdue — to think that stuff is not infiltrating into my songwriting, even subconsciously. I do notice that a lot of the songs I've been writing lately are more about isolation and stuff like that."

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(Photo: Jake Harsh Photography)
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After relocating to Nashville almost five years ago, the Texas-born, Missouri-raised singer says moving to Music City was one of the best decisions he ever made. Particularly with how the capital of Tennessee has opened him up to new sounds and influences: "Moving here kind of tuned me into the idea, like some of the best storytellers in the world are here in Nashville," he said. "I think the narrative style of songwriting exists here, in more plentiful supply than dare I say, anywhere else. I certainly tuned into that, maybe a little more abstractly than most. But I do feel like my songs have strayed more towards the narrative format since I got here, and really, it's opened me up to expanding the sounds and the influences that I bring in."

Cook's single, "Reds Turn Blue" is now available at all digital retailers, including iTunes and Amazon, and is available to stream via Spotify. For more information on Cook and the latest on his upcoming tour dates, check out his official website. Keep it locked to PopCulture.com for more with David Cook and all your favorite musicians!