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'American Idol' winner David Cook says single, upcoming album ‘a new chapter’

, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin9:17 a.m. CT June 28, 2017

STEVENS POINT - Since gaining national fame on the "American Idol" stage nearly a decade ago, David Cook has experienced a musical metamorphosis. 

The Season 7 winner of the Fox music competition, known for his rocker roots, jumped out of the gates in 2008 with a self-titled album and a second major album release, “This Loud Morning” in 2011. His 2015 album release, “Digital Vein,” debuted in the Top 5 on Billboard's Pop Chart. He has sold more than 5 million tracks worldwide, including two singles that have been certified Platinum.

He is now ready for a new chapter and says his latest single, “Gimme Heartbreak,” which was released June 23, shows a new direction for his music. Central Wisconsin fans will get a taste of Cook's creative growth at a performance Saturday, July 1, at Pfiffner Pioneer Park in Stevens Point, during Riverfront Rendezvous.

That new direction also will be apparent on an EP set to be released this fall, Cook said.

“I mentioned when 'Digital Vein,' our last record was coming out, that I felt like that record was a good bookend to the last decade or so of my music career, starting with the CD I put out before 'Idol,'” Cook said during an interview with USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin on Tuesday. “This new EP and the new music really does feel like a new chapter. I know it sounds really cliché to say it that way, but this all feels very different and it’s something I’m really excited about.”

The new direction has allowed him to dive into alternative and cinematic pop, music like Halsey and Aurora, he said, while still allowing him to hold onto his rock ideals and influences such as Nine Inch Nails and Massive Attack.

“So, a song like ‘Gimme Heartbreak,’ it’s a song that I don’t know I would have felt comfortable enough in my own shoes to record two years ago,” he said.

Cook also will head out on a 38-stop tour later this week to promote the single and upcoming EP, with his first stop in Cincinnati on Thursday, June 29. The only Wisconsin stop on the tour will be the Stevens Point show.

“I’ve been off the road six months as we’ve been writing and working on new materials, so it’s nice to get back out on the road,” Cook said. “I love being out on the road. I love to play these songs for people and get that immediate reaction, and get to see the faces of people who are really supporting us and helping us to do something that we love to do.”

Cook said the high-energy shows feature a mix of fan favorites and new music, with a few covers thrown in as well.

“I kind of hang my hat on the idea that we are constantly evolving as a group, and we try to make each show unique to that city and that night,” he said. “We’re gonna come out and turn the guitars up as loud as we can and put all the energy we can into the show, and hopefully the crowd reciprocates.”

And while Cook has continued to evolve as a musician since appearing on "Idol" in 2008, he hasn’t forgotten the show that gave him his big break.

“I owe a lot to ('American Idol'),” Cook said. “It hasn’t been so long that I’ve forgotten playing acoustic gigs in Kansas City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, to, like, five people just to make rent. You know, now I get to travel the world and put out singles.

“Just to be able to do something that I love to do and make a great living doing it, that’s all stuff I owe to that platform.”

Cook’s single, “Gimme Heartbreak,” is available to purchase on all digital platforms. Fans can preorder the yet-untitled EP as well as related items and experiences on pledgemusic.com/davidcook.

The cover for David Cook's new single, "Gimme Heartbreak." (Photo: Photo courtesy of Rob Thacker)

David Cook tour stops in Stevens Point

What: David Cook concert during Riverfront Rendezvous

When: 9:15 p.m. Saturday, July 1

Where: Pfiffner Pioneer Park in Stevens Point

Cost: Admission to Riverfront Rendezvous is free.