During his senior year of college at Central Missouri State, Cook recorded a solo CD called Analog Heart, which sold well regionally. In 2006, after obtaining a degree in graphic arts, Cook had to decide whether he wanted to be a musician or a graphic designer. “I gave myself every opportunity not to do music,” he says, “but it was always there. I couldn’t ignore it.” He moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was in the early stages of recording his second album when his younger brother Andrew asked Cook to accompany him to Omaha and lend moral support while he tried out for American Idol. Andrew didn’t make the cut, but he encouraged a very reluctant David to try out. “He threatened to beat my ass if I didn’t, so it’s entirely his fault that all this happened to me,” Cook says with a smile.
One week after being declared the winner with a record-breaking 56 percent of the nearly 100 million votes cast, Cook rewrote chart history when 11 of his songs debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart — the highest number of new entries in a single week by an artist since the Beatles in 1964. Topping the list was “The Time of My Life,” which debuted at No. 3, making it the highest new entry on the Hot 100 of 2008.
Cook’s self-titled major-label debut was released on November 18, 2008. His debut album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association for America (RIAA) for sales exceeding one-million units in January 2009.
In January 2009, Cook announced he would be embarking on a national tour in February. The Declaration Tour began on February 13, 2009 in Tallahassee, Florida, and was originally set to end in Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 25, 2009. Due to strong ticket sales, the tour has since been extended through November.