David L. Cook
David L Cook at the 1996 Grammy Awards
|David Cooke (overseas)|
|Born||November 11, 1968|
Pascagoula, Mississippi, United States
|Origin||Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
|Genres||Gospel music, Inspirational|
|Singer, songwriter, comedian|
|Labels||Bang Records, Mountainview, DLC|
Born to Donnell and June (née Mercer) Cook, David is the oldest of six children. He has written more than 2,500 songs and has won multiple Emmy and Telly Awards. His song, "Drop that Rock", was featured on his album In the Middle of It All and garnered a Dove Award nomination for Christian Country Album of the Year in 1999.
In all of Cook's overseas recordings his surname is Cooke to distinguish it from his work in the United States. The male members of The Cook Family Singers have always used just their middle initials as a trademark, a trait beginning back in 1885 when the first such group was formed.
Cook was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi; after two years, his family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Cook began his musical career at age five, singing with his family's group, The Cook Family Singers. After his parents' divorce, the group continued without Donnell, but in 1980, the group disbanded because of June's health issues. He continued singing both gospel and secular music.
Early in life, Cook was abused by his father, who had a severe drinking problem. While intoxicated, Cook's father reportedly became violent towards his family. After many years of this abuse Cook developed many psychological problems that ended up following him through to his life as an adult. He developed a severe dissociative disorder and psychogenic amnesia. He recalled having periods of "missing time" but never really understood the cause. In 1990, doctors finally diagnosed the disorders after Cook experienced what they thought was a severe stroke and was rushed to the Coral Springs Medical Hospital in Fort. Lauderdale.
He checked himself out of the hospital and disappeared from his Florida home and was found five months later in a Charlotte, North Carolina, hospital with similar health complaints. Cook had been around Charlotte for five months and no one realized there was anything wrong until he started developing stroke symptoms again. Doctors diagnosed his problems, which were not organic, and referred him to see the proper specialists. He claims to have had no recollection of leaving Florida, nor what he had done during his five months in Charlotte. When asked, he stated that, "It was like someone switching off a light and then switching it back on." Cook's story has been told through different media. The 700 Club did a full-length documentary about his life, which aired worldwide. Cook wrote a religious self-help book, Inspirational Words about the issues he overcame.
On November 11, 2009, Cook was diagnosed with a parathyroid tumor in his neck. Doctors assessed that the tumor was pressing against his vocal cords making it virtually impossible for him to perform. He was treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Cook's first solo Christian album, Come Follow Me, was released in 1985. The album was written and produced by singer/producer Frank X. Loconto, a former member of the group Lane Brothers. In 1986, he signed with the American Musical Academy of Arts Association (AMAAA), and released another album, Personal Feelings.
In 1997, Mountainview Records released Cook's album, In the Middle of it All, which earned him a Gospel Music Association Dove Award nomination for Christian Country Album of the Year in 1999. However, after a fallout with Mountainview records in 1999, he started his own record label, DLC Records. During this period Cook created a comedy character, named Mortermer Crabbottom, in the tradition of comedic Southern characters like Gomer Pyle.
Cook recorded an album in character, Split Personality, based on the life and times of Mortermer Crabbottom growing up in fictional Crabbottom USA. In 1999, the Country Gospel Music Association inducted Cook into its Hall of Fame, along with Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Andy Griffith, Jody Miller and Lulu Roman.
In 2012 Cook co-wrote "Hands of Hope" with David Meece and Bruce Carroll. The song was fashioned along the same lines as "We Are the World", which featured many famous voices from the music industry. The song went number one on the charts and remained there for two weeks. The song was used as the theme song for Turning Point Centers for Domestic Violence. On May 5, 2012 NATAS announced that the song Hands of Hope garnered Cook, Meece and Carroll the Emmy® nomination for best Arrangement/Composer of a television theme song.
In August 2007, Cook joined in partnership with the Firebird Arts Alliance. He was asked by David Tang, the president of Firebird, to write and produce a theme song for the television series New South Crossings. The theme song was "Meet Me at the Crossroads". Cook won an Emmy Award® on January 24, 2009 for his work on the series audio and soundtrack.
Cook appeared in an episode, "Master Class", in which Cook worked with younger artists. He shows them the ins and outs of working together musically, and during the episode they perform the actual theme song for the series. On June 27, 2010, Cook won another Emmy® award, this time for writing and singing the theme song, Meet Me At the Crossroads
In August 2013, Cook began working on his new television series, Written N Black & White. He is listed as one of the stars of the show along with fellow comedian, Trina Jeffrie. The two play an interracial newlywed couple who are comedians and their parents are clueless of the marriage. Although the series is said to take place in New York, the actual taping is done in Fort Mill, South Carolina at the former PTL Studios, which had housed the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker PTL network back in the 1980s.
In January 2009, Cook won his 5th Emmy Award for his work on the series, New South Crossings and he took home his sixth Emmy for the composing and arranging of "Meet Me At The Crossroads" in June 2010.
Cook was nominated on May 6, 2011 for three Emmy® Awards for the documentary, The Award Goes To: A Look Back at the Legends, and at the June 18 telecast, he won his 7th Emmy® for Outstanding Excellence in a Live Event
In 2015 Cook hosted the Mississippi Music Awards and was given the prestigious Mississippi Marvel Award for all of his work with new artists coming up in the business. During the 2015 AMG Heritage Awards, Cook was presented with a "Citation of Excellence" from the North Carolina Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall. The citation was given to Cook for the development of continued arts programing and mentoring he has implemented across the country.
In 1988, Cook had incorporated Cook's Car Care Company in his native Fort Lauderdale. Eventually he transferred his interests to certain family members. The company is still in business today under different ownership. He incorporated Cook Productions International in 1989 with his business partner Edward Cook. Cook sold his interests in 1992, which dissolved the Florida division.
In 1999 Cook started DLC Records after leaving Mountainview Records due to contractual and other disputes. While on the label Cook took his 1999 project, In The Middle of it All, up the charts garnering several No. 1 singles, a Dove Award nomination and became the number one selling Christian country artists of all time. He incorporated Cook Enterprises to administer his contracts and personal business affairs, which included a children's television show development agreement with his management group, Five Star Music which produced a weekly show called, Crabbottom USA, taped at local television station, WHTV TV-39, a Nashville Tennessee based station.
In 2004, Cook was presented with the opportunity to become the CEO and controlling partner for the International Academy of Music Arts and Sciences (IAMAS Corporation). Years earlier, the company merged with its daughter company, The American Musical Academy of Arts Association, which proved profitable as there was an upswing in demand for Christian-based music and distribution opportunities. This was profitable as IAMAS was able to use its history in the entertainment industry as a door to help boost other smaller companies into existence. In 2004, the entertainment industry took a huge hit with the incoming markets of Napster, iTunes, and Amazon.com. IAMAS, no longer able to compete, decided to sell off only its American division and retain its overseas holdings. Since IAMAS Corporation had handled Cook's contracts since 1980, Cook offered to buy the company for an undisclosed amount. His offer was accepted and he officially filed for corporation status on November 24, 2004.
Cook became the president and CEO of the Charlotte Civic Orchestra in 2005 and although he retired as CEO in 2011, Cook remains on the board as an adviser. The organization is a 501(c)(3) company, and is entirely composed of volunteers. In January 2011, Cook and several others launched the Artists Music Guild, a network based company that connects artists with industry professionals who advise them and lead them in the proper course for career mapping. Cook is listed as the executive board president.On July 9, 2018 Cook purchased the Good Shepherd Funeral Home in Indian Trail which was once owned and ran by fellow Christian recording stars, Tony Greene and TaRanda Greene. Cook purchased the funeral home and instilled Clay Cox as a partner and the chief operations officer. Cook and Cox rebranded the funeral home and changed the name from Good Shepherd to Life and Legacy Funerals and Cremations.
Cook and other entertainment industry insiders started the Artists Music Guild in January 2011 to reduce the risks of artists being taken advantage of in a predatory industry. On November 11, 2011, The Artists Music Guild held its inaugural convention at the historic Heritage USA complex. The inaugural convention was filmed for a PBS special, A Walk Through the History of Music in the United States, with more than 2000 people in attendance. Cook has stated that his main goal for making the Heritage USA the official home of the Artists Music Guild's convention was to heal the broken people who were affected by the fall of PTL. The convention reunited several of the former PTL Singers, including Toni Bogart, Brian Keith, Lee Young and Sandy and Russell Hosey. Also in attendance were many of the employees who lost their jobs amid the sexual and financial scandal which caused the fall of the Bakker's ministry. Cook posited that "by reuniting these individuals who have not performed together in over twenty plus years it would allow them to come together on their own terms and walk out of the complex without someone telling them they could never come back. It was the ultimate form of healing the hurts from the past." In 2015 the Guild became the parent company for the Mississippi Music Foundation in an effort to build a youth orchestra and a better outreach to educating and developing young and upcoming artists. Cook was added to the advisory board and became the official spokesperson and face of the foundation.
On October 3, 2012, mainstream media reported that Cook had been killed in Winston-Salem, North Carolina after being struck by a car. Web crawlers picked up the story and the rumors went nationwide. The story was later confirmed to be that of a David Lee Cook, a North Carolina Department of Transportation worker who had been killed while removing a tree from the road during hazardous conditions. The original news organization released an explanation story after finding out of their mistake.
Cook wins multiple Telly Awards