But when working on his latest, as yet untitled studio album, he learned to use that voice in a whole new way.
As usual, Cook collaborated with an array of music industry veterans, from Kelly Clarkson songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk to OneRebublic vocalist Ryan Tedder. But in contrast to the "anxiety" he felt making his platinum-selling, self-titled, post-Idol album, the Missouri-bred singer told AOL's Popeater: "Sitting in the room with these people, I still managed to find my voice … really speaking up for myself and making sure that what was happening was going to come across as me and not, 'Here's David Cook singing somebody else's songs.' "
In a behind-the-scenes video shot at Emblem studios in Calabasas, Calif., Cook comes across as self-assured, but not cocky: "I'm very confident in my own ability to write music, but I think anytime you can bounce ideas off of other people – you know, two heads are better than one."