Kristy Lee Cook
Kristy Lee Cook

Broken Bow's Kristy Lee Cook has just released a new single, "Wherever Love Goes," and she tells Billboard she's very excited to have new music for her fans -- particularly a duet with Randy Houser, an artist she's a big fan of. 

"I am so excited to have a record out with Randy. Benny Brown (Broken Bow president) came to me with the song, and he brought it to him, as well. I listened to it, and it was one of those instant feelings where I just I loved it. He did too. It's my first duet, and to be able to release it with Randy is amazing. I think he's the best male vocalist in Nashville."

Cook -- a finalist on "American Idol" in 2008 -- has enjoyed success with the Arista / 19 Recordings album "Why Wait" and the top-30 single "15 Minutes Of Shame." That said, she says that she feels that she is in the right place label-wise. 

"We all fully believe in the song and hope it does some wonderful things."

The singer says that recording the song with Houser was a natural fit for the romantic ballad, as their vocal styles complement each other well. 

"I think that everyone has their own unique voice, and I think Randy has that grit to his voice. I think Benny put the two of us together because I have a very low and tender voice. I can reach the high notes, but I don't like to scream all the time. I think with that, and with his power, it kind of evens out. He's the tough guy, and I'm the softer one. I think it plays well together. It was a lot of fun to sing with him in the studio. It was great. I enjoyed every moment."

Her debut disc for "Broken Bow" is nearly complete, and she can't wait for fans to hear it. 

"We're almost done. I've got a couple more that I want to cut that I've written. They are really country. I'm very excited about them. They define country girls and me to a tee. Then, the album should be finished. I've written five or six of the songs. It's the first time I've gotten to sing music that I've written myself."

She's got some heavy star power working on the album, with Jason Aldean and New Voice (Thompson Square) handling production duties. 

"Obviously, getting to work with Jason Aldean is just awful," she jokes. "He's amazing, and New Voice is amazing. They can do anything musically. You don't have to worry about when they mix it that you're going to want to change anything – because they know what you want. It's amazing how good they are at what they do."

Cook says she will be eternally grateful for the "Idol" experience, which taught her a lot. 

"Everything is a stepping stone, and something that you can learn from. It was a huge learning experience for me. We did the 'American Idol' tour, and they really do push you to your limits to see how much you can take to prepare you for what it's going to be like. Between radio tours and shows, it's a lot of work. From the outside, people might think that it's not much work, but there's a ton that goes on underneath it all. It was a very good preparation for all of that. Being critiqued each night, and all the haters online – all those things – you just have to realize that not everyone is going to like you. There's nothing you can do about it. I just have to be who I am, and sing for those who do want to hear my music. For the ones that don't like me, maybe one day they will come around – you never know."