She may have been singing in a gospel choir in her hometown of Munhall, Pennsylvania since she was 9-years-old, but Gabby Barrett found fame on season 16 of American Idol and there’s not looking back. The young singer has been forging her own path since coming in third behind Caleb Hutchinson and winner Maddie Poppe on the hit competition show and she seems to have found her stride.
[RELATED: Gabby Barrett Brought the Sass to Miranda Lambert’s “Little Red Wagon” During “American Idol”]
“I went in being confident,” Gabby tells One Country. “I didn’t know if I was going to win, though. You just never know, standing there like, ‘Eh, I might get eliminated.’ And so I got third. It was funny. Whenever me, Maddy and Caleb were standing there and Ryan Seacrest said that Caleb made it through, as soon as he said Caleb’s name, I instantly thought, ‘I’m not going through.’ I was like, ‘I know I’m not going through.’ Something told me. I think God was telling me, ‘You’re not.’ I can’t explain it, there’s some feeling that comes to you, you just know that the other person is going through. And so when they said her name, I wasn’t surprised at all.”
A third place finish hasn’t slowed Gabby down as she begins to establish her country career. The 19-year-old joined her Idol brothers and sisters on the Idol tour, giving her a broader audience to perform for. All the while, Gabby was releasing songs on her Youtube channel, like “Missin’ You,” “Your Name on It,” “Jesus and My Mama,” and “Young Blood,” trying to find her sound.
“I think before Idol, I wasn’t really sure, because I was never really a writer,” reveals Gabby. “That was never my thing. I really honed in on entertaining, that was always my craft—live singing and entertaining was my thing. So before ‘American Idol’ and a few years prior, I did write songs and I would release them, just to see what kind of reaction they would get, and songs that I liked. But I never honed in on framing, ‘Okay, what do you want your theme to be?'”
She continued, “I just wrote about songs that I liked, or if the idea came up and I was like, ‘Oh! I like this and want to release to people and see what they think.’ So after Idol, that kind of just woke me up a little bit and was like, ‘Okay, now you have to put a theme and a brand to what you want people to know you as, and to take you really serious as—especially with the platform, coming off of ‘American Idol’ has given you. Now you have take it even more serious.'”
With Gabby’s first official single, “I Hope,” there’s no way the newcomer would be taken any way but seriously. The female anthem, written by Gabby, Jon Nite, and Zachary Kale, has the powerful vocalist singing about getting payback on an ex and hoping the new girl cheats on him, like he did on her. A topic that all women who have suffered at the hands of a cheating boyfriend can relate too.
“We got in a room, and it was Halloween, and we were like, ‘What are we going to write about?'” Gabby reveals about her writing session with Jon and Zachary. “We were like, ‘Let’s write about a relationship that doesn’t go well. But the female still kind of wishes him well.’ And I was like, ‘Ha, ha, ha. Yeah, that’s not how girls are.’ I was like, ‘That’s not how girls think when a guy does us wrong. We don’t think that.’ We might do that, we might act like we’re wishing them well. But we really don’t think that. Especially when they do the worst, like cheat on you or something. And so I was like, ‘Girls don’t think like that.’ And he was like, ‘All right. Let’s write about that then.'”
Gabby continued, “So I wanted to have a song for any female that had gone through that, because I go through those same exact things. I’m still a human being, I’m still a female that goes through this heartbreak and knows all of this. So I wanted to write a song that people could, whenever they heard it, dedicate it to that person that they never really got to say what they really felt. I just wanted to have that song for people to connect to.”
“I hope you’re both feeling sparks by the end of the drive / I hope you know she’s the one by the end of the night / I hope you never ever felt more free / Tell your friends that you’re so happy / I hope she comes along and wrecks every one of your plans / I hope you spend your last dime to put a rock on her hand / I hope she’s wilder than your wildest dreams /She’s everything you’re ever gonna need / And Then I hope she cheats / Like you did on me / And Then I hope she cheats /Like you did on me,” she sings in the chorus.
Gabby is currently in the studio working on her upcoming project with producer and songwriter Ross Copperman (“Woman, Amen,” “Wanna Be That Song”), while also hitting the road for tour dates through the end of 2019.
[RELATED: “American Idol” Finalists Gabby Barrett and Cade Foehner Join Forces on Cover of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s “I Need You”]
In addition, Gabby, who’s engaged to American Idol contestant Cade Foehner, admits that there is something in the works for the duo. While they’ve performed covers together before, including Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s “I Need You” and Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” the duo are working on an original project together.
That’s just one more thing fans can add to the list of what we have to look forward to from Gabby Barrett and her bright future in country music.