Country singer Gabby Barrett told Billboard magazine in a recent interview headlined “How Gabby Barrett’s ‘I Hope’ Helped Her Break In Country Music After ‘American Idol’ Didn’t” that life after competing on the singing competition in 2018 wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“It was actually really hard to get a record deal after American Idol,” Barrett admitted to Billboard. “I thought it might be easier, [being] on a platform that clearly people in the music industry are looking at, [but] nobody was wanting to sign.”
When Gabby asked former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood for career advice, the country superstar told her to write on the road even during the gruelling Idol tour. Take red-eye flights to Nashville for songwriting sessions. And even on those days when extra work seemed impossible, just do it.
Gabby took Carrie’s advice. She collaborated with songwriters, eventually releasing her Top 10 country single “I Hope” as an independent artist in January 2019. When the single got some traction, the record companies began calling. “I got a few calls in April, but Warner Music Nashville and I were on the same goal path,” said Gabby, “There weren’t a lot of females on the label, and John Esposito [WMN’s chairman/CEO] is a Pittsburgh fan, and I’m from Pittsburgh — so I thought I could fit in there perfectly.”
Gabby added: “They saw how “I Hope” was affecting people and streaming. They instantly sent me out to meet with radio [stations] and get the song on the radio. They acted fast while the song was rolling.” Currently, “I Hope” is sitting at No. 10 on Hot Country Songs chart, No. 19 on Country Airplay, and No. 56 on the Billboard Hot 100.
As far as what’s next for Gabby, she told Billboard that fans can expect an album sometime this year. “I’ve been working on music for a year and a half now,” she said, “I’ve written a few songs with [Nashville superproducer] Ross Copperman that will potentially be on the album, and he’s co-produced and produced “I Hope.” I don’t want to give anything away yet, but it’s not one genre. We’ve got some cool collaborations coming up. This album’s going to be something worth listening to.”