'American Idol' 2022 Runner-up HunterGirl Debuts New Single Inspired by Fellow Contestants, Shares Advice for Season 21 Competitors (Exclusive)
American Idol 2022 runner-up HunterGirl has debuted a brand new single, "Lonely Outta You," which was inspired by her fellow contestants on the iconic singing competition series. PopCulture.com had a chance to speak with the country star about her new tune — which can be streamed below — and she revealed the story behind its origins. HunterGirl also opened up about her busy touring schedule and shared some advice for the American Idol Season 21 contestants.
Opening up about "Lonley Outta You," HunterGirl explained, "I started writing this song while I was on the show still, and having to talk on camera. I never thought I'd be on TV in my entire life. I have to show emotion, talk about my story, and Lord, I was just crying all the time. Some of the male contestants were just like, 'How are you so open with your emotions and talking and everything?' And I was like, 'Lord, it's really hard. But if you put yourself out there and then somebody else back home might be thinking the same thing.' And this gave me that idea."
She continued, "There's so many songs about guys saying, 'Oh hey, you're a lonely girl,' or any of these things. But, I didn't hear a lot of those written towards guys from a girl perspective. The first line of the first verse is, 'You don't talk about your feelings, but that don't mean they don't hold no weight.' So I think it's just letting everybody be comfortable in their emotions and talking to each other. Everybody gets lonely sometimes, and I definitely wanted to write a song that could touch people."
Elaborating on her songwriting motivation, HunterGirl shared, "I definitely want my music to help people or touch people or just make people feel comfortable with who they are. I know growing up is hard, trying to figure out who you are as a person. If I can write a song that makes somebody feel more comfortable in their own skin, I think I did my job. So definitely want my music to do that for sure."
It has been nearly one year since HunterGirl and Noah Thompson faced off in the American Idol Season 20 finale, but life has been so busy in the aftermath that the runner-up has barely noticed the time that's passed. "It's just so wild, just because it doesn't even feel like it's been a year," HunterGirl said. "I think it was how fast things were moving and how fast things were going. It's getting really hyped up for this new season of contestants and definitely know what they've been through before and definitely figuring things out on the fly."
HunterGirl also has a connection to one current American Idol contestant who fans are buzzing about, and she shared the advice she offered to the Idol hopeful. "It was so cool because Mariah Faith, she was a contestant this year and she opened up for the national show that we had," HunterGirl revealed, adding that it was really great "getting to talk to her and give her some advice and say, 'I've definitely been in your shoes. I know how it feels. And I definitely understand being nervous, but I think just putting yourself out there, I think that's 70% of the battle is just taking a leap of faith. Just go after it.'"
She continued, "I'm just really excited for the contestants this year and watching their journey. It's so funny because whenever I watched the episode that I was on just for a second during the national thing, I was nervous. I was there. I know what happens, but I'm just like, 'I'm nervous for it. And I didn't even sing on it.' So I definitely understand."
When it comes to the advice she would impart to all contestants, HunterGirl shared, "I think it's just showing people who you are with the songs you choose. I think every song I chose on the show, I definitely wanted people to see another piece of my story." Noting her performance of "Baby Girl" by Sugarland, HunterGirl recalled, "It was dedicated to my parents, they got to fly out to L.A. And they've heard me sing that song in bars since I was 14, 15 years old, at shows," She then joked, "My mom's like, 'Oh my God, I brought my child to a bar to sing!'" HunterGirl then added, "I think just choosing songs that tell your story while also showing off your vocals sometimes. But yeah, I think people want to know who you are at the end of the day.
With a new song out now, HunterGirl has a lengthy docket of concerts on the horizon, and she is excited about "every single one of them." The singer exclaimed, "I'm just excited to be on the road. But definitely getting to open for Luke Bryan, and I'm opening for Luke Combs and Parmalee, Josh Turner, people that I've listened to — obviously I got to meet Luke and got to know Luke a lot — but, just people that I've looked up to.
HunterGirl continued, "I got to open for Lainey Wilson... and just definitely checking off so many of the dreams that I've had," then adding that she's also enjoyed her "parents getting to come and see the shows, and my family. I think this year is just so much stuff in store, working on new music, and been in the studio a lot. Even after 'Lonely Outta You' I have some more stuff in the works as well. So definitely excited for everything to come this year."