Gabby Barrett came in third place in Season 16 of American Idol, which crowned Maddie Poppe as the winner. Barrett may not have been declared the champion, but she did earn a respectable – and growing – fan base, which she is counting on as she releases her single, "I Hope," from her upcoming freshman album.
"I co-wrote it with Zach Kale and Jon Nite, absolutely amazing writers, and, they're like my brothers," Barrett told PopCulture.com. "And so I remember this very vividly. On Halloween, October 31st, we went to a room and we're like, 'What are we gonna write about today?' And we were like, 'Let's write a relationship song where a guy and a girl don't work out but the girl kinda still like wishes him well.
"And I was like, 'Hmm,'" she continued. "When guys do girls wrong, we're not like, 'Oh, I wish you well.' We'll say that, but we don't really mean that. We don't really, really mean that when they do us wrong, but we really hope for the worst. I know it sounds bad, but we're like, 'I hope you get the worst this possible, possibly get cheated on.' So, it sounds rough, but that's what it is."
Barrett wrote the song for people who need to get over someone, as a final send-off before moving on.
"I wanted to have that song for people to be able to dedicate it to that person whenever I would perform it," Barrett explained, "so that they can think of that one person that did them wrong and could dedicate it to them in a way, saying stuff that they never got to say to them."
Barrett is in the studio with famed producer, Ross Copperman, working on her debut album. She has had to juggle recording new music with a busy time on the road, which included serving as the opening act on Chris Lane's Laps Around the Sun Tour.
"I have been working extremely, extremely hard for the past six months on music, even while I was on tour," Barrett said. "Even on the American Idol tour and on the Chris Lane tour that I did last year, I was working all throughout to get music ready. So, we're actually working now within the next few weeks to really sell it."
Barrett is grateful for her time with Lane, who taught her almost as much as she learned on Idol.
"He is absolutely amazing," boasted Barrett. "You know, it's hard to find people that really, truly, truly want to help you and give you a helping hand in such a difficult business, 'cause I understand how hard this business is. So he was absolutely one of those helping hands for me, very genuine, very nice. 'Cause you always wonder, is this person the same off camera as they are on the camera? And so, it's really nice to see that he's very genuine on and off. So, I'm excited to be doing more."
Someone else Barrett got to meet is American Idol champion, Carrie Underwood, who was an inspiration for Barrett even before they met.
"I felt like I was gonna throw up and pee myself at the same time when I met her," Barrett recalled of their first encounter. "It was insane. Carrie Underwood's like the Holy Grail for everybody in country music. She's one of the best moguls I've ever heard in my life. So, to meet her – I just looked up to her in a lot of ways since I was younger. I remember my parents voting for her on American Idol to win.
"I would just watch her as she grew as a mom and as a wife, and how she was as a person. And I really, really like that she's very classy and sticks in her faith, and things like that. I just admired those things about her, and so getting to be kind of mentored and sing with her was the bomb for me."
Barrett would still be singing, even if she hadn't competed on American Idol, but she knows that the reality TV talent show gave her career, and her confidence, a big boost.
"American Idol is the biggest platform you could possibly put yourself on, especially on a singing competition," Barrett reflected. "That was always the show growing up that you wanted to be on ... It's absolutely changed my life. It's done a lot of good. It made it easier to reach out to teams that can help you."
The current season of American Idol airs on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.0comments
Download "I Hope" on iTunes.
Photo Credit: Taylor Kelly