Country singer Gabby Barrett, who rose to fame after coming in third in American Idol in 2018, has just released her debut album GOLDMINE. Spanning genres from country to pop to christian music the album is as multifaceted as Gabby herself. Platinum certified and the youngest artist to ever reach #1 on the U.S. Country Radio Airplay charts, Gabby’s career is set to shine as bright as the name of her first album suggests. We caught up with her to discuss her biggest influences and what the coming year has in store.
First of all, how are you? How’s lockdown been for you? Where and how have you been spending your time?
I’m doing well! I’ve been (safely) hopping back and forth, visiting family with my husband throughout quarantine, just taking it easy and enjoying time with everyone. This has been such a crazy year, but I’m really grateful for all of the down time.
Your single ‘I hope’ reached #1 on the U.S. Country Radio Airplay charts, making you the youngest artist to achieve that with a debut single in over two decades. What did this accolade mean to you?
It’s a huge honor, still really crazy to think about. It feels extremely gratifying to see hard work pay off, and to know that fans love the music your making.
So your debut album GOLDMINE has recently come out, what story does this album tell?
This sounds cliche but it’s just 100% me – it’s a lot of different genres, styles, types of songs. It touches on the things I care about the most – my faith, my family, etc. I didn’t want to get to my third or fourth album and say, ‘Okay, now this album is finally me;’ I wanted to introduce myself with my debut, which you can’t redo, and I think that’s what GOLDMINE does.
What’s your favorite track on the album?
That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child, HA! I really do love them all. If I had to pick, I really love ‘Footprints On The Moon’ and ‘Got Me’ feat. Shane & Shane.
You co-wrote the vast majority of the songs on Goldmine while in Nashville. How did you feel when you first started writing, especially in the hallowed home of country music!
It was intimidating, of course, but also really exciting. I knew I wanted to be an entertainer in the Country world for years, but I had never really seen myself as a songwriter. So stepping into those rooms, I really wanted to learn, I wanted to see what it’s like, and soak up as much knowledge and experience as I could, which is what I continue to do to this day. I’m very thankful to have collaborated with songwriters that I’m now blessed to call friends.
The album spans a lot of genres from pop to Christian music. Why was it important to you to have all of these types of music represented in the album?
I don’t think music is really as genre-specific as it used to be. It’s a lot more fluid and morphs into the spaces in between genres. Pop, Christian, Rock, Country were all huge influences on my taste growing up, so I wanted that to be fully reflected in my debut, especially if it was going to be a formal introduction to who I am as an artist.
You re-released your song ‘I Hope’, featuring Charlie Puth. I understand that he approached you via Instagram after hearing the track, what made you want to include the male perspective on the song?
Honestly, he sent me back the remix and I had no idea he had re-written that verse! But hearing it, I loved the way it brought a whole new meaning and feel to the song. It also added even more of a pop-flare, which was exciting to me as someone who’s been a fan of Charlie’s for years. I felt it also made sense, because going through bad breakups and being cheated on not only happens to females but males as well, so it brought in that perspective.
So you rose to fame after coming third in American Idol in 2018. What’s your relationship to this title now and how have you developed as an artist since the show?
I’m so thankful for my time on Idol – there are so many wonderful things that came from it and always will be a highlight to look back on in my career. I’m proud to have been part of the show and think that it only continued my growth towards where I am today.
Your song ‘The Good Ones’ is about your husband who you met during American Idol. I know that he co-wrote ‘Got You’ but is there a singing collaboration between the two of you in the works at all?
Of course there’s been talk about it! I love getting to sing with him any chance I get. I guess you’ll just have to wait and see 😉
You’ve been compared to Carrie Underwood. What other country stars do you look up to?
I look up to Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Patsy Cline, you name it. I’m honored to be a female in Country music and am grateful for the foundation these women have laid for so many.
Tell me a little bit about your upbringing and your journey into music prior to American Idol.
I started singing when I was nine, started touring at 11, and by 2017 – when I got scouted by a producer to audition for American Idol – I already had played thousands of shows. My family (there are eight of us kids in total) gave so much of their time and energy to help make this dream come true for me today.
What’s coming up next for you?
Next up, my daughter is due! She’ll be here early 2021, so I’m preparing for her arrival with my husband, and we can’t wait to meet her. Later next year, hopefully I’ll have some more music, touring and things to share with everyone. I feel so blessed with where I am right now, and excited about what’s to come!