Gabby Barrett has spent the past decade honing her talent on and off the stage, and now the singer-songwriter has released her debut album Goldmine via Warner Music Nashville. Barrett, 20, who placed third during the 2018 season of American Idol, grew up singing in church. By the time she was 11 she was performing constantly.
Barrett often missed high school engagements like dances and graduation while grinding away at music. It made high school difficult for her, with unsupportive students and teachers who didn’t understand her passion for music. The singer channels these emotions into her music, specifically on the hopeful “Thank God” where she sings of her early career “trying to knock down slamming doors” and the uplifting “Footprints on the Moon” where she admits, “some days you’ll want to give up but hang on.”
“I had a wonderfully supportive family to fall back on who also encouraged me to use anything that was mean said about me as fuel and fire to the goal of this career, which is to make music and to hopefully get number one songs one day and be able to make an album,” Barrett tells me. “With ‘Footprints on the Moon,’ I definitely wanted to include a song on this album that was encouraging to other people that may be going through that. Anybody coming up in the music industry that wants to do music or even have a large dream in general, people laugh at you until you actually get there. I want people to keep going and to continue to work hard because it’ll pay off eventually.”
Barrett is seeing those years of hard work pay off dramatically. In April, the singer-songwriter’s debut single “I Hope” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. Additionally, “I Hope” became the first debut single by a woman to top Billboard’s Country Streaming chart since the chart’s April 2013 inception. “I Hope” continued to break records last month when it became the first song by a female country artist to garner more than 10 million on-demand streams in one week. At a time when female artists are struggling at country radio, Barrett is breaking through.
“I cannot believe what this song has done,” Barrett marvels. “As a songwriter writing songs, even if you think that they’re good, you never know how others are going to perceive the song. I feel very blessed and very grateful because there’s so many wonderful things happening in my life, especially the past two years. The record that it recently broke was that it went over 11.3 million streams in one week. I was the first ever female to do that which is crazy to me.
“I grew up with some great women on the radio and great songs. I think that there’s room for both boys and girls,” the ACM Awards New Female Artist of the Year nominee adds. “I’m just glad to be making country music in this generation right now and I’m thankful that everybody’s been very supportive towards me.”
While “I Hope” has seen success at country radio, the song is being introduced to a new audience thanks to the help of Charlie Puth. Earlier this year, Barrett noticed that the pop singer shared the song on his Instagram Stories saying it was “amazing.” When Barrett reached out to thank Puth, he asked if he could remix the song.
“I thought he would do it and make it into a club remix type of thing,” Barrett says of Puth’s version, also included on the album. “He ended up sending me a version with vocals on it three days later and he was singing on the second verse. Our teams got together, and now we have a new version of the song that’ll reach an even broader audience.”
While Goldmine blends Barrett’s country and pop influences, it also showcases her Christian and R&B roots singing in church. The inspiring “Got Me” features Barrett’s favorite Christian act, Shane & Shane. Barrett penned the song herself with husband Cade Foehner, Shane & Shane’s Shane Barnard, Zach Kale, and Bryan Fowler. “That’s such a good song to send out right now to people that need some hope in their lives with everything going on,” she says of the current coronavirus pandemic.
Album highlights include heartfelt new single “The Good Ones” — an ode to Barrett’s husband, the clever pop tune “Rose Needs a Jack” inspired by the main characters in James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic, and the swampy “Jesus and My Mama.” Throughout the 13 tracks — 12 of which Barrett co-wrote — Goldmine highlights the singer-songwriter’s wide-ranging influences and she hopes the listener finds her music relatable.
“You can’t redo your debut album, so I wanted to make sure this album was very me,” Barrett says. “It has a large variety of music: you get a little bit of pop, some country, R&B, a Christian song. It shows people that I grew up being influenced by all of these different types of music and they’ve made me the person I am today. I wanted it to be something that I’d be proud of looking back on and I think I will be.”