Former American Idol star, Gabby Barrett, has topped Billboard’s Country Airplay Charts with her single, “I Hope”. The non-traditional breakup song with a touch of vengeance was written by Barrett, Zach Hale, and Jon Nite in 2018. After placing third on Idol, Barrett didn’t have the luxury of labels fighting over her. Instead she acknowledged that, “Okay, I’m going to have to stick my nose to the ground and just really focus on writing. Hopefully we get a really good song out of it.” Wow, did she hope right! Little did she know that she would be scoring her first number one shortly.
On her Instagram @gabbybarrett_ she posted a behind the scenes video of the moment that her manager called to tell her the news! After answering the call, her manager soon joined her Radio Promotions team on the line. Barrett was in disbelief upon hearing the news and naturally showered her team with appreciation and gratitude. Not to mention, she was looking beautiful and sporting a stylish leopard print face mask.
Barrett told Billboard, “I want to thank The Lord for His graciousness and kindness always. Thank you to country radio for embracing me; my husband and family; my label and management; my co-writers, who knew this song was special from the beginning; and [the song’s] producer, Ross Copperman. I am still in shock. I can’t wait for y’all to hear what’s next.”
“I Hope” is the first song to hit No. 1 by a woman since Carly Pearce’s “Every Little Thing” in 2017. Prior to that, Kelsea Ballerini peaked at No. 1 in 2015 with, “Love Me Like You Mean It.” 9 years before Ballerini, Carrie Underwood’s first single, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” hit No. 1 for a six-week stay in 2006. That is a 14 year span of only 4 women filling the coveted No. 1 spot on Country Radio. Currently in the Top 20, there are only 3 women. Gabby Barrett at No. 1 with “I Hope,” Ingrid Andress at No. 4 with “More Hearts Than Mine,” and Carrie Underwood at No. 13 with “Drinking Alone.”
There are many forces at play when it comes to the lack of women on Country Radio. At the most recent Country Radio Seminar (CRS), Damon Moberly, VP of Promotions at Mercury Nashville sat down to take his place at a panel about women in country music. He joked, “Doing the female panel. What could go wrong?” All jokes aside, it is common knowledge that male artists receive more spins on Country Radio. Rolling Stone reported on a 19 year study in which, “The artists with the most career spins have all been men- Underwood ranks at Number 11 and Miranda Lambert, who logs platinum albums and plays arenas, sits at Number 21 with less than 2 million career spins.” While we aren’t where we want to be yet, let’s keep this conversation happening. Continue calling into your local radio station and requesting your favorite women of country!
Barrett recently debuted a remix of “I Hope” featuring Charlie Puth. Stream that version here!