Editor’s Note: In celebration of Women’s History Month, You Sing I Write is highlighting female country artists and songwriters throughout March.
Gabby Barrett’s debut single “I Hope” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart last April. On the publication’s Hot Country Songs Chart, “I Hope” continues its reign, charting for 98 weeks and earning the top spot for 27 weeks.
The singer’s second single “The Good Ones,” currently Top 5 at country radio, is poised to do the same. I spoke with Barrett last summer for Forbes ahead of the release of her her debut album Goldmine. Below is an excerpt of our chat.
In 2020, Barrett made history as “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 May 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 tells me. “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 has been introduced to a new audience thanks to the help of Charlie Puth. Last 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.”
Album highlights include heartfelt 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.”
For more of my interview with Gabby Barrett, visit Forbes.