Gabby Barrett (born March 5, 2000) is an American singer-songwriter from Munhall, Pennsylvania. She was the second runner-up on Season 16 of the American Idol singing competition television series broadcasted on ABC in 2018. Her debut single “I Hope” was certified Gold for half a million units in sales and streams on January 16, 2020; it was the first top 10 Hot Country Songs debut by an unaccompanied woman since October 2017. On April 6, 2020, “I Hope” was certified Platinum for a million units in sales and streams.
Early Life and Education
Barrett is one of eight children born to Blase and Pam Barrett. She attended Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport, PA, but transferred to Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.
She started singing at 9 and doing shows at 11. In 2014, she won the Kean Quest Talent Search. At 14, her father encouraged her to sing in an all-black choir, which prompted her to join the Lamb of God Christian Ministries in Homestead, PA.
Gabby has opened for Toby Keith in Ohio, as well as Keith Urban, Cole Swindell, and Daya. Along with performing at a Pittsburgh Pirates’ game, and sang the national anthem for the Pittsburgh Steelers and at the Daytona 500.
A country music fan, Barrett blends her soulful voice with a combination of R&B and country during her performances.
Her father has been there every step of the way and recalls when Smokey Robinson complimented Gabby’s performance after a singing competition win in 2014. “He personally told her she had everything it takes to be a superstar,” Blase Barrett says. “Nashville recording execs call her a ‘Country Adele.'”
On October 31, 2016, Gabby released a 6-song EP titled 16. A 2016 Journeys Shoes’ national ad campaign featured Gabby’s co-written song, “Young Blood”.
In 2017, she organized a Dreams Really Do Come True tour, visiting area Pittsburgh schools with an anti-bullying message and musical performances. She remains passionate about the cause.
2018: American Idol Season 16
In May 2018, 18-year-old Gabby climbed to success on the 16th season of American Idol on ABC, finishing as the second runner-up. Barrett’s YouTube channel caught the attention of the American Idol team; they reached out and invited her to audition in front of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. Speaking with Triblive, her father Blase Barrett said: “Gabby doesn’t have one ounce of nerves (performing for an audience) because she loves to perform in front of crowds. It is much harder for her to perform in front of the three judges (Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan).”
Gabby Barrett auditioned for the American Idol singing competition in Nashville, TN at the Country Music Hall of Fame on October 20, 2017. She sang “Good Girl” by Carrie Underwood for her audition. The judges then asked her to sing another song and she sang “His Eye Is On The Sparrow”.
Barrett had to keep the news under wraps for weeks, as she traveled for rounds of auditions, tapings and more. Her father and general manager, Blase Barrett, accompanied her for the show tapings. “Most of the time it was just me and her,” Blase Barrett says. “But we were able to finish the last two weeks with her brother and sister supporting her. That helped a lot so she wasn’t homesick.”
Though this season of the recently rebooted singing competition went by faster than most, Barrett says she still learned a lot about performing from the judges. Now, the Munhall native juggles TV appearances and concerts, along with her increasing fame. The biggest change for this Pittsburgh girl? She “can’t walk out in public wearing sweatpants and socks that don’t match.” Though fame may haunt and hurt some people, Barrett finds it encouraging. Seeing her face plastered everywhere for something she and her father — her biggest and most dedicated supporter — have been working toward for so long is a great relief to Barrett.
Gabby has spoken openly on the ABC competition series about the bullying she suffered in high school. She left school as a result and enrolled in online classes.
The song on the show selected for her if she won was “Rivers Deep”. Carrie Underwood says that Barrett is further along than she was at her age.
Songs Performed on American Idol
Audition in Nashville (October 20, 2017):
“Good Girl” by Carrie Underwood
“His Eye Is On The Sparrow” Gospel Hymn
“Domino” by Jessie J
“Church Bells” by Carrie Underwood
Top 24 Solos:
“My Church” by Maren Morris
Top 24 Celebrity Duets:
“Stay” with Sugarland
Top 14 (April 22, 2018):
“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus
Top 10 Reveal (April 23, 2018):
“Little Red Wagon” by Miranda Lambert
Top 10 – Disney Night (April 29, 2018):
“Colors of the Wind” by ‘Pocahontas’
“When You Wish Upon a Star” with Katy Perry and the Top 10
Top 7 – Prince/Birth Year Night (May 6, 2018):
“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack
“How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” by Prince
Top 5 – Carrie Underwood/Mothers’ Day Dedications (May 13, 2018):
“Last Name” by Carrie Underwood
“I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston
“See You Again” with Carrie Underwood and the Top 5
Top 3 – Winner’s Song/Reprise Song/Hometown Dedication (May 20, 2018):
“Rivers Deep” original song
“Little Red Wagon” by Miranda Lambert
“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
Finale – Winner Chosen (May 21, 2018):
“All Night Long” with Lionel Richie and the Top 10
“Most People Are Good” with Luke Bryan
“Meant To Be” with Bebe Rexha and the Top 3
2019-2022: The Fireflies, “I Hope,” and Goldmine
After Barrett appeared on American Idol, she collaborated with songwriter and producer Allen Foster to write three songs on her extended play The Fireflies: “Fireflies”, “Your Name On It”, and “Missin’ Love.”
In 2019, Barrett independently released “I Hope,” which was co-written by Jon Nite and Zachary Kale and co-produced by Zachary Kale and Ross Copperman. She performed the song in an appearance on the 17th season of American Idol in May 2019. The song attracted the attention of music labels, and Barrett announced on stage after the performance she had signed with Warner Music Nashville. “I Hope” was then officially released as a single by the label on June 27, 2019. The single topped Billboard’s Country Streaming Songs chart as well as the Country Airplay chart in April 2020, followed by the Hot Country Songs chart. On April 7, 2020, a version featuring Charlie Puth was released. In 2019, Barrett opened for Toby Keith in Ohio, as well as Keith Urban.
On November 21, 2020, the single hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first female country artist to do so since Taylor Swift. Puth has also been credited for the song on the Hot 100, which makes it his fourth top-ten single. As of January 2021, the single has been number one for 25 weeks on the Hot Country Songs chart.
Her debut album Goldmine was released on June 19, 2020. The album earned 15.98 million on-demand streams in its opening week, breaking the record for the largest streaming week ever for a debut country album by a woman. In 2021, Barrett opened up for Thomas Rhett on his Center Point Road Tour, and for the Zac Brown Band at Summerfest as part of The Comeback Tour.
In September 2021, Barrett was nominated for four 55th Annual Country Music Association Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year (“The Good Ones”), Song of the Year (“The Good Ones”), and New Artist of the Year.
On October 26, 2021, Barrett announced a deluxe edition of Goldmine was to be released on November 19, 2021.
Gabby Barrett won the 2014 Kean Quest Talent Search title, impressing the judges with her rendition of “Mercy.” She was accompanied on the guitar by Jason Novak and won a recording package with Grammy award-winning studio Audible Images. At the time of the competition, Gabby was an eighth-grade student at St. Teresa’s and received the Audience Choice award in the semi-final round of the competition. Her performance in the finale, on April 11, 2014, received the top combined score of the four judges out of the 29 contestants performing during the Youth Finals.
She also won the 2014 First Night Sing-Off competition which was judged by Motown legend, Smokey Robinson. Her victory also won her an interview on KDKA’s “The Today Show,” and a spotlight performance at the Benedum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on New Year’s Eve.
When referring to Gabby’s passion for performing her music, Smokey was quoted as saying, “This girl has what it takes to be a superstar!” The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review described her as “A voice you must hear!”
Gabby has been able to use her gifts and talents to support nonprofits such as Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Camp Star (Youth Amputee Camp), and Saint Jude.
She has also traveled around the country to perform at numerous high schools, universities and community colleges to bring more awareness and talk candidly about the importance of anti-bullying campaigns.
She continues to visit cancer patients as often as possible, sharing her time by bringing joy and hope through her music, wherever she goes.
Gabby Barrett and fellow American Idol contestant Cade Foehner announced their engagement on March 22, 2019. They officially started dating on March 28, 2018, soon after meeting on the show.
On Saturday, October 5, 2019, Cade and Gabby tied the knot at Union Springs Wedding and Event Venue in Garrison, Texas. Jeremy Vuolo from ‘Counting On’ officiated.
On January 18, 2021, Gabby gave birth to their first child, a daughter, named Baylah May Virginia Foehner. On October 27, 2022, she gave birth to their second child, a son, named Augustine Boone Foehner.
Studio Album: Goldmine
Goldmine is the debut album from American country music singer Gabby Barrett. It was released on June 19, 2020, through Warner Music Nashville. It was supported by the singles “I Hope,” “The Good Ones,” and “Footprints On The Moon.” Goldmine debuted at number four on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, earning 20,000 equivalent album units. The album garnered 15.98 million on-demand streams in its opening week, breaking the record for the largest streaming week ever for a debut country album by a woman. Upon its release, global first day streams of the album on Amazon Music surpassed those for any previous debut country album on the platform.
Gabby had begun writing songs for the album in 2018 and 2019, with the lead single “I Hope” having been written in late 2018. Pop singer Charlie Puth, after hearing the song, contacted Barrett on Instagram and offered to remix it with his own vocals. “I Hope” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart dated April 25, 2020, and also topped the Billboard Country Streaming Songs chart, which made Barrett the first woman to score a No. 1 on that chart with her debut single. The song became a crossover hit after reaching the summit of the Billboard Country Airplay, Adult Pop Songs, and all-format Radio Songs charts.
Ross Copperman and Zach Kale produced the entire album, with assistance on some tracks from Jimmy Robbins, Sam Martin, and Bryan Fowler. Gabby had a hand in writing all but one of the tracks, with assistance from Zach Kale, Jon Nite, Ross Copperman, Emily Landis, Nicolle Galyon, Jimmy Robbins, Josh Osborne, Josh Kear, Liz Rose, Caitlyn Smith, Jim McCormick, Marti Dodson, Cliff Downs, Trannie Anderson, Adam Doleac, Shane Barnard, Cade Foehner, Bryan Fowler, Joe Clemmons, and Emily Weisband.
Studio Album: Goldmine (Deluxe)
First striking GOLD with her history-making debut album Goldmine, Warner Music Nashville’s Multi-Platinum star Gabby Barrett released her extended version, Goldmine (Deluxe), on November 19, 2021. With 15 songwriting credits to her name and co-produced by GRAMMY-nominee Ross Copperman and Zach Kale, plus additional production by Jimmy Robbins, Sam Martin, and Bryan Fowler on select songs, Goldmine (Deluxe) also includes “Pick Me Up,” a cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” – previously released as an exclusive Amazon Original – and “The Good Ones (Wedding Version).” Barrett was inspired to record the latter due to an overwhelming demand by her fans for a stripped-down rendition for weddings. The extended album also includes her chart-topping hits “I Hope,” “The Good Ones,” “Footprints on the Moon,” and Pop crossover “I Hope” featuring Charlie Puth.Go Back