ACM Awards: Gabby Barrett performs breakout hit single, 'I Hope'

by 24USATVSept. 17, 2020, 3 a.m. 22
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"I Hope" — the self-described "monster" debut single from fast-rising country singer Gabby Barrett — roared Wednesday night at the annual ACM Awards.

The 20-year-old "American Idol" alum — who Dolly Parton described earlier this month as "hard working, humble and kind" — performed the song at the Ryman Auditorium, one of three venues hosting this year's rescheduled awards program.

In co-writing "I Hope," she enlisted Zachary Kale and Jon Nite; Barrett doesn’t have the “natural gift” of walking in with a hit song, she told The Tennessean earlier this year, but nonetheless found her voice alongside a collective of Music City writers.

The song — which Barrett independently released before inking a deal with Warner Music Nashville — deceivingly builds a good-for-you love story, only for Barrett to deliver six words that’d be echoed as a rallying cry for unhealed heartbreak: “And then I hope she cheats.”

GABBY BARRETT:On the path from 'American Idol' to country fame: 'It doesn't feel real'

The chorus sings, “I hope she comes along and wrecks every one of your plans/ I hope you spend your last dime to put a rock on her hand/ I hope she's wilder than your wildest dreams/ She's everything you're ever gonna need/ And then I hope she cheats/ Like you did on me.”

Warner Music Nashville shipped “I Hope” to radio last year, where it pushed up the Billboard Country Airplay chart until reaching No. 1 in April.

“I don’t feel like that comes for everybody, where you get this monster song on your first try,” Barrett told The Tennessean this summer. “It’s absolutely crazy.”

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And listeners this summer continued to flock to Barrett’s unapologetic “I Hope" in record-breaking numbers. In late May, it became the first song by a female country artist to earn more than 10 million on-demand streams in a week. As of last week, the track remained atop Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.

“I Hope” works because it’s “relatable to every single person on the planet,” Barrett said.

“The way that the song was formulated catches people off-guard a little bit and makes you want to listen to it more,” Barrett said. “You’re thinking maybe it’ll be a hopeful song, how the music goes and the melody goes, it drags you in to keep listening to it. And then his power chord hits, it’s this immense left turn at the end of the chorus. Like, ‘Goodness, I wasn’t expecting that.’ ”

ACM AWARDS:How the show came to Nashville for the first time ever

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