From ‘American Idol’ to “I Hope,” why Gabby Barrett’s dad was just fine with her skipping college

Gabby Barrett may’ve finished third on American Idol in 2018, but it looks like she’ll soon be number one on the country chart with her debut single, “I Hope.” 

While it might be tempting to think of the 20-year-old as an overnight success, the Pennsylvania native actually put in years of work prior to her run on Idol. 

“It definitely did prepare me a lot,” she tells ABC Audio, “but I think what actually prepared me the most was I performed six years before Idol. And so I’d been performing since I was eleven years old, vigorously, like in grocery stores and so everywhere that I possibly could.”

“But being on Idol just was the most wonderful thing because it boosted that platform for more people to see,” she adds. “And I’m very grateful for it.”

The other key ingredient to Gabby’s success is her family.

“I did my first show when I was eleven,” she recalls, “and I was very fortunate to have a dad that was very supportive of everything. And I’m one of eight kids, and so there’s quite a lot, and I didn’t come from a wealthy family or anything like that.”

“So I’m very grateful that he was always so supportive,” Gabby continues. “And we were always on the same page of like, ‘You’re not going to college. Like, this is plan A, B and C, and we’re gonna make something of it."”

“And we’re here, so!” she smiles.

Gabby’s nominated for New Female Artist of the Year at the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards this fall. 

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