For the first time since Carrie Underwood ruled with her 2006 smash “Jesus, Take The Wheel,” a solo female country artist tops Billboard Hot Country Songs with a debut country radio single.
Indeed, Gabby Barrett’s “I Hope” rises to #1 on this week’s edition of the chart. The song had spent many weeks just below #1, as Maren Morris’ “The Bones” kept a 19-week grip on the top spot.
A former #1 at country radio, “I Hope” continues to receive recurrent airplay at the format. It is also rising at the pop and hot adult contemporary formats, airplay which counts toward placement on Hot Country Songs.
The chart also accounts for sales and streams; “I Hope” remains a stellar performer on those fronts as well.
That Barrett achieves something Underwood did early in her career is particularly noteworthy, given that both artists rose to fame on “American Idol.” Underwood won the fourth season, while Barrett took third place in the sixteenth season (and first on ABC).
Editor’s Note: From a technicality standpoint, a case could conceivably be made that Bebe Rexha also meets the criteria for this record. She is a solo female artist, and the record-breaking Hot Country Songs #1 “Meant To Be” was her first single promoted to the format. Her exclusion from this “record,” however, likely hinges on a few factors: she is not a core country artist, her hit was a collaboration with Florida Georgia Line, and she was already established in the overall marketplace prior to the release .
Of course, Barrett’s “I Hope” is benefiting from the Charlie Puth version (though Puth is not credited since Barrett’s version is still driving the lion’s share of activity). So there is definitely an opportunity to “go down the rabbit hole” with this discussion.
Ultimately, however, Billboard is standing behind the “not since Carrie Underwood” line for Barrett’s achievement.