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Gabby Barrett's 'I Hope' Tops Country Airplay, As Women Hit a 24-Year High On Hot Country Songs

Gabby Barrett
Robby Klein

Gabby Barrett

Barrett scores first debut No. 1 on Country Airplay by a solo woman since Carly Pearce in 2017.

Gabby Barrett's debut hit "I Hope" ascends 2-1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart dated April 25, up 8% to 35.9 million audience impressions in the week ending April 19, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

The song, which Barrett co-wrote with Zachary Kale and Jon Nite, marks the first career-opening No. 1 by a woman since Carly Pearce's "Every Little Thing," which led the list dated Nov. 25, 2017. Before that, Kelsea Ballerini's "Love Me Like You Mean It" topped the July 4, 2015-dated chart, marking the first such No. 1 since Carrie Underwood's first single officially promoted to country radio, "Jesus, Take the Wheel," began a six-week reign on Jan. 21, 2006.

"When we wrote 'I Hope' on Halloween 2018, I never could have imagined the journey it would take me on; it has truly changed my life," Barrett, who is also this month's Chartbreaker, tells Billboard. "I want to thank The Lord for His graciousness and kindness always. Thank you to country radio for embracing me; my husband and family; my label and management; my co-writers, who knew this song was special from the beginning; and [the song's] producer, Ross Copperman. I am still in shock. I can't wait for y'all to hear what's next."

The track by Barrett, the 2018 third-place American Idol finalist, holds at its No. 2 high on the airplay-, streaming- and sales-based Hot Country Songs chart, up 1% to 10.2 million U.S. streams, as it leads Country Streaming Songs for a third week, and 20% to 7,000 sold in the week ending April 16.

Meanwhile, the Hot Country Songs top three is populated by female acts for a second consecutive week for the first time since 2000. For three female soloists, it marks the first such triple since 1996.

Maren Morris' crossover hit "The Bones" rules Hot Country Songs for a seventh week, after topping Country Airplay for two weeks in February, and Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani's "Nobody but You"  keeps at its No. 3 high, powered by its 8% hike to 34.9 million in radio reach as it lifts 3-2 on Country Airplay. It also drew 8.3 million U.S. streams (up 26%) and sold 12,000 (up 15%).

Women last inhabited the top three on Hot Country Songs for two straight weeks on the charts dated Jan. 15 and 22, 2000 (when the list was driven solely by airplay, before its switch to its current multi-metric methodology in 2012). In both those frames, Faith Hill's "Breathe" ranked at No. 1, followed by Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away" at No. 2 and Reba McEntire's "What Do You Say" at No. 3.

Until this week, three female soloists last placed in the Hot Country Songs top three for two consecutive weeks on the charts dated Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, 1996. In the first of those weeks, Hill's "It Matters to Me" led, ahead of Shania Twain's "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!" at No. 2 and Terri Clark's "When Boy Meets Girl" at No. 3. The following week, Twain's song dethroned Hill's, while Clark's repeated at No. 3.

TOP 10 COLLABS Carly Pearce and Lee Brice's "I Hope You're Happy Now" reaches the top 10 on both Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs. It bumps 11-9 on the former, up 7% to 22.1 million impressions, and 12-8 on the latter, thanks also to a 6% gain to 7 million streams and a 14% lift to 3,000 sold. Pearce adds her second top 10 on both charts, while Brice scores his 10th top 10 on Country Airplay and eighth on Hot Country Songs.

Thomas Rhett's "Beer Can't Fix It," featuring Jon Pardi rises 13-9 on Hot Country Songs. It holds at No. 6 on Country Airplay (28.4 million, up 5%), while also sporting 4.8 million streams and 3,000 sold. The track marks Rhett's 15th Hot Country Songs top 10 and Pardi's seventh.

Plus, Luke Combs' "Does to Me," featuring Eric Church climbs 11-10 on Hot Country Songs. It steps 8-7 on Country Airplay, rising by 9% to 27 million in audience, while also boasting 4.4 million streams and 4,000 sold. Combs collects his eighth Hot Country Songs top 10 and Church achieves his 17th.

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