After ‘American Idol,’ HunterGirl Sets Her Sights On New Music and the Grand Ole Opry
After finishing American Idol Season 20 as the runner-up, HunterGirl is ready to hit the ground running with her music…
HunterGirl; Photo by ABC, American Idol
After finishing American Idol Season 20 as the runner-up, HunterGirl is ready to hit the ground running with her music career.
The Tennessee native recently sat down with TV Insider to reflect on her American Idol journey and share her plans for life after Idol. \
HunterGirl, who received the first-ever Platinum Ticket in American Idol history, admitted the competition was “probably the hardest thing” she’s ever done. The music therapist said there were times when she really doubted herself.
“Getting to have Luke there to cheer me on meant everything. I’ve looked up to him since I was a little girl,” she said of judge Luke Bryan’s unwavering support throughout the season.
She continued, “There were moments when you are down, worried, or scared. We’re learning songs on the fly with a band, then we’re on TV. I do remember [during Contestant’s Choice week] I was really nervous and scared about getting the songs right. It was just a lot. [For finale week] we were running on no sleep to get everything done. It has been a nerve-wracking experience. It was cool to get to this point because I didn’t think I would make it past the Nashville audition.”
HunterGirl also credits Idol alum and country superstar Carrie Underwood for helping her along the way.
“We had so many great mentors,” she said. “The one I was so excited and terrified to meet was Carrie Underwood. I’ve loved her for a long time and watched her on Idol. To see how far her career has gone made me think I could do this one day. She has shown so many little girls what was possible. She just told me to believe in myself. She said it was hard work, but you’ve got to keep pushing on. She gave me that confidence boost going into the final two weeks. She made me feel like I was good enough.”
With newfound confidence, HunterGirl is ready to embark on her career and has no plans to slow down.
“I want to put out new music. I want to go out on tour. I want to sing songs,” she said, adding, “I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me through this entire year. I want to hear my song on the radio. I would love to play the Opry one day. Doing all these things I’ve dreamed of my entire life.”
HunterGirl’s debut single, “Red Bird,” is out now.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.