You can take HunterGirl out of her hometown, but you can never really take HunterGirl’s hometown out of her.
When the up-and-coming country star returned to her hometown of Winchester, Tenn. after her time on American Idol came to a successful end, she found a tremendous amount of support waiting for her. Seeing all this love inspired her to show her gratitude towards those in her community in the best way she knows how: through songwriting. The result is her newest song, “Hometown Out Of Me.”
Since the show wrapped, the Season 20 runner-up has crossed several items off her bucket list including her recent accomplishment of signing with 19 Recordings/BMG, and releasing “Hometown Out Of Me” as her label debut.
Sitting down with Country Now during the second stop on her co-headlining tour with Idol winner, Noah Thompson, HunterGirl discussed this new chapter of her career and the moment that moved her to write her latest track with songstress, Laura Veltz.
“I love being an artist, but I feel like writing is where I get to tell everything about myself. I think the more honest and real that I am, the easier the song translates, for sure. Whenever I was back home, I was with my mom, I’d only been back from the show maybe two days, and I walked in the food line, the store near my house, I looked over and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s my face.’ It was me on the newspaper and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh. It’s my hometown congratulating me.’ They bought ads in the entire newspaper. It was so cool.”
She added, “I’m trying not to cry and my momma is like, my momma’s country really country, and she’s just going, “your nana’s getting one, your aunt’s getting one, your cousin’s getting one.’ I’m laughing and we take ’em home and I went back literally on Monday. This was one of the first songs that I wrote. I wanted a thank you card to my hometown for my first song.”
HunterGirl puts forth her twangy vocals as she shows off her bona fide songwriting skills in the smooth yet high-spirited track.
“I’m never gonna not think / Heaven’s at the end of daddy’s little gravel road / I’m never gonna not be / The same old same me / Everybody back there knows / An apple’s still an apple when it’s nowhere near the tree / You can take me out of my hometown / But you can’t take my hometown out of me,” she sings in the touching chorus as she holds a firm grasp on her roots.
Along with the new song, the Tennessee native also dropped a visualizer that opens with footage she captured during her Idol Homecoming celebration. Then, the camera flips to HunterGirl singing in front of several locations in her hometown including a mural painted in her honor and a local theater with her name written on it. The rest of the project featured old video clips that followed her musical journey throughout the years, leading up to the full circle moment of getting to return to the same town in the heat of her rising career.
“Whenever we were filming the visualizer, people were stopping in the square, we had all the cars that like locked in the square and everybody’s like, ‘Hunter.’ And I was like, ‘What’s up buddy?’” she said in reference to seeing all her new fans. “It’s been awesome.”
“Hometown Out Of Me” follows her previous releases this year, “Red Bird,” an original song that hit No. 1 on iTunes All Genre and Country charts, and her five-track EP, One Day. HunterGirl also revealed that she has plenty of new music in the works.
HunterGirl has been performing since she was 3 years old and writing since she was 9. All the hard work she has put in over the years, performing at venues across the United States and singing in competitions has led up to this past year, which has changed everything for her. People now stop her on the street and ask for a photo, they eagerly await her new music to drop, and she has become a force to be reckoned with in the country music industry.
“I think I’m just really thankful. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a little girl,” She told Country Now. “I say that so many times just because I think of like little Hunter, almost like, oh my gosh, she would die right now because people are singing her song back to.”
“I’m just extremely thankful for this year. I think all the years playing music to empty bar stools and getting to come to a full house tonight, it just changed my life,” she continued.
Her new release comes just in time for the launch of her tour with Thompson. This trek kicked off Thursday, October 27 in Columbus, Ohio and is slated to continue through December 2, where they will wrap up in St Louis, MO at The Hawthorn.
Since spending so much time together in the grueling Idol competition, Thompson and HunterGirl have quickly become great friends. They decided to combine their talents for this trek, bringing former Idol contestants, Grace Leer and Laci Kaye Booth on the road with them as special guests on select dates.
During her hour-long set in Illinois, HunterGirl brought her high-energy and infectious spirit to the stage, earning cheers and words of affirmation from the full crowd. She kicked off the night with an unreleased song followed by her fan-favorite, “Houdini,” and her latest release, “Hometown Out Of Me.” Of course, HunterGirl made sure to play the first original song she ever got to perform on TV, “Heartbreak Down,” along with several more unreleased tracks before ending with her emotional song, “Red Bird.”
HunterGirl and Thompson ended the show with a highly requested encore. They surprised fans by returning to the stage together to jam out to their countrified version of “Kryptonite.”
Their next stop on the tour will take place Nov. 4 in Marion, IL.