LISTEN: ‘American Idol’s’ Huntergirl Shares Deeply Personal Debut Single, ‘Red Bird’

American Idol Top 5 contestant Huntergirl just released her debut single, “Red Bird,” and it’s a beautiful ballad reminding listeners…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 13, 2022


8:42 am

Share on:

Huntergirl; Photo via Facebook

American Idol Top 5 contestant Huntergirl just released her debut single, “Red Bird,” and it’s a beautiful ballad reminding listeners that they’re never alone. 

Co-written by Huntergirl (Hunter Wolkonowski) alongside Austin Goodloe and Matt McKinney, “Red Bird” brings the age-old belief that seeing a cardinal means that a loved one is visiting you from Heaven to life. Throughout the lyrics, Huntergirl begs for a red bird to appear to help her get through the tough times.

“My momma told me when I was a kid/ When a red bird flies close your eyes/ Makes a wish here it is / Right around the time my faith went missing/ I was praying for angel but the wings looked different / God if you’re listening could you send me one on down,” she sings on the chorus of the Jimmy Robins-produced track. 

The song is very personal to the American Idol contestant, who admits she was teared up when writing the song. 

YouTube video

“When I was a little girl my family always told me ‘when you see a red bird, it is a sign from Heaven that a family member is looking after you,’” Huntergirl explains. “Cardinals have been a big sign in my life and really important to my family. Red Bird is a song that I wrote from my heart with Matt and Austin. I cried in the writing room with this song. I want people to know that we are never alone and the ones we love are always watching over us. Sometimes you just need a red bird.” 

From the moment American Idol viewers first met Huntergirl, it was clear that she was going to go far in the competition. From her undeniable country vocals to her charming personality, Huntergirl has everything it takes to become the next American Idol.

After she auditioned with a cover of Rascal Flatts’ “Riot,” Huntergirl was deemed a “new age Miranda Lambert” by Luke Bryan.

“It’s my fifth year doing this and that is my favorite female country voice I’ve heard in five years,” Bryan gushed following her audition. 

Huntergirl was the first-ever contestant to earn the coveted Platinum ticket when she had the opportunity to perform at Luke Bryan’s 32 Bridge in Downtown Nashville. 

Huntergirl; Photo by Eric McCandless, American Idol 15
Huntergirl; Photo by Eric McCandless, American Idol

After taking the stage to perform Lambert’s “Bluebird,” Huntergirl received the surprise of a lifetime when the judges awarded her with a platinum ticket. 

“This not only means you get to go to Hollywood, but you get to relax for one day, rest your voice and size up the competition and figure out how to become the next American Idol,” Katy Perry explained. 

Throughout the season, the Platinum ticket recipient covered songs like Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” Ashley McBryde’s “Girl Goin’ Nowhere,” Rascal Flatts’ “Banjo” and Miranda Lambert’s “Vice.”

Huntergirl; Photo by American Idol, ABC
Huntergirl; Photo by American Idol, ABC

For her Top 20 performance, Huntergirl impressed the judges and viewers alike with an original track called “Heartbreak Down,” which is featured on her recently released EP, One Day.

With America continuing to vote her through the competition, Huntergirl later performed Sugarland’s “Baby Girl” as a dedication to her parents and proved her showmanship with a rousing rendition of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”

Huntergirl; Photo Courtesy American Idol
Huntergirl; Photo Courtesy American Idol

She recently performed the viral TikTok hit, “You Broke Me First” by Tate McRae, and honored her mother with a performance of Lauren Alaina’s “Like My Mother Does.” 

Huntergirl and her fellow Top 5 will return to the American Idol stage on Sunday (May 15) to perform their debut singles. They will also receive advice from American Idol alum and eight-time GRAMMY winner, Carrie Underwood. 

American Idol airs on ABC Sundays at 8/7c. 

Share on:

Lauren Jo Black

Written by

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 and her work being featured on 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.