After finishing second during the Season 20 finale of American Idol, HunterGirl made her way to New York City to perform her debut single “Red Bird,” discuss her Idol journey as well as chat about working with country superstar and Season 4 Idol winner Carrie Underwood during Thursday’s (May 26) episode of Live With Kelly & Ryan.
The Tennessee native first revealed that she still “can’t believe” the outcome of the competition as she never expected to make it into the finale.
“If you had told me a year ago that I’d be sitting here talking to y’all – you know, I would have told you, you were about crazy,” HunterGirl admitted. “Whenever I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to sing. I sing all the time, grew up singing in my grandpa’s church. But yeah, I always wanted to do this and so I was trying to do whatever I had to – working hard to make it happen.”
HunterGirl Admits She Was “Freaking Out” When She Met Carrie Underwood
The American Idol runner-up then continued to share that she starstruck when she got to meet and be mentored by eight-time GRAMMY winner Carrie Underwood, when she joined the show to mentor the Top 5 from her Las Vegas Residency in Sin City.
“Oh my gosh, I lost my mind,” she shared of her experience with Underwood. “I remember walking in – I walked in and I just looked at her and I was like every word to your song… I just forgot it because I’m freaking out right now because I was like I was having to sing for her!”
She continued to share that while she may’ve been just a little girl when Underwood was named the American Idol 17 years ago, she did watch her on TV and always has aspired to be like her one day.
“I was little I know I was young, but just watching her on TV, you know, it made me think like, you know, maybe I could do that someday,” HunterGirl, who previously labeled Underwood an inspiration, added.
HunterGirl Also Performed “Red Bird” On Live With Kelly & Ryan
In addition to discussing her Idol journey and working with Carrie Underwood, HunterGirl also performed her deeply personal debut single, “Red Bird,” after she told hosts Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa all about the tune.
“It’s a really personal song for me,” HunterGirl shared before telling the story behind the track. “Growing up, my mom always said that whenever you see a red bird it’s a sign that somebody’s watching over you.”
“So, whenever I was going back home to watch the first episode of American Idol, I was freaking out, I was scared, I was like ‘I don’t think anybody’s gonna like me, I don’t think I’m gonna sound good,’ and I was driving back home and I started praying and I was like ‘hey I know that you know everything’s gonna be okay God, but could you just let me know?’ And a red bird flew in front of my car,” HunterGirl explained. “So, I was just, like, started crying – because I cry all the time – and then I got back to Nashville and wrote that song. So, full-circle moment.”
Watch HunterGirl’s performance of “Red Bird” on Live With Kelly & Ryan below.
“Red Bird” currently sits atop the iTunes All-Genre chart in the No. 1 spot.
“Thank y’all so much for all the love on this song ❤️ someone just sent me this photo and I am blown away. You guys are incredible!! #1 All Genre!! ✨LOVE YOU GUYS!” HunterGirl wrote on Instagram upon hearing the news.
What Is HunterGirl’s Song “Red Bird” About & Who Wrote The Song?
Co-written by HunterGirl (Hunter Wolkonowski) alongside Austin Goodloe and Matt McKinney and produced by Jimmy Robbins, “Red Bird” finds HunterGirl begging for a visit from a red bird to help her through tough times. The track brings to life the superstition that if you see a cardinal, one of your loved ones in Heaven are paying you a visit to let you know that they are watching over you and that you are not alone.
“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 an angel, but the wings looked different / God if you’re listening could you send me one on down,” HunterGirl sings on the chorus.
The Middle Tennessee State University alum revealed that she cried while co-writing the song as the message behind the tune means so much to her.
“Red birds have been a big sign in my life since I was a little girl,” HunterGirl previously explained. “There is a saying that states, ‘When a cardinal appears around you, it is one of your family members in Heaven coming down to visit you.’ My mom also told me when I was younger that if I made a wish on a red bird, when it flies my wish will come true.” She continued, “This is a song that is from my heart. I hope that this song can help someone like it helped me when I wrote it.”