What would you do or say if you ran into Dolly Parton?
Country music star Gabby Barrett experienced the dream-like scenario first-hand. On Monday, April 11, the hitmaker told People all about the encounter with the legend ahead of the 2022 CMT Music Awards on the red carpet.
The “I Hope” singer and Parton co-hosted the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas in early March, but they were strangers before they tackled the gig together. The 22-year-old singer told the publication that they first met during rehearsals before the ceremony. She described the first impression as “a little nerve-wracking.”
“I went up to her and was like, ’Hi,’” shared Barrett. “And she was like, ’Oh, it’s you!’ And I was like, ’Yeah, it’s me!’ and I gave her a hug,” she added.
The “American Idol” alum mentioned that she did not know how to go about the warm welcome and embrace.
“I didn’t know if I was squeezing her too hard or too loose,” she explained to the outlet. “You just get in your head when you meet a legend. But she was really nice.”
Although the chart-topping artist created a friendship with the icon, Barrett said that she still looks up to Parton as a role model.
“She’s still a legend to me right now,” she confirmed. “I’ll let you know if that changes.”
Barrett returned to the CMT stage Monday night to perform, “Pick Me Up.” The track lives on Barrett’s 2021 deluxe record “Goldmine,” but the ceremony was the first time she shared the anthem on national television.
Just before the performance, Barrett told People that she did not have a worry in the world. The vocalist credits her calm nerves to her supportive husband and guitarist, Cade Foehner.
“He’s my best friend in the world,” she gushed. “I think we work really well together musically. It’s wonderful. It’s like he’s my calm in the storm. There’ve been many times where I’ve gotten really nervous … and you just look to that person that feels like home to you, and it just kind of calms all of those nerves. I’m thankful for that because I don’t know how it would go otherwise.”
Country music’s biggest party aired live from Nashville on CBS and Paramount +. Fans who missed the star-studded affair could catch the CMT Music Awards Extended Cut on April 15 on CMT. The must-watch version will feature Barrett’s performance and consist of 30 additional minutes of extra never-before-seen content.