Gabby Barrett on Motherhood, Breakout Year and Taking Her Baby on the Road (Exclusive)

a woman standing in front of a window

The 21-year-old country singer is a nine-time nominee and the female artist with the most nods, including top new artist, at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards. She’s also a first-time mom, welcoming her first child with husband Cade Foehner in January.

“It’s overwhelming but in the best way,” she tells ET’s Lauren Zima of her whirlwind year full of success, ahead of the awards show. “This is one of those things where it’s hard to put into words because it doesn’t really feel real. When you work for so long towards something and it actually happens it’s hard for me to switch gears because I’ve just been in the mode of trying to get to these places, getting on the award, and getting number one songs. Now that you’re actually at the pit stop, ‘We’re here, we’re making a stop.’ It’s like ‘Whoa!’ It’s really cool.”

Barrett hit the ground running after finishing third on American Idol‘s season 16 in 2018. In October 2019, she and Foehner, who also competed on Idol, got married. They welcomed their daughter, Baylah, on January 18, of this year.