Despite finishing as the runner-up on American Idol this year, HunterGirl is still that girl playing shows for weekend crowds in her hometown of Winchester, Tenn. Her new song, “Hometown Out of Me,” is not only a love letter to the community that raised her, but also a promise.
“Coming out of the show and starting my career, I just want to tell everyone that I’m never gonna change,” she tells Taste of Country’s Adison Haager during an Instagram Live.
HunterGirl — whose real name is Hunter Wolkonowski — is in the midst of launching her country music career. It’s been a whirlwind year for the young artist, but she’s keeping her boots firmly planted in her roots. She hopes that message comes across clearly in “Hometown Out of Me.”
“I think for whoever’s listening … it gives them that memory of like, no matter where I go, my hometown is always gonna be a part of me,” she explains. “And for me, with everything that’s been going on with music and like how it just went from Z to A in months, I want them to know that I’m never gonna change. I’m still gonna be that girl that was playing in the square on Fridays, playing at the marina on Saturdays — just being that person because I want people to know that I love my community, I love my hometown, I love my family.”
It’s a message she plans on carrying out in her upcoming EP. Although HunterGirl didn’t reveal too many details about the project, she wants to not only honor her hometown, but she also wants to put it front and center.
“I wanna tell a story. I think that’s what I loved about country music whenever I was little, it’s what I love about it now. And I want every song to share a piece of my heart with somebody,” she shares.
That vulnerability is intimidating, though.
“Like, it’s scary when you write a song,” she confesses. “It’s like, the more honest you are, the better the song is, and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m being pretty honest right now.’ So I think this EP is gonna be complete honesty, and that’s just how I am anyway.”
“Hometown Out of Me” is a great launching pad for a career of authentic writing. Winchester not only inspired the song, but it also served as the backdrop to the music video. HunterGirl says they shot the entire clip in her old stomping grounds, including her high school.
“They did so much for me since I was younger, and then especially this year. They went all out, and so I just wanted to say thank you,” she shares. “It’s just been so cool seeing the response.”