Two weeks before Hunter Wolkonowski auditioned for season 20 of “American Idol,” the country singer was feeling so discouraged about her music career that she tearfully wrote a vulnerable, deeply personal ballad to build herself back up. She tucked “Ain’t About You” away, never playing it for anyone because it felt so raw — but less than two years later, that song is now her latest single.
Wolkonowski auditioned for “Idol” under her stage name, HunterGirl, after spending several years pounding the pavement in Nashville, performing in local venues and doing music therapy with military veterans, hoping to catch a break.
Not only did the judges love her, but so did America. HunterGirl sailed through the competition, placing second behind winner Noah Thompson in May 2022, and landing her own record deal with BBR Music, the label that “Idol” winners typically receive a record deal with.
According to a release from BBR, HunterGirl eventually got enough courage to pull out that old song, “Ain’t About You,” and play it for Thompson and season 19 “American Idol” winner Chayce Beckham at a BBQ. They both loved it so much, they insisted she had to share it with the world. But it still took some time for HunterGirl to muster up enough courage to record the tune, which was finally released as her latest single on August 11, 2023.
HunterGirl Nervously Shared New Song on Social Media in July
After hemming and hawing about recording and releasing “Ain’t About You,” HunterGirl let her Instagram fans know she was thinking of sharing a vulnerable tune with them.
“I’m writing this because I want to share a really personal song with y’all,” she wrote on July 18. “I call this song my 45 minute conversation with Jesus. This song kept me in Nashville two years ago, and little did I know a few weeks later everything would change.”
After her followers begged her to share some it, HunterGirl uploaded a video the next day of herself playing an acoustic guitar while singing the first verse, clearly nervous to do so.
“I’m gonna have a hard time playing it, but I’m just gonna do it,” she said and then, laughing, added, “I wrote this song by myself once again, so if it sucks it’s my fault. Blame me!”
Sitting on a windowsill overlooking Nashville, she sang, “If you give up, if you give in, you should know you’re not the only one who’s losing. What if there’s a little girl who needs a song telling her she’s beautiful when the world tells her she’s wrong?”
Fans and friends flooded HunterGirl’s post with praise, imploring her to record and release the tune. On July 31, she posted a video taken in a recording studio of HunterGirl tearing up as she heard the fully-produced song for the first time.
“I’m just being completely honest and personal,” she told Hollywood Life about the song. “I honestly didn’t show anybody the song until six or seven months ago. But I’m working on a project right now and thinking about the songs I wanted to be on it, and this song just means so much to me. It might be the first song I’ve ever released that I wrote 100 percent of.”
HunterGirl Says She’s Amazed How Much Her Life Has Changed
When HunterGirl looks back on how downtrodden she felt at the time she wrote “Ain’t About You,” watching multiple friends have great success in the music industry while she floundered, she can’t believe how much her life has changed since writing the song.
“It’s so wild thinking about the moment I wrote this song and thinking about leaving (Nashville), and then my life changing a week later,” she told Hollywood Life. “It just shows that you have to just give it another day and tomorrow everything could work out.”
HunterGirl told the outlet she hopes the message will reach anyone who needs to hear it.
“I think about all the little girls and social media and all the things constantly in our heads and I’m just putting a voice to it,” she said. “I just want people to feel like they’re not alone and it’s okay and to just keep going.”
HunterGirl also said she’s actively working on releasing a set of songs she’s written since her “Idol” journey.
“Right now, I’m putting together songs, getting ready for a project hopefully sometime soon,” she revealed. “It’s just songs that I’m really proud of that are really me as an artist. There’s a few that I know are going to be on there, but I’m still putting it together. I’m really excited for fans to hear my story from the past year.”