Gabby Barrett’s dream came true this week when her debut single, “I Hope,” finally topped the country charts. But why stop at that?

The 20-year-old torch singer is also celebrating a beyond-her-wildest-dreams moment with a surprise collaboration with one of her pop idols, Charlie Puth — and it was all Puth’s idea.

The new version of “I Hope,” with Puth taking a revised second verse and lending his vocals to the intro, bridge and chorus, grew out of the 28-year-old pop star’s love for the song. He told the world as much in an Instagram Story a few weeks ago that floored Barrett.

“He captioned it and put ‘wow’ when he tagged me,” Barrett tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I still can’t believe it. When you release music, you don’t ever think that these big stars are gonna hear it.”

RELATED: Gabby Barrett Credits Carrie Underwood with Crucial Help: ‘She Gave Me a Lot of Great Advice’

Barrett confesses she let out a squeal when she saw the Instagram Story. Of course, the next thing she did was take a screenshot of it to share with her family members. She says she’s been a fan of Puth’s since falling for “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” his 2016 collaboration with Selena Gomez.

What happened next was even more unexpected: Later that same day Puth personally reached out to Barrett, through Instagram direct messaging, and said he wanted to be a part of an “I Hope” remix.

“I saw the little verifying check in the direct message box in Instagram, and I was just ear to ear,” says Barrett.

A few days later, Puth sent her a rough draft of his vocals, she recalls, “and I was like, oh, he means to get this done quickly! And so it really happened quickly, and I’m glad we could get it out.”

Barrett says she was pleased with the way Puth reworked the lyrics to accommodate the gender-role reversal in the “done me wrong” song.

“Of course when I was writing it, I can only write from a woman’s perspective,” says Barrett, who co-wrote “I Hope” with Zachary Kale and Jon Nite. Puth’s revisions, she adds, “just shows both sides go through these types of problems and end up getting cheated on. I think it’s cool to speak to both sides.”

The collaboration isn’t Puth’s first foray into the country genre. He also has co-written with Kacey Musgraves, though so far they haven’t released any of their music.

RELATED: Charlie Puth Says Working with Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves Was ‘Fun’ and ‘Unbelievable’

Despite their collaboration, the two singers still hadn’t spoken until last week when they had a brief get-acquainted phone call a couple of days before appearing together Friday, from separate locations, in an Amazon Live broadcast. Barrett is currently social distancing with her husband and fellow American Idol alum, Cade Foehner, at his parents’ home in Shelbyville, Texas. Puth is quarantining with his parents in their Rumson, New Jersey, home.

RELATED: Bruce Springsteen Assembles Bon Jovi, Tony Bennett, Charlie Puth and More for New Jersey COVID-19 Relief Event

During the broadcast, Puth recalled his initial contact to Barrett: “I DMed you like an absolute creep. I was like, all caps, ‘Oh my God.’ There hasn’t been a song since, like, ‘I Hope You Dance’ that has a run-on chorus that doesn’t sound like run-on sentences. It’s the continuous flow, like ‘Before He Cheats’ , and there hasn’t been anything like that in so long, and you cracked the code!”

Puth added that “it wasn’t hard for me to hop on this because the song is already so, so good. It’s an honor for me to be part of it.”

Now that she’s conquered the country charts, Barrett is hoping the new version finds a home on the pop chart. “All of the genres are just blending now, which I think is another super-cool thing,” she says. “Country is and always will be my heart, but I don’t have a problem with it spilling over into pop if it wants to.”

Source: (