While she’s much younger than me, Gatlin’s songs are relatable in any phase of life. With her sophomore EP on the way, I chatted with her to learn more about her two singles she’s just graced us with. I envision “What If I Love You” soundtracking any rom com where the characters go their separate ways, and if any music supervisor is reading this, you’re welcome for the suggestion!! Honestly, Gatlin’s music and sound is a true breath of fresh air in pop music and she’s just getting started.
Wow I am seriously stoked about this!! Gatlin, tell me how you got started in music?
Gatlin: I think I always wanted to do music, but it was always a pipe dream. I was always in choir and musical theater as a child as well as taking piano/guitar/voice lessons. It definitely became real though when I decided to start doing online school for high school because I wanted to focus more on it. Then when I graduated, I headed straight to Nashville.
Tell me about your songwriting process.
Gatlin: It’s so different every time! There are the times I just sit down and a song comes out of me in 10-20 minutes. But songwriting is a craft that you have to work on, so I try to write with collaborators at least 3-4 times a week. I think I learn a lot from working with other writers because I still have so much to grow.
You're growing so many fans on TikTok - were you shocked at all? And how did it feel?
Gatlin: Oh man! I feel like there’s still so much left to grow on TikTok - I’ve only scratched the surface before the surface. TikTok is a magical place because the algorithm is so on it. It sends my music to the exact people who would enjoy it, which I think is one of the only ways they’d be able to find it at this point in my career. It feels really good being on that platform because the people who are seeing the videos of my song actually care. They really have become invested and it’s great interacting with them on the app.
I first heard you from your track "What If I Love You" on a friend’s playlist. The lyrics are EXTREMELY relatable. Can you tell me the inspiration behind that?
Gatlin: I was talking to my co-writer on the track, Michelle Buzz, about how cities can become all about people. Specifically, how Nashville for me had become about this person I dated - every street, every person, every restaurant had a memory attached to him. But he didn’t feel the same way about me and so she had said something like, “it’s almost like you loved him too much”. Then the song just came quickly.
And tell me about your latest, "Whenever He Asks?”
Gatlin: That song took a very long time to put together. I started writing it in January of 2020 as an acoustic folk song about this person who was upfront about what he could give me, but I kept sticking it out hoping for more. It’s been through many different phases since that January and has pulled from several different instances in my life where I was playing the game on the other person’s terms.
Who's an artist you're really vibing with right now?
Gatlin: I’ve recently been on a Faye Webster kick. Her latest single “Cheers” is on repeat when I go for walks.
What are you most excited about for this year?
Gatlin: I’m most excited to play a show of any kind. Anywhere. For any number of people. Any kind of show with my band (who are my best friends).
What's something you want our readers to know about you?
Gatlin: My real first name is Gatlin and I’m allergic to avocados.
"At 15 years old, I begged my mom to take me to Walmart to get Taylor Swift's debut deluxe album and I never turned back. This was my very first entry point to stan fandom. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee I was exposed to a ton of music - from rapping 3 6 Mafia to bopping to Justin Timberlake's solo discography. Now, in LA have a day job working in nonprofit development, but by night, I'm a full-fledged fangirl. I'll listen to generally any genre, but I'm a sucker for a good pop song. If you ever need someone to scream sing Carly Rae Jepsen's E·MO·TION with, I'm your girl. No, I still have not gotten over the One Direction hiatus. Please continue to respect my privacy. Twitter : samfonggg, Instagram : samantha_fong"