This Just In: Gatlin’s “What If I Love You” Is a Bright & Buoyant Upheaval

Gatlin © Hannah Hall
Gatlin © Hannah Hall
A bright and buoyant upheaval of the heart, Gatlin’s “What If I Love You” is as dramatic and intimate as it is utterly dazzling: The perfect mix of turmoil and alt-pop sunshine rising with passion, charm, and vulnerability.
Stream: “What If I Love You” – Gatlin




I wanted the production to feel more uplifting pop because even in the situation I was trying to always stay positive to mask the feeling of being rejected.

A bright and buoyant upheaval of the heart, Gatlin’s first release of the new year is as dramatic and intimate as it is utterly dazzling. The perfect mix of turmoil and alt-pop sunshine, “What If I Love You” soars on saccharine sonic wings as one of Nashville’s most exciting artists to watch rises with passion, charm, and vulnerability.

What If I Love You - Gatlin
What If I Love You – Gatlin
They say it’s once in a lifetime
You only get one, so guess that I’m done for life
You’re doin’ just fine
I knew that you would, I bet she looks good tonight
Everybody knows you in this city
Every street is bringing back a memory
Wish I’d run into you accidentally
Still looking for your car, just kill me

Released April 8, 2021 via Tone Tree Music, “What If I Love You” arrives as Gatlin’s first single of 2021 – and the direct follow-up to last year’s debut EP Sugarcoated. A longtime Atwood artist-to-watch, Gatlin Thornton has been stunning us through musical worlds of wonder for just two years now – since 2019’s debut single “Manic” made its way to our ears” – and she has left an indelible imprint in that time.

Those two years have been a period of tremendous personal and musical growth for Gatlin, who considers “What If I Love You” to be one of her most mature and substantial offerings yet. “I’ve definitely become more confident in what I want to say over the last two years,” Gatlin tells Atwood Magazine. “The lyrics and melodies are much more intentional in this track than a lot of the songs I’ve written in the past.”

Gatlin © Hannah Hall
Gatlin © Hannah Hall

Substance has always been a part of Gatlin’s artistic DNA. In featuring 2020’s EP Sugarcoated, Atwood Magazine praised Gatlin for delivering a stirring outpouring of vivid and vulnerable emotion: “Sugarcoated is a heavy, heartfelt, and utterly captivating record ready and waiting to be experienced. It really does “hurt so good,” offering a cathartic journey for some and a thrilling indulgence for all.”

Nevertheless, “What If I Love You” feels immediate and urgent, embroiled in heartache and churning with passion. “This song differs from the Sugarcoated EP because I’m different!” Gatlin says bluntly. “I think my voice has changed, my style has changed, and everything is matured. The production style is much more lush, but it still keeps the indie pop feel that I love so much.”

We hear this charge of emotion rise with force and verve in a sweeping chorus. Gatlin’s breathtaking voice evokes a wellspring of feeling as she releases herself from her feelings:

By now I should be ok
That’s easy for you to say
What if i loved you
What if i loved you way too much
What if i love you
What if i love you way too much

“I wrote this song about a situation where I felt like I had found my ‘once in a lifetime’ love, but they didn’t feel that way about me,” the artist explains. “I wanted the production to feel more uplifting pop because even in the situation I was trying to always stay positive to mask the feeling of being rejected.”

Gatlin © Hannah Hall
Gatlin © Hannah Hall
They say it’s once in a lifetime
But does it really count
If you were like never mind
And I’m being too nice
Droppin’ it all
Just to see you at night
Everybody knows you in this city
Every street is bringing back a memory
Calling you again I guess you’re busy
Still wishing you were here just kill me

Released in tandem with the song, the sunny “What If I Love You” music video captures and elevates the song’s story of emotional reckoning and inner turmoil.

“I did the ‘What If I Love You’ music video with Luke Harvey of Mossflower Productions,” Gatlin says. “It had been a dream of mine to shoot at Joshua Tree since making the move to Los Angeles in the beginning of 2021. I wanted the visuals to feel like a fun escape to match the production and lyrics of the track. We shot using four different camera styles (35mm, 16mm, Super 8, and vintage TV) and then combined them all in a sort of ‘montage’ final video.”

By now I should be ok
That’s easy for you to say
What if i loved you
What if i loved you way too much
What if i love you
What if i love you way too much
Everybody knows you in this city
Every street is bringing back a memory
Wish I’d run into you accidentally
Still looking for your car, just kill me

There’s nothing quite like a wellspring of intimate passion bursting at the seams, and that’s exactly what happens in Gatlin’s new single. “What If I Love You” is as beautiful as it is heart-wrenching – a welcome (bitter)sweet indie pop groove ready to heal our wounds and help us shine.

By now I should be ok
That’s easy for you to say
What if i loved you
What if i loved you way too much
What if i love you
What if i love you

— —

:: stream/purchase What If I Love You here ::
Stream: “What If I Love You” – Gatlin





— — — —

What If I Love You - Gatlin

Connect to Gatlin on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © Hannah Hall


:: Stream Gatlin ::

The Ragged Intimacy of Gatlin’s Billowing “Curly Hair”

:: PREMIERE ::


More from Mitch Mosk

Premiere: Dori Freeman Delivers a Bittersweet Classic in “Go On”

Dori Freeman's poignant new single “Go On” wraps a well-worn theme of...
Read More