Photo: Hannah Hall
Dancing in the desert in a glittery, tasseled kimono feels straight out of a Coachella recap from the mid 2010s, but Gatlin tackles on the well-known road trip out of LA with a different kind of optimism. The first single from her forthcoming EP, "What If I Love You" showcases her keen ability to balance heartache and hope.
Inspired by her long drives on her Harley, being out on the open road, and feeling the wind in her face, "What If I Love You" feels a bit like a fever dream that you wouldn't mind staying in, one full of the vulnerability and raw emotion. However, the nonchalance with which she longs after another belies the heavier feeling that often accompanies unrequited love.
"I felt like I had found my 'once in a lifetime' love, but they didn't feel that way about me," she says. But by maintaining the giddiness she first felt, even after it wasn't reciprocated, Gatlin blazes forward with all her emotions anyway. "Even in the situation I was trying to always stay positive to mask the feeling of being rejected." Instead of wasting time wallowing in the depths of despair, she chooses to skip right along and float over the raw edges just beneath the surface.
Delicately balancing the uncertainties that follow rejection, Gatlin appeals to the open road as a place where possibilities seem more endless and new hopes more readily acquired, seeking an acceptance harder to come to terms with in a busy city filled with painful reflections and history. Though the potency of her feelings might have not been well-received, they bear no shame; instead Gatlin appears ready to move forward, hopping into a getaway car that promises adventure and new beginnings.
Listen to "What If I Love You" below: