Gatton’s single goes viral in PH four years after release
Who would have thought that a song released in 2018 would become a hit in the Philippines four years later? Such was the case for American singer-songwriter Gatton whose single “When Scars Become Art” quickly became the fastest growing song and one of the biggest in the Philippines.
When Gatton posted a TikTok video of the song in January, it immediately went viral (5.4 million views, 664,000 likes, 6,441 comments and over 900,000 user-generated content videos using audio) and sparked the song’s incredible growth. The song also went to number 1 for weeks on the Spotify Philippines Viral 50 charts following the TikTok trend.
The acoustic pop song has a melancholic yet hopeful feel and explores themes of trying to turn your pain into something beautiful. Gatton recently released another version of the song titled “When Scars Become Art 2” featuring fellow viral artist, Danish singer-songwriter Maximillian.
“It was a simple day. I was in California for the summer. I was in a season of deep grief and grief. I had lost a lot of my identity and was looking to make sense of the pain and So I started writing. I sat in front of this beautiful black grand piano in the cabin I was staying in. Every afternoon, the light from the window in the ceiling hit the keys just right. I always treated the writing like a diary entry splattered on the keys of a piano. I remember it took less than an hour to write the whole song. And there was something so different about this one. I just got lost when I sang it. It took me to a place of healing that I had never known. It was inexplicable,” Gatton detailed in an email interview with Music Geek.
He continued, “I wrote the whole song but still didn’t have a title and a line in the second verse. I was like, ‘What am I trying to say here?’ ‘Why is this song so beautiful?’ And then it came to me. Beauty is when you can learn to make something artistic out of every scar. Beauty is when scars become art.” That was it. Four words that would change the trajectory of my life. I knew this song was special and I knew it would change me, I didn’t know how at the time.
Since the song is about scars, he too has scars he needs to kiss.
“I have always said that I am a researcher, a writer and a storyteller much more than I am a musician. Music is the medium I have chosen, but I do not consider myself a musician first, which can come with its own insecurities. I’ve also had some really painful relationship scars that I’m so grateful for now because of the strength I’ve gained,” Gatton said.
And his advice for anyone going through this is: always look for a way to make sense of the pain.
“Go on a hike. Listen to new podcasts. Journal. Eat new foods. Exercise. Read. Check in on yourself. Do all you can to find healing. Give yourself permission to Don’t run away from your pains, face them head on. They heal much faster that way.
Here’s the rest of the interview with the rising singer-songwriter:
How have you been this past year? How was life?
Life is really good lately. This year has already changed my life. It has been overwhelming, exciting, sometimes painful and yet rewarding at the same time. I really learned to allow all my emotions, good or bad, to coexist harmoniously. I have been deeply touched by all the love for my art over the past two months.
What does your creative process look like?
I treat songwriting as a lifestyle. I always write. Every conversation I have, every hike I take, every new food I try, every heartache I endure, every celebration I’m parted from – there’s a song to it all and it’s up to me to find her. So I try to be very aware of my surroundings and create art from my observations. There is one quality that every human being possesses that I believe is a superpower: resilience. We all have the ability to choose resilience. The option not only to overcome adversity, but also to become better through it. Make something beautiful out of the really painful things in this life. I hope I can inspire others to realize that they too have this superpower.
What inspired the Scars Become Art project?
The “When Scars Become Art Project” was an interview process I did after the EP came out. I interviewed 85 people in one year. Doctors, teachers, singers, therapists, widowers, dancers, etc. I recognized that the concept of “making art from your scars” was not authentic to me. So I wanted to know how others choose to make art out of their scars or beauty out of their pain. I asked the same 15 questions to 85 people and it was fascinating to find out how we, as human beings, are more alike than different.
What did you learn from these interviews? Were there any stories that stood out?
Some stories that particularly stood out to me were a few people I knew who were incredibly cheerful and lively on the outside, but getting to know their stories revealed how much they had lived. And recognizing that their joy was a choice, that they made an intentional effort every day to overcome their sorrows and choose joy. It inspires me.
Are you still writing music or taking a break right now?
I write here and there but I’m definitely busy and haven’t taken that long to write. I want to find a consistent writing routine.
If you could collaborate with any artist in the world right now, who would it be?
My dream collaboration would be Adele. I would just like to sit with her for a day and get to know her story and write a song and sing and cry and laugh and eat. She is the reason why I am an artist.