Editors’ Notes Hailing from the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ali Gatie delivered one of 2019’s song-of-the-summer candidates with “It’s You,” an acoustic-plucked devotional that captured both the rush of blossoming romance and the festering insecurity that it might all fall apart at any moment. That single announced the arrival of an intriguing new talent whose gift for soulful melodies belied an intent to put his most vulnerable feelings on display. But with his debut mini-LP statement YOU, Gatie reveals that “It’s You” is merely one piece of a complex narrative puzzle that examines the ecstasy and agony of falling in and out of love. And while the album features more of the tropical-pop vibes that made “It’s You” so easy on the ears, it also finds Gatie expanding the parameters of his sound with hazy synth textures and liquid electric-guitar lines (courtesy of session veteran Happy Perez) that evoke the ambient R&B of Frank Ocean. “I wanted this project to feel like a real journey,” Gatie tells Apple Music. “The ups and downs and highs and lows.” Gatie presents a track-by-track guide to help you navigate the emotional turbulence.

It’s You
“The really special thing about this was I didn't even think about writing it as a song to release. I was just feeling that way about a certain individual. And I really was just making a voice note on my phone—which I still have—and sent it to her without even hearing it. And then after really taking it in, I was like, ‘Well, this is a very special song.’ I can remember speaking to that person and being like, ‘I know I told you the song was for you, but I'm actually gonna release it because it's just that good.’ That song was just me being so vulnerable. And I think that's why the world received it as so relatable, because I literally was talking to someone through the song.”

“That first line (‘I bought you things that I didn’t even have the money for/If I could make you feel so rich, I don’t mind feeling poor’) is a metaphor: Like, I love you so much that even if I gave you my last five dollars, it would make me feel richer, you know? Because I was just so attached and in love with that person, it was like I was living my life through her.”

Used to You
“This song is about the same girl from ‘It's You.’ And I'm singing from her perspective. That relationship was having issues—it was coming to an end, and not in the best way. And so I’m singing what she was telling me, like, ‘Don't give up on me.’ It's one of the only songs I ever wrote from someone else's perspective, because I was trying to understand how she was feeling. Another special thing about this song is that I didn't actually write it out first—I was just in the booth singing my heart out.”

Say to You
“This one is actually about the same girl from ‘Moonlight,’ which is a different girl! It’s kind of like the resolution to that track—it’s about getting to the point where it's like, ‘I love you and you're amazing, but you act like everything's fine, and I'm not fine. And so I literally don't know what to say to you. I don't even know what words to come up with to try to explain how I feel.’ So I wrote a whole song about that, as ironic as that is.”

Love You Like That
“Technically, this one’s more an interlude—I put it right in the middle to kind of give you a break. I lead with four very powerful songs, and this one gives you a little time to recover. And I wrote it as a poem, and I'm not going to lie: In the moment I was writing it out, I was like, ‘This is very Frank Ocean-esque.’ All the other songs above are very straightforward: ‘Please don't break my heart’ or ‘I don't know what to say to you.’ This song is all metaphor—it has all these cool lyrics about the ocean, where I just wanted people to visualize my feeling. It's just guitar and a poem. Happy’s guitar is so beautiful, it doesn’t need anything else.”

“After ‘Love You Like That’ gives you a break, ‘Sunshine’ takes you right back to that energy of the first four tracks. The interesting thing about it is it's called ‘Sunshine,’ but it really sounds more like a rain song. It's not in any way a happy song. And it’s another song that’s poetic. I sing, ‘You taste like red wine,’ and I don’t even drink, personally; I’ve never even drank wine. But it’s about the whole idea of being so addicted to your love that it’s intoxicating.”

How Things Used to Be
“I always think about how things used to be, and it brings up this vulnerable feeling of ‘I wonder if you still think about me the way I think about you.’ The line from this song that really means the most to me is ‘The moments when you're gone/To me, they feel like eternity.' And so the whole concept of the song is like, 'If I'm feeling so strongly about this, and I'm sitting here writing songs about you, and the whole world knows about you, is that feeling reciprocated? Are you still out there thinking about me, or am I just a hopeless romantic?'”

Holding On
“In my head, this was going to be the big finale for the record. Half of it is written from the perspective of the girl in ‘Used to You.’ I co-wrote the song with Belly, and at first we were writing it, almost criticizing the girl—like, ‘You gave up on me!’ But a relationship is obviously always two-sided, so how do I include my mistakes? So we switched every line that had ‘you’ in it—‘You gave up on me’ became ‘We gave up on each other.’ And that really brought the song full circle. We’re saying, ‘Let's not give up on each other. Let's really try to fight for this, because what we have is worth it.’ But at the end, it leaves you wondering, ‘So did he stay with her? Did it work out?’”

Lost My Lover
“This is the outro to the record—I wrote it as a poem about a different girl, but it actually relates to both of the girls I sing about on this record. Lyrically, I think it’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever written. There’s that line, ‘Isn’t it ironic, the one I dream about is the reason I can’t sleep’—when I wrote that, I realized that this was a special song. As beautiful and pure as love is, it can also be twisted and dark, because it's just such a powerful emotion that really controls you.”


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