“It feels a little bit like a dream.”
That was the first thing said by Bryan White, who is blessed to have experienced life-changing success as a country music superstar in the 1990’s, when asked about what is currently happening on the other side of the world with his career. “God Gave Me You,” a song White originally released back in 1999, has been a massive hit in the Philippines for the past year.
The song caught on in the Philippines in 2011, but became something of a phenomenon last year when Maine Mendoza, also known as Yaya Dub, and Alden Richards chose “God Gave Me You” as the theme song for their wildly popular variety show “Eat Bulaga.”
White noticed some international activity on his various social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and then there were “millions upon millions of YouTube views on the song.” Fans had made lyric videos and one in particular has over 33 million views.
Then a friend called to say he was in Manila and heard the song playing on the radio.
The Oklahoma native wasn’t exactly sure about what was unfolding – “your first thought is, ‘seriously?’” – but he recorded a 90-second video message thanking his newfound fan base for their support. It wasn’t until his first trip there in December 2015 that he truly understood the scope of impact “God Gave Me You” was having in the Philippines and other Asian countries.
“It’s just one of those moments where everything lined up,” said White, who described the culture as extremely humble and kind. He suspects the lyrics, which he describes as a message of humility, resonates with the extremely loving culture of the Philippines. “I think it hit people in a way that was very primal.”
He added, “When I stepped off the plane, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is real.’ It was an emotional trip for me. I wanted very much to make a good first impression and start building something.”
That something is as big as he’s ever experienced.
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