“It’s the craziest time of my life,” 21-year-old Ari Leff better known as his stage name Lauv, said in an interview with PopCultureDaily. Born in San Francisco in 1994 Leff was interested in music and took piano and viola lessons before learning how to play the guitar at the age of 11. Then at the age of 14 his talents started to evolve and before he had any form of a relationship with a girl he was obsessed with writing love songs and break up songs. After finishing Radnor Middle School, he attended high school, where he played in several bands and studied jazz before moving on to electronic music.
Leff has a vast catalog of influences and was always listening to different stuff based on the area he was living in at the time. He credits one of his biggest influences as Jon Bellion in terms of workflow. Bellion, a singer, songwriter and producer has been featured on Zedd’s album and has worked with Rihanna and Jason Derulo. In high school, he was listening to a lot of singer-songwriter stuff like John Mayer. During his college years, Leff strayed away from his personal song-writing skills and focused on writing and producing for other artists. But during his sophomore year, he stumbled upon an enlightening interview with Paul Simon, in which Simon described his song-writing approach as a process of uncovering his innermost buried feelings. The interview helped Leff to get in touch with the way he used to write.
So where did the artist name Lauv come from? It actually stems from the Latvian word for ‘lion’. This is a nod to his mother’s heritage and to his own zodiac sign, Leo. It wasn’t long after leaving college that Lauv signed a deal with Prescription Songs which happens to be Grammy Award winning producer Dr Luke’s publishing company, and then in 2015 Lauv released his debut EP entitled “Lost In The Light”. Since signing the deal, he’s been more focused on writing. When asked about this opportunity Lauv said “it’s great to have a team behind me that supports me and wants to help get my music out there for other artists and myself”. Lauv hopes to collaborate with as many people as he possibly can most notably he mentioned the likes of Sam Gellaitry, and legendary producers like Max Martin and Rick Rubin.
*Image Source: jonalisblog.com
Now Lauv, a co-producer and co-writer of the Cheat Codes and the current Demi Lovato single “No Promises”, has released a brand new single entitled “I Like Me Better” which is first release since 2015’s song “The Other”. “The Other” which was quite a slow song, “I Like Me Better” is a little more uptempo, delivering on a chill beat, and is softly song with a soulful voice as the hook confesses, “I like me better when I’m with you.” “Being vulnerable is the hardest thing for so many people, including myself, but it’s also the most satisfying thing,” Lauv says about the new track. “In day-to-day life there’s so much that’s calculated: so many fake, surface-level interactions that don’t amount to anything. Getting away from that and being completely real in my music has been so cathartic for me, and my hope is that my songs can somehow empower people to be real with themselves and with other people too.”
Lauv will soon begin his 14-show run with Ed Sheeran from October 25 in Japan and will conclude with a sold-out show in front of a 30,000-strong crowd at Dubai’s Autism Rocks Arena. While the opportunity is potentially career defining, Lauv is keenly aware that it poses its own set of challenges. The biggest of those is venue size. “I have no real experience playing in arenas and I imagine that it is all about engaging with people and making them all feel like they are part of the show. To be in honest, it’s going to be a learning experience for me.” Lauv said about the tour.
“I Like Me Better” is already getting traction on radio airwaves around the world, and Lauv spoke about the direction he took with this single saying “I wanted to do this because a lot of people probably think of my songs as slow and sad, with all this longing, nostalgia and being conflicted, I wanted to write songs that just weren’t those things, that I also go through ups as well as downs and I am excited the new songs I am putting out reflect that.” Whether it’s detailing about being emotionally burnt out or having a heartfelt goodbyes with a loved one, Lauv manages to capture every emotion in his lyrics and conveys it so well through his vocals and production.
He attributes his ability to accompany these feelings through song, from his experiences he had in various cities growing up as his family was always on the move. “I am realising this now more as I grow up that I never really felt connected to locations. In some sense, I always kind of felt a little lost in that I never had any hometown pride. While I experience a lot different places and experiences, I always felt a little detached” Lauv said. Now with everything starting to boom not only for him as an artist but for his as a writer and producer with Cheat Codes, he has only one piece of advice for budding artists that want to follow the same path as he did, “I just think that any person who wants music to be their career shouldn’t focus on a record label. I have seen friends who sign to a label too early in their career and they lost control over their music, and their releases were delayed or never put out. So, ultimately, people should focus on creating good music, because people now have ways of finding it.”
The song “I Like Me Better” is already certified gold in New Zealand selling over 15,000 copies of the single and has peaked as high as number 10 in Germany and is a global top 20 single in Australia, Austria, and America. This song is not only brilliantly written and produced, the vocals just add to the sheer brilliance of it and could be the best pop song I’ve heard this year. Expect Lauv to be the next big thing in pop music, and the majority of the times highly skilled artists who can write and produce are usually the ones that top the charts. “I Like Me Better” is available on ITunes now.