Make It Right: Lauv On His Transformational Year

Make It Right: Lauv On His Transformational Year

Working with BTS, dealing with mental health issues, and prepping his debut album...

Platinum-certified singer, songwriter, and producer Lauv describes the past year as “transformational”.

And taking a look at the amazing things he’s done - be it the success of his single 'fuck, i’m lonely' with Anne-Marie, the 19-city sold-out run of his '~how i'm feeling world tour~', or his much-anticipated feature on the remix of BTS’ ‘Make It Right’ – you’d think it was no surprise. But the year is special for a much more personal reason.

Reflecting on his 2019, he says: “I started the year off in the worst place I’ve ever been in my life, and now I’m ending it really happy, table clear-headed. I went through a lot mentally – dealing with depression and OCD – getting on medication, finding a good therapist, meditating. And now I’d say life is good, there’s nothing I can complain about.”

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Growing over the year as a person and an artist, seems to have helped Lauv come to terms with the different sides of personality. And it’s this wholesome embrace of who he truly is as a person that has become the catalyst for his debut studio album '~how i'm feeling~', set for release on March 6th next year.

Describing the album as “diverse, lit, and emotional”, the 25-year-old pop visionary, further explains: “Each individual track in this album is a great representation of where I am in life, the diversity of my current sound, the different aspects of who I am.”

“There’s a lot pressure to portray yourself according to personality trait or brand. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed, I wanted to make sure that I was showcasing various sides of my personality.”

Lauv’s desire to accept all sides of his personality led to the creation of the visuals that adorn his album cover, known as “little Lauvs” ; these six distinct characters, represented by six different colours embody six different traits that come together to make up the person known as the artist Lauv , and the human Ari Staprans Leff.

Having been introduced properly on the video for the single ‘Sims’, Lauv believes six is the magic number. He explains, “Any more than six would be splitting hairs. Anything further it’d be folded into the six sides that already exist.”

But he’s still above giving up certain traits, if absolutely necessary – the side of him that’s hopelessly romantic. He says: “After I went through a lot in terms of love and life experiences, I think I decided to discover and embrace a lot more than just that side.”

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Even giving up the romantic side of him, his latest release ‘Mean It’ with LANY, proves that he continues to be introspective about the idea of love. Speaking on the inspiration behind the track, he says: “From my perspective it was about what I thought someone I was seeing would say to/about me. I guess it was the same from Paul’s side – but from his perspective.”

Explaining that it’s the different perspectives that makes collaborations a great experience, he says: “Because I write from such a specific angle I forget that other people approach things differently. So being exposed to this other world and perspective is inspiring and I always learn a lot.”

On the topic of collaborations, the two main talking points are who’s on his bucket list – a question answered instantly, “Coldplay’s Chris Martin”- and BTS. Gushing about the septet, Lauv says: “I think meeting them was the last time I was ever starstruck. I don’t think I need to explain why because they are the biggest band in the world!”

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Taking a moment to chat about the ‘Make It Right’ remix, he says: “It was the perfect track for me melodically and vibe-wise , so I thought that was the one for me. I don’t think I could choose any other track that was better suited for me.”

Despite the big-name collaborations, and replay-worthy music, what excites the singer most about his craft is just being able to share it with the world.

Lauv says: “To have a piece of me out in the world, something I care so much about out there for people like or hate is the best part.”

He says “hate” but if the sold-out dates of his tour are anything to go by there aren’t many people out there who dislike his music or him, and the feeling is mutual. Speaking on his favourite part of touring, he says: “The shows are my favourite, that’s the important part. Getting to unfold how I’m doing each night is amazing in front of people who are willing to listen is why I do this.”

Known as the “one-man boyband”, Lauv is unable to pick out a single moment to tag as the pinnacle of his career, and that’s a clear testament to how successful he is. But beyond all that success he’s the guy who spends his free time “getting tattoos, drinking margaritas, playing with my dog, watching shows/movies, skate boarding” and the guy who in his own words “is always doing something because I can be barely be alone” – and these qualities make him all the more likeable.

And if that doesn’t sell you on his genuine personality, his relatable answer to how he detoxes from social media – a question asked given the concept of his single ‘Drugs & The Internet’ – should be enough to convince any cynics. He says: “How do I detox? I don’t! Usually I get to the point where I have a breakdown, post about the breakdown, chill for a day and then I’m back on social media the next day – so not very healthy!”

Sometimes silly and cocky, and sometimes wise beyond his years, Lauv is the kind of person you want to have a lengthy conversation with -about anything from his obsession with sunglasses and his “damn good looks which he was born with” to the path that led him to accept himself- and the answers will either amuse you or touch your heart, there’s no in-between.

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'~how i'm feeling~' will be released on March 6th.

Words: Malvika Padin
Photo Credit: Stefan Kohli

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