Lav Finds Empowerment In Vulnerability
“To me, music is a journal with noise attached to it,” says rising star Lav. The LA based pop auteur is speaking about the intimate vulnerability she brings to her music, the way in which her open and frank persona – which is equal parts witty and emotional – has manifested itself in brand new single 'Reds', which departs from the “ukulele girl” image of 'From Me, The Moon' that catapulted her to fame.
Speaking of the new track, she says: “'Reds' takes a complete different direction than my previous music, because I’m getting more into dream pop space. The song is about the death of a romance. When you’re young you rarely think about the future of a relationship and where it will end up.”
“We’ve been messing with a lot of vintage sounds – the music video which I got to co-direct, was filmed Bob Baker Marionette Theatre, matches this soundscape with a creepy and ominous - but it’s also one of my poppiest song. I hope people like it, but if they don’t who cares? Because I like it!”
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The new sonic direction on 'Reds' is only a teaser, for much more to come. Delving into her yet-to-be-titled debut EP - due for release in February 2021 - the 22-year-old artist reveals: “I’m just excited to get more music out there. I always stay true to myself and this is going to be my first collective body of work so I’m excited for people to hear. I hope people can see I have range in my artistic abilities and that my writing is consistent.”
On the evolution of these artistic abilities, she adds: “I started off with very little skillset besides writing, I was never good at playing any instruments besides ukulele which gave my music a folksy, lo-fi singer-songwriter vibe. As I’ve made more music my sound has been elevated to indie pop.”
“Going forward, I’m just excited to play around and dipping my toes into whatever feels right sonically. Lyrically emotional, intimate lyrics is my brand more than the sound.”
Talking about the intimacy of her song-writing, Lav who is a self-proclaimed over-sharer, explains that she hopes people who listen to her music understand how intimate the process of writing a song is. She says: “While I like to keep my lyrics subjective so that people can take away whatever they want to from a song, I hope people take away that it’s okay to be vulnerable from my music.”
An introspective song writer, who has carved a niche for those artists who find and encourage empowerment by being emotional, Lav explains that she is an introspective songwriter, “A lot of my songs have to do with love because finding out and understanding how to love other people, how to be in a relationship, what healthy love looks like and how to love myself have all been such major parts of my life.”
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For Lav who has been going to therapy since she was seven years old, emotional intimacy and expressing herself through lyrics is second nature and the basic foundation of her music. As a writer, this ability to connect with her feelings and paint a picture lyrically is what she’s most focused on. But she has other ambitions as an artist.
Talking about her influences and what she hopes to do with her soundscape in the future, she says: “I want to add more funk elements into my songs the kind of music I grew up with. My grandpa was a blues guitarist and that’s the type of music I grew up listening to. My grandparents were my closest friends, and they came of age in the 70s; which has the best dichotomy of music because it’s when we discovered that music was one of the purest forms of art that had the power to change the world.”
“Pop used to be powerful and it used to mean something but we’ve lost that somewhere along the way. I want to bring that side of music back, music that connects with people. It’s challenging to blend mid-century music with new-age music especially if you want it to perform well and if I want to earn from it! But I also think that the vintage, authentic elements of music are coming back now.”
Where her goals and dreams are concerned, she appears to be on the right path, if the love she’s received from her growing legion of fans and her contemporaries in music is anything to go by. Speaking of praise, she delves into one of her most precious bits of praise – from Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas, saying: “I was really shocked to know that she and Finneas listened to my music and actually liked it my music. Nepotism runs so think through the indie scene and I have no connections to make it “big”. It was so crazy for me that one of the biggest popstars of my generation likes my music when they don’t really need to!”
Describing her career so far as “a pleasant surprise,” she says, “I came from nothing – living in a one-bedroom house in a rough part of Los Angeles, from a long line of people who didn’t go to college, this was a world I never knew of – the fact that I’m here and that people are listening to my music is insane. My career and life have been a dream.”
With dreamy soundscapes grounded by raw, realistic lyricism, Lav is in constant disbelief that the ears and hearts across the world are tuned into her music – but anyone who might have listened to her poignant music or come across her magnetic personality is likely to be enthralled.
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Words: Malvika Padin
Photo Credit: Karen Davis
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