LAUV – Interview

Foto-© Clare Gillen

Ich sitze in der U-Bahn auf dem Weg in ein schickes Hotel am Zoo in Berlin. Gedankenverloren schreibe ich einer Freundin, dass ich gleich den US-Sänger Lauv zum Interview treffe. Sagt mir nichts, ist ihre Antwort. Kennt man was von dem, will sie wissen. Lange Zeit war Ari Staprans Leff der eine Typ von dem einen Song. Um seinen Breakthrough Hit I Like Me Better nicht zu kennen, müsste man in den letzten fünf Jahren wirklich unter einem Stein gelebt haben. 

Lauv allerdings heute noch als der eine Typ von dem einen Song zu bezeichnen würde dem Singer-Songwriter keinesfalls gerecht werden. Mit seinem Debütalbum How I’m Feeling (2020) hat der 27-Jährige das Bermuda-Dreieck des One-Hit-Wonders erfolgreich umschifft. Besonders für seinen erstklassigen Kollaborationen wie zum Beispiel Canada mit Alessia Cara oder Who mit der K-Pop-Gruppe BTS wurde Lauv gefeiert. Auch mit Conan Gray oder Troye Sivan hat er bereits zusammengearbeitet. Am 5. August erscheint nun Lauvs zweites Album All 4 Nothing – diesmal komplett ohne Features. 

Wie es dazu kam, wie sein Fame seine Mental Health beeinflusst und warum er sich schwertut, Songs zu schreiben, wenn er glücklich ist, hat er im Interview verraten.

Almost to the day, 5 years ago, you released your breakthrough hit I Like Me Better. Now it seems to be featured in every other rom-com I watch on Netflix. What does the song mean to you today? 
The part that means the most to me now is the person that I wrote it with. He was the first songwriter I ever worked with and we both moved out to LA at the same time. We made the song in my bedroom and he has been somebody who has helped me express my stories. I think it is really cool that after all this time we can share this success.

Have you been working with him again for this album? 
We just started working together again because we didn’t really during the pandemic. For this album, I was writing in a kind of different way. I was trying to take control myself but I miss him and we decided to make more music together again. 

A few songs on your new album like Molly in Mexico sound like a romantic movie that I’d like to watch – do you consider yourself a romantic?
Yeah… I guess!? I think I try to run away from that because it is scary, but yeah. Maybe I am more of a love addict.

That’s a great way to put it. Falling in love and heartbreak are topics that everybody can relate to. Would you say that being a love addict makes you a better songwriter then?
Probably. I just put myself through it.

Last night at your showcase, you said that it is so much harder to write songs when you are happy.
Yes, absolutely. I actually wrote I Like Me Better when I got out of that relationship. I’m So In Love is the first song that I have written that is happy, that I have written while I was in a happy place. Which is so crazy to me. 

Speaking of love – your song All 4 Nothing (I’m So In Love) was co-written by your girlfriend. How did that come about? 
Well, we were just hanging out cuddling, and she got up to go to the bathroom and the whole chorus just came to me. When she came back, I was like: Babe, check this out. A couple of days later or maybe even the next day, we got into the studio and wrote the rest of it together. It is the beginning of our story. She also helped a bit on 26, and we have a couple more songs that we might release in the future, which is exciting. 

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Your last album How I’m Feeling had a lot of your friends on for features. This time it’s just you. Was that due to the pandemic making it harder to collaborate, or was it a conscious effort to not do features? 
It was 50/50. I was feeling that it was time to do an album that was just for me. I wanted to strip back some layers and find myself again. But I have learned that you cannot really find yourself, you can only be yourself and be with yourself. So that’s what I did on this album. But I am sure that I will do more collabs in the future. 

On TikTok, you talked a bit about the story behind Kids Are Born Stars – that you were in love with a girl in middle school and wrote a song about that now, 15 years later. Do you find comfort in nostalgia during these crazy times? 
Yeah! I feel like I have learned a lot by looking back at my past. That was a big thing I did during the pandemic. I was trying to get back in touch with my inner child. In my early twenties through my career, I just became this new person really quickly because so much was happening in my life. That made me feel estranged from myself a little, so I realized that I needed to get back in touch with the past version of myself. 

You are addressing very different experiences on your album, from anxiety, to falling in and out of love, to the fear of growing old – do you ever find it hard to open up about your struggles in your music? 
I do struggle with it, yeah. In the past, I have been an oversharer. I have shared everything with anyone open to hearing it. And sometimes it just got too deep.  

It does seem to come so easy to you to talk about deep topics.
Sometimes it does. There isn’t really a thing that I wanna hide with my music. If I am feeling something, I might as well put it in a song. 

Since the release of I Like Me Better you have been very successful and can now consider yourself “rich”, something you talk about in 26. Are you afraid that fans might find you less relatable now that you are famous?  
I have thought about that, yes. But at the end of the day, my music is so emotion-based. And we all have these emotions. So even if they can’t relate to the specific storyline, hopefully, they will be able to relate to the feeling. We all feel sadness. We all feel joy. We all feel anxious.

How has fame impacted your mental health? 
Really badly (laughs). I am not gonna lie. Fame is pulling you in all of these directions and all you wanna do is hold onto your safe space, that you have had before. But it is so hard to do that when you are famous. I think that this is what caused me to be on medication. I have this predisposed need for control and I have anxiety and stuff, so fame is just like poking the bear because your life gets so much harder to control.

Have you ever had a moment where you thought about taking a step back and quitting fame?
Yes. Many! The funny thing is every time when I feel like I really need to take a break from it, I never really take a break. I need to really take a break sometime. Maybe after this album. We will see.

I feel like capitalist societies always want you to be productive and if you aren’t, you just feel shitty about yourself. 
Yeah! And especially in LA, too. The music industry is just crazy there. 

Speaking of the industry, you have written several songs for other major artists yourself. How do you decide if an idea you come up with will end up on your album or will be for another artist, considering most of your songs are super personal?
It is usually pretty clear to me. Some songs I like at the moment but when I listen back they just don’t really pull my heartstrings, the way I would want them to. There is a certain kind of love that I have for songs that I am gonna keep for myself.

You are going on tour soon – what are you most excited about after the pandemic has forced all of us to live a life without live music?
I am just so excited to connect with everybody. I feel like I am a new person, and I am just so excited to get on stage as this new, authentic version of myself. 

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Juliane Reuther

Juliane ist Redakteurin und Autorin aus Berlin. In ihrer Arbeit befasst sie sich vor allem mit Popkultur, Musik und Feminismus.

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