This is how Lauv describes his signature sound

Fire power: 23-year-old Lauv already has over a hundred million streams for his song I Like Me Better.

The thing about a good song is that you will hear it on the radio for days on end. You can blame your LSS on it all you want, but these hits don’t just happen overnight. No one’s born with a guaranteed spot on the Top 100 list, nor a tour around the world at the age of 23.

This is exactly what Lauv (alternatively known as Ari Staprans Leff) proved. Karpos Multimedia brought him in for a quick two-day series of shows at Alabang Town Center and UP Town Center. For someone so young, he has a lot under his belt. For starters, his hit single I Like Me Better already has over 200 million streams on Spotify. He has also worked with Charlie XCX on the soon-to-be cult classic Boys (we’re calling it), and Demi Lovato’s No Promises.

We chatted with him before his show about his songwriting process, zodiac signs, and of course, Demi Lovato.

YOUNG STAR: You started playing music at a very young age. Coming from that, did you already envision the kind of music you’d play in the future?

LAUV: No. I have no idea what I’ll be making. Honestly, that’s the way I try to approach all of my music. I try not think too much about what it’s gonna be, just ’cause I grew up listening to so many types of music that if I start to box myself in, I lose my inspiration.

The other:  Lauv recognizes Paul Simon as one of his songwriting influences.
Photos by Tin Sartorio

You’ve already worked with Charlie XCX and Demi Lovato. Is there still some part of you that you put in the songs you wrote for other artists?

I think so. For example with the Demi Lovato song, it’s funny because I have friends who texted me saying “Wait, did you write this song?” You’re not really aware of yourself in the same way. When I do a song, and another artist is a part of it, sometimes I’m like, “Can anybody tell that I wrote it?”

That can only mean that you have already established a certain signature sound.

I guess so. People tell me a lot of times that it’s in the way that I write my melodies.

Can you describe it in your own words?

I have no idea. (Laughs) I wake up some days and I’m like, “Am I a fake?” I guess to me, I feel like I’m making myself feel too important to think that I have. Like you know when you listen to a voice recording and you talk, and you think, “That’s what I sound like?” It’s the same thing with my music. I don’t hear it the same way other people do so it’s hard for me to say that that’s me. I think the way that I do and (other people) hearing it is a little different.

‘I don’t hear (my music) the same way other people do so it’s hard for me to say that that’s me. I think the way that I do and hearing it is a little different.’

What’s your process like?

Very random and different every time. For example, when I wrote I Like Me Better, I had just gotten new synth sounds and I was playing cool chords. And then pretty much the whole chorus came to me and I didn’t have the title written down or anything. I had no idea I was going to write that song. But when I wrote The Other, that was just me and my acoustic guitar. I didn’t really know what it was gonna sound like but then I pulled an all-nighter when I was in college in my school library and kind of produced the whole track there.

You mentioned in an interview that you want to work with Chris Martin from Coldplay. Do you have any idea of what you want to make with him?

No, I don’t want to think about it. (Laughs) It would be crazy if we wrote a really happy song. I feel like he’s so good at writing sad songs and I love that stuff. Whatever we (would) write, I just hope it’s real.

If you could ask him to cover one of your songs, what would it be?

I could never ask him to cover one of my songs. (Laughs) Just no way.

But what if he offered? (Laughs)

Okay, okay. I think my song Come Back Home. The emotion of it could be kind of cool (seeing them play it). And there is a morphed guitar line in there, it would be cool to see it done as a band.

We just have to ask: your stage name Lauv was derived from your zodiac sign (it’s Latvian for lion). Are you big on signs?

Honestly, I kind of forgot what they all mean. (Laughs) I’m a Leo. And it’s definitely true that I’m stubborn but I’m really passionate.

Special thanks to Karpos Multimedia. You can listen to Lauv’s music on Spotify. For more information, visit


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