lauv is lonely and really needs a hug
First it was ‘I’m So Tired…’. Now it’s ‘Fuck, I’m Lonely’. Lauv is the San Fran born producer-cum-popstar turning his conflicting emotions into chart-smashing bops.
Photography Chris Noltehuhlmann
It’s 9:30 on a sunny LA morning and Ari Leff – better known as the pop singer and producer Lauv – has just woken up. His days tend to start the same way right now: a cup of coffee and a little meditation. “It feels amazing!” he beams confidently over Facetime, recognising how conflicting those two things sound. Still, “the coffee wakes me up and meditating makes me way less anxious!”
His painfully adorable pet dog Billy is yapping in the background. Clearly, he, too, is excited about the release of his dad’s brand new bop, "Fuck, I’m Lonely" featuring British pop queen Anne-Marie. It’s the 24-year-old’s latest release in a string of barefaced singles that could be the titles of episodes of Euphoria, which includes bops like "Drugs & the Internet", the intimate "Sad Forever" (which was released to benefit a number of mental health charities) and his collaboration with Troye Sivan, "I’m So Tired", which soared into every moody Spotify playlist on the planet. Much like that track, "Fuck, I’m Lonely" is both dangerously catchy and sort of sad when you think about it. The kind of song that forces you to have a 4am, Sunday morning epiphany as you melt into the sofa at an afterparty. But that, in a way, is Lauv’s niche; he makes pessimistic pop tunes for upbeat people.
Given what a monumental melancholic banger "Fuck, I’m Lonely" is, we gave Lauv a call about 24 hours ago to chat about how the song came to be, why he still feels like a big kid at 24 years old and his discordant relationship with his A* Instagram account.
Hi Lauv! Congratulations on "Fuck, I’m Lonely". It’s a banger! How did it come about?
Thank you! Well, originally, it started out as something I was working on while I was on tour. I made the beat on my laptop in an airport in an hour! Later, when I got home, I was working on new tracks for my album. At the time I was having a conversation with my friends and the line “Fuck, I’m lonely” came out of nowhere. I was like, “Yo, we’ve got to make that a song” – and so we did! The funny thing about it is that it's not about being on the road or anything. It’s about missing someone you used to hook up with. It’s by far my least deep and mysterious song.
With this track, "Sad Forever" and "I’m So Tired", it sounds like you’re in desperate need of a big fucking hug. Is that the case?
Oh my god, yeah! I’ll take a hug, for sure!
Is it easier for you to write pop music from a pessimistic perspective or a positive one?
My natural place to go to isn’t usually straight-up happiness; it’s always some kind of conflicted emotion. For whatever reason, that’s way more inspiring to me. I tend to think that way about everything. Whenever I find love, I always find a way to fuck it up or go way too fast. Eventually, I’ll wake up and think, what the fuck am I doing?!
You do seem like a very excitable person; the kind of person who gets really wrapped up in something that they like and then runs with it.
Yeah that’s what I do! I was in a relationship where I got a matching tattoo within the first week of us being together. It’s crazy, but I don’t regret it for a second. At the time it felt really special.
You’re like, “You sound craaaaazy!”
No, not at all! There’s not enough time in life for regrets. I agree with you.
Exactly! I feel like I’m always moving onto the next thing. I can spend a lot of time thinking about the past, but more recently I’ve kind of let that go. It’s healthier that way, because I often beat myself up for every single thing that I’ve done in the past. I was masochistic; it was really messed up. So now, I’m just gonna do what I wanna do, as long as I’m not harming people.
You’re a master at Instagram, but it has a habit of taking over people’s lives. If you could delete it from your phone right now, would you?
No! I hate it sometimes, but I’m addicted to it. I feel like if I deleted Instagram I’d be like,
“Where do I get attention from? Somebody has to see my dumb antics!” I wish I wasn’t like that. At least it’s fun to connect with people!
You’re 24, turning 25 this year. A lot of people say that we’re not officially adults until we turn 30, but at the same time we’re growing up faster than the generations that came before us. Do you feel like an adult?
I feel like a little kid, but I think it’s a good thing. I’m just as awkward, childish and random – the same weirdo I’ve always been. Now I know myself better though. I’ve learned how to navigate the world a little more. Maybe that makes me more of an adult.
What have you learned in the past year that’s changed the way you see things?
I went through a period of depression and OCD, but I hadn’t realised [that was what it was] yet. My life was impeded by it because I was constantly in a bad place, or anxious, or having these obsessive thoughts. Once I’d learned that medication was actually really helpful for some people with mental health issues, that changed my life entirely. I realised I couldn’t think my way out of all of my problems. That was a big thing for me: to realise that, as corny as it sounds, you need more help than you might think.
As a generation, we’re the first ones to not be ashamed of asking for help when we need it, and it all becomes normalised when famous musicians discuss it.
For sure. I do it because I always have to be an open book. I have to share what’s going on in my life. But also, yeah, the way I got through it was by talking to my best friends when I was at my lowest. They urged me to go get help. At first I was resistant to it, but I’m glad I did it in the end.
So, who do you call when you’re lonely?
For a nice sentimental loneliness, I’d probably call my sister, my mum or one of my best friends.
Lastly, your stage name is Latvian for lion, and your birth name means lion in Hebrew. You’re also a Leo. So, do you believe in star signs and horoscopes?
I half believe in it! I like believing in it for fun, y’know what I mean? But I’m also a very scientific person. Both of my parents are scientists so I grew up super logical. Still, I’ll read my horoscope all the time!
Lauv’s new single "Fuck, I’m Lonely" (featuring Anne-Marie) is out now and you should definitely stream it now because it slaps