You probably know Francisco-born singer-songwriter Lauv from his catchy 2018 single “I Like Me Better.” Listening to the track, it’s not hard to realize we’re listening to a hopeless romantic, which is how Lauv—who says he started writing love songs well before he ever fell in—would describe himself. “I Like Me Better” opens I Met You When I Was 18, a playlist he updated gradually until completing it in May 2018. The compilation offers a detailed musical description of an important chapter in his life, chronicling his move to New York City, where he attended NYU, the first time he fell in love and the self-discovery that ensued.
Since then, Lauv has supported Ed Sheeran on the Asian leg of his Divide Tour, and embarked on a headlining world tour of his own. Most recently, he released a track with new friend, Troye Sivan. Ahead of the Asian leg of own his tour, we chatted with the singer about his obsession with love songs, his musical beginning, how he keeps his concerts interactive and what he’s looking forward to.
I hear you were obsessed with writing love songs or break up songs as a teenager before ever being in a relationship. Care to explain that fixation?
I guess when I first started writing songs at 13, even though I had never been in a serious relationship, I had always been a super hopeless romantic. I loved to dream about what I thought love or heartbreak would be like. The songs were really bad, but I guess it was one of the only things I was obsessed with expressing at the time. When you start writing songs, it’s probably the first thing you think to write about anyways. It was kind of just my vibe.
How was the experience of moving to New York for school?
I was super afraid of moving to New York. When I would visit I thought it was overwhelming and you just have no bearings. It is one of those cities where, until you get used to it, it’s impossible to feel grounded in, but it was honestly one of the best decisions I ever made. I was lucky to be able to go to NYU to study music and psychology. I had a lot of my first experiences in New York, like falling in love for the first time, hence “I Like Me Better.” And all of my I met you when I was 18 project was inspired by my time in New York.
What were you up to musically before releasing music as Lauv?
When I first started writing songs at 13, I didn’t know you could write for other people. I just wanted to be an artist, play in bands and do my own thing. I kind of did that, but at a certain point, when I was 14 or 15, I wrote a song about feeling like my career wasn’t taking shape and that it was too late for me. From there, I decided maybe I couldn’t be an artist and thought I should just work at a studio or be an engineer. Then I learned you could write and produce for other people and I became obsessed with that. The funny thing was that nobody cut or recorded my songs—no big artists or anything like that—until after I released music as Lauv.
Tell me about “My Blue Thoughts,” a box at your concerts where audience members can drop a piece of paper with whatever’s on their mind at the moment.
That was something that I had been thinking about for a long time. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do on this tour, but I just knew that I wanted to have an interactive way for people to be able to get something off of their chest. I wanted to create that opportunity for anybody who is at a Lauv show to say anything anonymously and not be judged. I thought it would be really cool to unify people and take photos of the notes every night. It helps to see that a lot of people all around the world were feeling a lot of the same things. The human experience is very universal in a lot of ways, and even though it can seem like we are alone in the things we are feeling, there are millions of other people going through the same thing. So that’s really important to me.
How did ‘I’m So Tired,’ your new song with Troye Sivan, come about?
Troye and I met a couple of times, first at a rehearsal space. And then we met again when we played a show together. We decided to get into the studio and at first, we wrote another song, but it was pretty bad. I don’t even remember what it was called or what it was about, but that was where we started. I had written the chorus of ‘I’m So Tired’ a few days before and I was really nervous, but at the end of the session, I was like let me just see if Troye likes this idea. I played it for him and he freaked out. I was super stoked. We wrote the rest of the song and I was like ‘yo, you wanna do this with me?,’ and he was like ‘hell yeah.’ Now Troye has become a good friend so I am really thankful for the opportunity.
How do you feel about going on your first headlining tour in Asia:
I am so excited. I got to go to Asia with Ed Sheeran at the end of 2017. That was an absolutely life-changing experience. I got to play in arena and Ed is such a legend, but I am even more excited for my tour because the shows are mine and I am going to be playing new music from, ‘How I’m Feeling,’ my new project. It’s like an ongoing album and I’m really excited to roll out the new show and some new music. It’s just crazy how so many of the shows are sold out and I just love my fans there so much. They’ve been so supportive and it’s been a long time since I have been back, so I’m super stoked.