Editors’ Notes Lauv is a pop star communicating love and life for Generation Mindful—and it’s a position held with much sincerity. “Artists get encouraged to find their ‘thing’ and I think that’s super unhealthy,” he tells Apple Music. In search of an antidote, Lauv introduced The One Man Boyband, an eccentric online video series that outlines the basis of his debut studio album ~how i'm feeling~. “We created these six different characters that represent different aspects of my personality,” he explains. “I wanted to find a way to visually represent that in a way that was simple, but also somewhat funny.” ~how i'm feeling~ is the artist born Ari Staprans Leff distilled across 21 tracks, feeling Purple (“existential”), Blue (“hopeless romantic”), Red (“spicy”), Yellow (“positive”), Green (“goofy”), and sometimes Orange (“f**kboy”). Though the album’s theme runs deeply personal, Lauv connects with a wide-ranging cast of collaborators, each helping to lure a new dimension out of him. Over infectious flamenco licks, he’s joined by Sofía Reyes for the bilingual pop anthem “El Tejano,” and on the wintry ballad “Who,” he layers wondrous harmonies alongside K-pop sensations BTS. In a fun exploration of the many strands that make the man, Lauv talks us through the album, picking out some color-coded key tracks.
Drugs & The Internet (Orange & Purple) “That was the first song I had written for the album. My project before was all love songs, heartbreak songs, hopeless romantic, blah, blah, blah. I think that was the beginning of me being like, ‘Okay, I'm going to really open this door musically and stop trying to filter myself,’ which is also a big part of the concept, too. I felt like before I was filtering myself as an artist—only showing one side.”
f**k, i’m lonely (feat. Anne-Marie) [from 13 Reasons Why Season 3] (Blue) “I usually know when a song happens pretty fast that they're usually the best ones. I made the beat when I was on tour, in an airport. It was super quick, and then I came home and I was hanging with my best friend who I do a lot of my songwriting with. The chorus came from a conversation. The whole song was written pretty quickly; it just felt like one of those catchy songs that I could see people resonating with. I sent it to Anne-Marie—I think she was back home and I was in LA working on the album—and she absolutely smashed it.”
Sims (Blue) “‘Sims’ for me was an important one, especially as we made a short film around that one. That was one of the ways we broke down the concept of the different characters in The One Man Boyband. Funny thing about the song—I actually don't even know that much about the game Sims, but the whole thing about the song is wondering how you can do a situation differently. Whether it's a romantic situation, you meet somebody at a party and choke up and you don't say the right thing, and then they leave and you're like, I wonder if they could have been my wife, or whatever, any situation.”
Billy (Green) “My favorite is Green, just because he doesn't take s**t seriously. He doesn't show up much because he's f**king weird. I have no idea how this song happened. I went through a really s**tty time—I got really, really depressed and was diagnosed with OCD and depression, so I wrote some songs about that. I ended getting prescribed some antidepressants and I woke up one week, so unbelievably happy, every day, like crazy, crazy. Within a week span, I bought a house, I got my dog, I bought all this art. I went crazy, and all my friends were like, 'Yo, what the f**k is going on? You were just super depressed. This is not normal.' Essentially, I was some version of manic. I was just super elevated. I would be in the middle of making one song, and then an entire other song would happen in 10 minutes. 'Billy' was one the songs that just came out of nowhere while I was working on something else. My dog is named Billy, I think that's where the name came from. I had just gotten him, and to the song, it's somewhat fantasy, somewhat autobiographical.”
Feelings (Blue) “I think this might be the only song on the album that I mixed myself. It was one of my babies, so I was very protective about how I wanted it to sound. One of my best friends, Jaime—she helps me a lot on the A&R side—she was like, ‘Oh, I know this amazing producer who can help you on the song.’ So I met him, and that same day, we were just vibin’. His girlfriend, another amazing songwriter named Andrea, she came in, and just by chance, we wrote ‘Feelings’ in an hour. I was just not expecting that. It’s about when you're on the edge with someone new and it's like, ‘Come on, let's just go for it.’”
Canada (feat. Alessia Cara) (Yellow & Blue) “I was dating this girl and she sent me a screenshot of trending topics on Twitter, and the top topic that day was ‘Studies show if you're looking for the best quality of life, you should move to Canada.’ I wrote the song with Phoebe Bridgers—she's amazing—and then I sent it to Alessia, I thought she would do something amazing for that song. I've been in LA for three and a half years now, I was in New York for four years before that, in school, and I feel like at this point, it would be so hard for me to not live in some type of city, just because I need stuff always happening. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful nature and stuff, but I'd just go crazy.”
For Now (Blue) “What happens at my shows is the production's pretty big—there’s really huge moments, huge video wall, and a lot of content and stuff. But then I strip it down for that song, to just one single microphone and my acoustic guitar. I have to get the entire room to be silent for people to hear me. I was nervous that it wouldn't work, but it actually works—99.9% of the time. I was about to play and somebody said something, so someone else in the crowd turned and said, ‘SHUT THE F**K UP!’ You can find the video on TikTok, actually—it was so funny. It's one of my favorite moments in the show because unpredictable stuff happens every time.”
Mean It (Red) “I started [writing the song] in New York a while ago, with a couple of my best friends, Michael Pollack and Michael Matosic. I sat on it for a while. Then, me and Paul [Klein] from LANY had been talking, we hung out, and Twitter was always like, ‘LANY and Lauv, Lauv and LANY, they need to collab,’ so on and so forth. When I first came to LA, I found their stuff, and been listening since they were putting s**t out on SoundCloud. Before I was Lauv, I had a DJ project that I was doing remixes under. I did this bootleg remix one night to ‘I Love You So Bad.’ I don't think they even know that, but I was definitely a longtime fan. My mom is obsessed with 'Mean It.' After it came out, she was like, 'Paul's voice is so amazing.' I think she low-key has a crush on Paul.”
Tell My Mama (Orange) “I reference things, drugs and whatever. I think the way that I sing about it, I listen back and I'm like, 'All right, it's a little f**kboy.' Somebody might take it as if you're bragging about it or something like that.”
Who (feat. BTS) (Purple) “When you get to that chorus and the stacked vocals, the back harmonies and stuff, I thought it'd be really sick. I met them at Wembley. That was when they asked me to do the remix for ‘Make It Right.’ ‘Make It Right’ was my favorite song off of that project [MAP OF THE SOUL : PERSONA]. That song, just talk about brilliant, brilliant melodies, some of the best melodies in the world. Think Ed Sheeran's on that one—an absolute icon of a songwriter, obviously, and artist, and person. I was so lucky to go on tour with him. Every time I go to London and we hang, he tries to get me to get a beanie wrap from Nando's, and I got to be honest, I'm not really a beanie wrap type of guy.”
El Tejano (feat. Sofía Reyes) (Red) “It means ‘The Texan,’ I believe. You know when you move to a new city and quickly find your spots? We found this bar and restaurant [in downtown LA] called El Tejano, and I started going there three or four times a week. It's just the most chill place and they've got a good fish taco. Me and my best friends are always joking about making a song about it, and one day we finally got the song right, I knew it had to be on the album. When I sent her the song, the way I knew it was perfect and meant to be is she was like, 'Yo, I actually love El Tejano. I go there all the time.’”
Tattoos Together (Yellow) “I was seeing this girl—super, super, super quick into seeing her, I went to Portland and got a matching tattoo with her. I've never done that before, and I'm very much an overthinker for the most part. I don't just do stuff like that, and I just did it. I don't know for sure if she'll still keep it. It's not each other's names or anything, it's a really cute tattoo, and honestly even though the relationship didn't work out, it marks a time in my life that I was just so happy and so in love. I have a few really dumb tattoos, and you know what, at least I can say at that moment it was something that I felt strongly about.”
Changes (Purple) “That song was very much a journey song for me. I started writing it before I was diagnosed. Not being dramatic here—I spent the entire month in my bed, just in a horrible place. The only way I could get myself to write a song, I put a little s**tty keyboard in my bedroom, and that was the only place I was really able to work on a song. I'm just super lucky that I do what I do and I wasn't working an office job or something, because I would've just fallen apart. So, I started ‘Changes’ then, and then I finished it after I got to a much better place. I was like, ‘I love this song, maybe I can finish it.’ That's how I got the perspective to finish. It was once I had actually got happy again.”
Sad Forever (Purple) “One of the best ways I would describe the difference between, for me, sadness and depression is I felt like there was this heavy blanket between me and the world. It wasn't just normal sadness. I felt like I couldn't really feel. I almost started to feel numb. I couldn't really feel joy or anything out of life anymore. I thought I wanted to quit music. I just felt super not me, and that's where ‘Sad Forever’ came about. One day I decided I wanted to record a little monologue on my iPhone. In one of my friends’ cars, I just stream-of-consciousness spoke about what happened in my life around ‘Sad Forever.’ Then, before I play it at every show, I walk off stage and the screen goes black and text appears, and you hear that iPhone voice memo. Then, I come and play.”
Modern Loneliness (Purple) “I've been playing it in rehearsals, and not to be melodramatic, but I literally cry. When it gets to that last chorus, I just lose it. I don't know why, it's just an emotional song for me. That one was the most important song to me. I love that song so, so, so, so, so much.”
Drugs & The Internet
f**k, i'm lonely (feat. Anne-Marie)
Canada (feat. Alessia Cara)
Lauv & LANY
Tell My Mama
Who (feat. BTS)
i'm so tired...
Lauv & Troye Sivan
El Tejano (feat. Sofía Reyes)
21 Songs, 1 Hour, 6 Minutes
March 6, 2020
℗ 2020 Lauv under exclusive license to AWAL Recordings America, Inc.
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