New York-based singer/songwriter Ari Leff, aka Lauv, makes yearning, electronic-based, R&B-influenced pop. Regarding himself foremost as a storyteller, in addition to a producer and musician, he’s known for his catchy tunes about heartbreak, loneliness, and the complexities of growing up. He broke through with his 2017 worldwide hit “I Like Me Better,” which was included on I Met You When I Was 18, a playlist of his early singles. His 2020 full-length debut, How I'm Feeling, featured guests like Troye Sivan, BTS, and Alessia Cara and reached the Top 20 in several countries. His 2022 single “26” arrived in advance of his second album, All 4 Nothing.
Interested in music from a young age, the San Francisco-born Leff took piano and viola lessons as a child before picking up the guitar around age 11. During high school, he played in several bands and studied jazz before discovering electronic music production. However, it was while attending NYU as a music tech major in 2014 that a bad breakup found him on his own and digging deep into his writing and recording process. Out of this period came the song “The Other,” co-written with songwriter/instrumentalist Michael Matosic. Released under Leff’s stage name Lauv (inspired by the Latvian “lauve,” or lion), the song went viral after gaining blog attention and peaked at number three on blog aggregator Hype Machine. In 2015, he returned with his debut EP, Lost in the Light, which featured “The Other.”
More tracks followed, including 2015′s “Reforget” and 2016′s “Question” featuring Travis Mills. In 2017, Lauv headed his own Late Nights, Deep Talks tour and premiered the official video for “The Other,” along with a series of remixes. Released in May of that year, Lauv’s single “I Like Me Better” became a breakout international hit and was later featured on his self-titled second EP that October. The single was also included on his 2018 “playlist” compilation I Met You When I Was 18, which also featured the singles “Paranoid” and “Bracelet.” The track “Drugs and the Internet” and hit collaborations with Troye Sivan (“I’m So Tired…“) and Anne-Marie (“Fuck, I’m Lonely”) carried him into 2019. Both songs were included on his debut studio full-length, 2020′s How I'm Feeling, which also featured guest appearances by LANY, Sofia Reyes, BTS, and Alessia Cara. The album debuted at number 16 on the Billboard 200 and number nine in the U.K. An EP titled Without You appeared shortly after.
Lauv welcomed in the new year on December 31 with the uplifting single “2021.” He then guested on DallasK’s single “Try Again.” In January of 2022, he announced the completion of his second album and released the single “26.” All 4 Nothing arrived in August. ~ Matt Collar & Paul Simpson