The answer, before his global success, was obvious: make music, be satisfied. But what happens when the formula you thought would work doesn’t quite add up?
Embodying his younger self in Kids Are Born Stars, Lauv accepts the rejection of a girl he loved because “someday I’m gonna be a really big star.”
Now, he is. But is he happy? Summoning courage, he answers in a breathless, quiet response on the album’s track Hey Ari: “No.”
“That’s sort of the light and dark of the album,” he says. “In the darker moments, there’s trying to fill the void of the emptiness … and then there’s that balance of trying to navigate that.”
And in the lighter moments, there’s love. The album is packed with expressions of adoration to mostly unnamed lovers – although in stark contrast to his previous work, the only collaboration on this album is with his singer-songwriter girlfriend Sophie Cates.
The couple started dating during the pandemic in 2020, and have been together through the many ups and downs of the last two years, which Lauv says have been personally transformative.
The lockdowns and general anxiety of 2020 left him “very frantic and in my head”, and disconnected from his own soul. The last two years have been a journey of reconnection.
“A big part of what helped me connect so much with that part of myself was writing this album,” he says. “I wrote most of it on the microphone freestyling, which is something I’ve never done before, which was really fun. Don’t think, just go, sing, and put words and melodies in the moment, and then see if you have a song.
“And so the songs ended up being really direct and just kind of like, ‘This is what I was feeling in the moment,’ which was a really … freeing process for me.”
So has he worked out “what the f— does this all mean?” He’s not yet fully convinced of his answer, but lying on his couch in his LA home with a smile, he reveals the best answer he’s got yet: “You really can’t explain the best things and you’ve just got to f—-ing vibe and love yourself and love other people.”
Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.