Lauv - The Independent - San Francisco

Q&A: Lauv

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Lauv has just started a world tour and will be performing a sold-out show at The Independent in San Francisco on Jan. 23. The San Francisco born singer with the unique name – which means “Lion” in Latvian – is riding high on the success of being first an artist, but also a songwriter for some of today’s most popular acts.

The 23-year-old artist’s single “I Like Me Better” is in heavy rotation on MTV and has just catapulted past the 260-million mark on Spotify, and you all must have heard by now the hit he co-wrote that went on to be a gold-certified Top 5 smash “No Promises,” by Cheat Codes and Demi Lovato. Other impressive accolades include writing “Boys” for Charli XCX, as well as being featured on DJ Snake’s new single. And if that wasn’t enough, he just wrapped up a tour opening for Ed Sheeran in Asia.

While gearing up for his latest trek around the world, Lauv spoke with Music in SF™ about touring with Ed Sheeran, what it’s like to write music for pop stars, and what the differences are between U.S. and Asian audiences.

What’s going on musically with you?

I am currently home finishing new music for my playlist I met you when I was 18. The playlist tells a story about a big part of my life and is sort of the first chapter of my music, as well as the title of the world tour I’m about to start.

How was your recent Asia tour with Ed Sheeran?

Indescribably incredible. I mean getting to tour with Ed is an absolute dream, not only because he’s such an inspiring artist to watch, but he’s also one of the most genuine, down-to-earth person I’ve ever met. It was also my first time going to Asia and playing in arenas, so all around it was a huge moment for me. I’ll hold those few weeks in a very special place in my heart forever, you know?

What’s one valuable lesson you learned from him?

I can’t say there was one particular lesson, per se, but more so just watching him do his thing on stage. Creating such an amazing show as a solo performer. From the way he stacked all the parts musically live himself, to the way he controlled such massive crowds with absolute mastery. It was really inspiring.

What are some differences between audiences in Asia and here in the U.S.?

I had heard that the audiences can be way different in Asia than the U.S., but to be honest, it was not nearly as much as I was led to believe. The people were all really receptive and energetic, which I was not necessarily expecting since I was the opening act. There was a moment every night during my song “Breathe” where everyone would turn on their phone flashlights. That was when the whole playing in an arena thing really hit. I literally teared up.

I read that your mall shows in Asia were insane. Can you describe the craziest scene you witnessed over there?

Those shows were some of the most energetic I’ve played to date for sure. I’d have to say that the moment of walking off stage at the end of the first Manila show and people from the crowd immediately chasing me on my way out, was something I wasn’t prepared for. Having to have a team of bodyguards in a place that I’d never been to in my life kinda blew my mind. But the passion I felt in those rooms is a feeling I will never forget. Those mall shows were really special.

You’re going on a world tour soon. What cities are you most excited about playing?

I’m honestly just so excited for the whole thing. I’m playing in a lot of cities that I’ve never been to, which is always my favorite. I’m especially excited to go to Australia and Japan for the first time. Going to journey for the best sushi ever.

You’re hitting the Independent in San Francisco on January 23. Have you played this city before?

Oh yes! I love San Francisco. I was actually born there and have a lot of family nearby. I’m so excited to come back. And for two nights!

What’s it like to co-write with such big names as Charli XCX, Cheat Codes, and Demi Lovato?

You know, I’m really honored and humbled by the people I’ve been lucky enough to work within my career so far. But to be totally real, they’re all people. Like you, like me. It’s always awesome collaborating with other passionate people though. I feel like there’s always something I can learn from them.

You’re originally from Latvia, do you ever go back?

My mom’s side of the family is from there. I used to go every summer as a kid and it’s definitely a special place for me and my whole family. Now I try to get back there every couple of years. I think I’m gonna get to go again this year actually!

Your name “Lauv” is Latvian for “Lion.” Can you talk about the symbolism behind that?

Yeah, It comes from the Latvian word “lauva.” My birthday is in August, which makes me a Leo. And my real name, Ari, also means lion. So I just put it all together!

What’s it like to have 250 million streams on Spotify?

It’s insane to me that “I Like Me Better” just crossed 300 million streams. Like how do you grasp that number?! It’s insane. And the fact that some of my biggest cities on there are across the world. It just makes me that much more excited to go on tour and actually get context for the numbers. To feel that energy all over the world. I feel like the luckiest man on earth.

Lauv, Ashe // Tue, Jan 23, 2018 // Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm // $15 ADV – $18 DOOR
Buy tickets HERE

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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