In a world dominated by technology and social media, the societal pressures of the spotlight can be a lot to handle, but in the case of self-proclaimed "one man boyband", Lauv, his creativity has truly flourished despite this. Starting his meteoric rise to fame in 2015 with the ballad, "The Other", his seemingly overnight success has now lasted five years, culminating in his long-awaited debut album, ~how i'm feeling~.
Known to his friends as Ari, during the past five years, much of the music world has seen the Californian alt-pop savant mature from a nervy, yet inspired singer-songwriter into a fully-fledged pop superstar. His 2018 project "I met you when I was 18." chronicled the early stages of his musical journey, and when prompted on the growth between then and now, he stated that, "musically, I just feel I'm way more diverse on this album and I feel like I'm expressing every part of my personality and how it's grown."
It's this mentality of personalities coming in different "parts" that plays an intrinsic overarching theme throughout this project, reason being is that no human is defined by one characteristic, and in the same regard, his music shouldn't be characterised so bluntly. The album cover introduces this segmentation, alluding to the "boy band" element with a flurry of smaller versions of himself representing the traits, "purple (existential Lauv), blue (hopeless romantic Lauv), green (goofy Lauv), yellow (positive Lauv), orange (f*ckboy Lauv) and red (spicy Lauv), all of which make up [his] identity."
With such a diverse array of emotion so boldly represented on the album, much of it touches on the more vulnerable side of the spectrum, often relying on songwriting metaphor to address his experience with mental health. As an artist that very much wears his heart on his sleeve, and with so many eyes on him in such formative years, the success came with an understandable amount of internal challenges. With the conversation on mental health thankfully happening more and more, Ari shared that, "I think it's super important that people are talking about this, you know? Every person that gets to read something from somebody else who's opening up about it is a chance for somebody else to feel understood and feel like they can open up themselves".
"~how i'm feeling~" feels like a long time coming for a debut album, and aside from it arriving five years into his career, we had our first taste back in January of 2019 with "i'm so tired...", a wildly successful collaboration with Troye Sivan. From then, and up until the album's release, he shared an almost unprecedented ten lead-up singles, an album's worth of material in itself. When prompted if he had any personal highlights from the lead-up, he noted "Modern Loneliness" as a personal favourite "just because to me, it's says everything I've felt and wanted to say for a long time, but couldn't find a way to say it".
A further eleven tracks join them for an hour-long foray, and he wasn't as particular in choosing a favourite, "Lonely Eyes is one of my favourites, Invisible Things, Who with BTS, it's hard to choose! Canada, so many..." With much of the tone of the album already being set, the release of the album arrives as an invite further into his mind. Moreover, it displays the artistic potential he has for ushering modern pop towards a more emotive state through his groundbreaking and trendsetting success.
Despite the time in which it took Lauv to release his debut album, don't expect to wait as long for more, with Ari closing out with "I hope to release another album this year, I'm working very hard on new music".
~how i'm feeling~ is out now, independently through AWAL.