San Francisco-born artist Lauv
Philstar.com/Seph Asong
International star Lauv: ‘Manila feels like second home’
Seph Asong (Philstar.com) - May 22, 2019 - 3:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — In a short time, 24-year old Lauv, or Ari Leff in real life, catapulted to mainstream popularity as the alt-pop singer-songwriter who makes nostalgic heartbreak songs for the next generation. 

Amid the typical electronic dance music-induced and sex-themed songs of today, his music evokes authenticity and promises escapism — something that the younger crowd can connect with. 

It was in 2015 when the San Francisco-born artist released his first debut album, “Lost in the Light,” which scored a major breakthrough with “I Like Me Better” in Billboard Hot 100. The mid-tempo electro-pop song was an unexpected feat but has proven to be life-changing; accelerating Lauv to an overnight sensation.

Now with over a billion streams on Spotify, when people hear the name Lauv, they instantly associate him to sappy pop songs but with meaningful lyrics that send chills; a guaranteed tear-jerker as they say. 

His penchant for writing about romantic and earnest existential tragic songs stems from real life experiences that range from fear of falling in love, losing someone, and depression; topics that really matter and hit close to home. When you think about it, one can easily dismiss that it is a gimmick to keep him relevant in the scene, but for Lauv, it is just who he is. 

In fact, in most of his shows, he would have a box for what he calls “My Blue Thoughts,” and in it, his fans or audience can drop strips of paper on which they have jotted down their thoughts—anything from funny to really powerful and heart-wrenching words. From this, his 2018 “Superhero” came to life. These notes are shared on Lauv’s blog and Instagram, much like sharing a delicate communal openness with his fans. 

What makes Lauv special?

It is often said that more than anything else, an artist’s vocal strength will either make or break his career, and a defining factor for longevity in the music business. 

For Lauv, however, it is a mixture of pure talent, personality, and an impeccable song writing skills that led to some of his chart-topping hits today, making him one of the most listened emerging artists. 

He is a certified quadruple powerhouse—singer, multi-genre songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, which allowed him to carve his name in a highly-saturated modern musical landscape where synth-heavy songs and breezy guitar pop reign supreme. 

His ability to connect to a global audience just by keeping things real has allowed him to amass hundreds of millions of followers on Instagram and all streaming platforms. 

Back to the time when he recorded his first ever heartbreak ballad called “The Other” and uploaded it on blog aggregator Hype Machine, he then knew it was something really special as it quickly gained tremendous traction. Shortly thereafter, multiple labels have been reaching out to him non-stop to publish his music and offered to manage his career. 

Fast-forward to summer 2019, Lauv seemed to have nailed down the formula on how to make a hit track as he is currently flooding the market, releasing a slew of singles like “Paris in the Rain,” “Reforget,” “Never Not,” “Bracelet,” and “I’m So Tired,” a recent collaboration with another rising pop star, Troye Sivan. 

Lauv finally returns to Manila

Marking his third visit to Manila, Lauv was reunited with his Filipino fans during his concert recently held at the Big Dome last May 20, where hundreds of thousands came, making the night his biggest concert to date. 

Armed with a keyboard and electric guitar on stage, Lauv performed an impressive repertoire of 21 tracks, most of which were his ballads, and the rest were danceable songs that got everyone to their feet. 

The thing with Lauv is that he really makes his fans feel they are part of the show. Trying to catch his breath after a song, he consciously asked everyone if he looked awkward on stage, indicating that he is not a good dancer, which earned him laughs and loud screams of “Mahal Kita” (I love you) from fans of all ages. 

He even said, “When I was a kid, I would go to concerts and wave my own light sticks and scream at the top of my lungs for my favorite artist. Now, I’m right here on stage and you guys are waving these lights. I want you to know how amazing and surreal this feeling is right now. Manila feels like a second home to me.”

And then the unexpected happened. Some were left astonished and speechless, others just kept screaming. After singing “Chasing Fire,” he briefly disappeared on stage and re-appeared in the middle of the roaring fans—yes, right in the middle of Araneta Coliseum—where the fans were seated. 

He first performed “Story Never Ends” and at that point, everyone just lost it. Everyone took their phones out with beaming lights to make the song even more special. 

But what came next was the highlight of his concert as he told his fans that he wrote a special song while on the plane on his way to Manila. The new unreleased song called “Sad Forever” talks about battling his own loneliness, obviously something very personal for him. 

At that moment, everyone finally understood what makes Lauv’s music so special: it is his ability to draw the most vulnerable human emotion out of a song and make it positive and uplifting. 

To make things extra special for his fans, he added, “We’re capturing the whole thing on video and we’re hoping this could be the music video. So Manila, are you down for this?”

Lauv has clearly touched so many souls through his songs, and if there are more artists like him, artists who are passionate about making good music that can positively impact a person’s life, then the world would definitely be a much better place. 

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