Lauv: late nights, deep talks tour

In his early teens, Ari Leff picked up a guitar and started writing songs that uncannily captured all the nuance of heartbreak. “For whatever reason, before I ever had any sort of relationship, I had this weird obsession with writing love songs and breakup songs,” says the L.A.-based singer/songwriter/producer. “I remember being a kid and my dad asking me, ‘Why do you write all these sad songs all the time?’ But to me that’s always been one of the most beautiful ways to connect with people on a real level. There’s nothing like openness of being in love, and for me that vulnerability is maybe the most important part of being alive.”

On “The Other”—Leff’s breakthrough single under the moniker of Lauv—that unguarded honesty instills a slow-burning fusion of R&B and indie-pop. Featured on Lauv’s independently released debut EP Lost in the Light, the quietly aching track shot to #11 on Spotify’s Today’s Top Hits playlist and has now amassed over 100 million streams on the platform. With “I Like Me Better” (a spring-2017 single that surpassed 100 million streams in three months), Lauv offers up a more uptempo track built on gracefully sculpted beats and shimmering melody. But even with its brighter mood, “I Like Me Better” still delivers the soul-baring lyrics and intimate vocals that perfectly reflect Lauv’s artistic mission.

“Being vulnerable is the hardest thing for so many people, including myself, but it’s also the most satisfying thing,” says Leff. “In day-to-day life there’s so much that’s calculated: so many fake, surface- level interactions that don’t amount to anything. Getting away from that and being completely real in my music has been so cathartic for me, and my hope is that my songs can somehow empower people to be real with themselves and with other people too.”

Since releasing “The Other” (which hit the Global Top 100 on Spotify), Lauv has reached the Spotify Top 20 in nine countries and charted on iTunes in 33 countries—all while operating as an entirely independent artist. When not working on his own music, he’s often penning tracks for major pop artists: his recent songwriting cuts include Charli XCX’s “Boys” (named a “Best New Track” by Pitchfork) and “No Promises” by Cheat Codes feat. Demi Lovato (a #10 hit on Billboard’s US Mainstream Top 40 chart). Lauv has also emerged as an in-demand featured artist, with recent appearances including DJ Snake’s “A Different Way.”

Berkeley-based group Bows is the brainchild of Kaila McIntyre-Bader and Luke Bace. The night before flying out to New York for several CMJ showcases with their other band (Big Tree), Kaila fell off her bike and broke BOTH her elbows (hence the band name). Luke rushed her to the ER where she promptly received double casts, and the next morning they flew across the country. When they returned, Kaila was unable to play piano, so she started messing around with some new sounds on her computer. She asked Luke if he could replicate them with his synthesizers, and he accepted the challenge. As Kaila's arms slowly healed, Luke worked on developing a whole new world of ear candy, and Bows was born.

The Day We Left is a concept album about post-apocalyptic space travel, lost love, conspiracy, and adventure, to be released in 2016. The duo, along with collaborators and friends, captures sounds in their little Berkeley house primarily in pajamas and/or underwear.

ADV TIX $12 / DOORS $15.


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ADV TIX $12 / DOORS $15.

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