Ari Straprans Leff, known musically as Lauv, began writing music when he was 13 years old.
Since then, the American-Latvian singer has written songs for artists including Demi Lovato, Cheat Codes and Charli XCX. He was recruited by his EDM idol, DJ Snake, to sing the vocals on his latest track, "A Different Way." He released his own single, "I Like Me Better," which just vaulted past the 200-million mark on Spotify. And he yielded an additional 300 million streams in under a year's time.
Although humble, Lauv attributes his success as an artist to his vast understanding of all facets of the music industry, complete obsession with the craft and "countless hours of writing song after song after song" as well as "learning how to produce."
A self-proclaimed over-thinker, he said music is his therapy; it lets him escape from his usually "heady" ways. But knowing so much about the industry can actually be a hindrance for the 23 year old. Lauv said he sometimes envies fellow artists who have no technical knowledge because it gives them the freedom to just do "what feels right."
Lauv recently returned from Asia, where he opened for Ed Sheeran, and is busy prepping to go on a world tour of his own starting in January 2018.
When asked how he managed to land the dream gig with Ed, Lauv explained it was a day like any other. He was in the middle of a morning run when his manager called to discuss a totally unrelated topic, and before hanging up, his manager threw in, "By the way, what do you think about opening for Ed Sheeran in arenas in Southeast Asia?"
"I don't know how you can start a day better off," Lauv said smiling. "It was before my morning coffee."
Lauv also disproved the 21st-century stigma that sliding into someone's DMs won't get you anywhere. He said he and DJ Snake -- who he had spent years listening to and loving -- began following each other on Twitter. Then the latter made the bold move. He told Lauv he was "a big fan," and that's how "A Different Way" came to be.
To Lauv, the beauty of the song lies in his "emotional" lyrics combined with DJ Snake's "next-level drops."