Ari Leff – or, as you may know him, Lauv – is a 22-year-old San Francisco native taking the music world by storm. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, his music, particularly chart-topping hits like I Like Me Better and A Different Way, will more than likely ring a bell. A Swiss army knife of the music industry, Lauv is not only a talented musician himself but a DJ, producer, and songwriter for the likes of Demi Lovato and Charlie XCX. Making 2017 his year, Lauv’s particularly notable accomplishments included the aforementioned triple-platinum single, I Like Me Better, and writing on Charlie XCX’s Boys(whose star-studded video made headlines) and Cheat Codes’ double-platinum hit No Promises.

A champion of post-heartbreak artistry, his recently released body of work, I met you when I was 18, is a melodic telling of conflictual self-discovery as a kid, all while being infatuated with another. Purposely referred to “as a body of work” rather than an album, Lauv says in a press release about the playlist, “I met you when I was 18. is a collection of songs, a story. [It’s] about moving to New York City when I was 18 and falling in love for the first time. A story about trying to figure out your own identity whilst being deeply intertwined with someone else’s. It’s a story that, since I released my first song The Otherin 2015, has been told a bit out of order. In pieces, in fragments, and in moments reminisced, but now here it is, in its entirety.”

LAUV spoke to MUSE about his recent release, its meaning, and what we can expect in the future.

I met you when I was 18.is your own personal story of being a kid trying to find himself while being somewhat lost in someone else. During the writing process, how did you establish your own personal touch when writing about an experience as universal as love?

That personal aspect just comes naturally when you’re talking about real things in your life. I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about love. It’s incredibly universal, probably the most universal feeling we experience, yet everyone has their own specific experiences and memories that come with it.

Writing a collection of songs over a period of time and releasing them as they occur is a rather unorthodox way to put out music. How do you think this has added to the telling of your experiences?

I honestly wasn’t even intending to do that as this big intentional thing. It was sort of just the way I was working as I was caught between writing songs for other artists and trying to be an artist myself. That being said, I think sonically you can hear evolution throughout I met you when I was 18.

Throughout I met you when I was 18. there’s a diverse use of different techniques, synths, and vocal layering that seems to dip into various genres. As a producer yourself, what style of music or artist(s) have been the biggest inspiration for your current work, and what are you most excited to experiment with in the future?

That’s a good question. For me, it’s all about writing songs that feel classic at their core but producing them in a way that breaks sonic boundaries and crosses genres. For me, since I moved around so much growing up, I really listened to everything. But some of the biggest stuff for me was Emo, Pop-Punk, Hardcore, and then people like Paul Simon, Chris Martin, and John Mayer. But like as a kid living in Atlanta for a good part of my childhood I listened to a lot of early 2000s rap. 

With an already incredibly impressive CV of musical accomplishments at such a young age, there is no doubt that LAUV has big things planned for the future. You can check out I met you when I was 18.on Apple Music or Sportify!