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For as much as Lauv is known for his intriguing and inventive soundscapes, the multi-Platinum chart-topping singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist asserts himself as a storyteller, first and foremost. As if narrating from a journal out loud, Lauv crystallizes vivid memories and formative experiences through his music. With his unique ability to craft songs which are deeply personal and universally relatable, his stories continue to enchant audiences everywhere.
However, he tells his most personal story yet on his second full-length album, All 4 Nothing.
“The album is about the death of a dream I was chasing and waking to that dream that was already there,” he reveals. “Up until now, I spent so much time trying to be something that I was actually ignoring what was right in front of me. If you want to really experience the magic of life, you don’t get to choose. You can’t pull magic from places where it doesn’t exist. You just have to be aware of its presence in your life, play with it, and create something with it. Ultimately, this album is all about surrendering to love and surrendering to life.”
Lauv has consistently converted the magic around him into generational anthems to the tune of 11 billion streams. After introducing himself with viral sensation “The Other,” his follow-up global smash “I Like Me Better” has tallied over 2 billion streams to date, along with a host of accolades including sextuple-Platinum sales certifications in the US and Platinum sales certifications in 12 other countries, while reaching Top 10 chart positioning at Top 40 radio and Top 5 chart positioning at Hot AC radio in the US, laying the foundation for his Gold-certified 2018 playlist, I Met You When I Was 18, and a procession of hits which followed, including his Gold certified single “There’s No Way” [feat. Julia Michaels].
In 2020, Lauv released his Gold certified full-length debut album, ~how i'm feeling~, bowing in the Top 20 of the Billboard Top 200 and buoyed by double-Platinum single “I’m So Tired…” with Troye Sivan, Gold-single “Fuck, I’m Lonely” [feat. Anne-Marie], “Who” [feat. BTS], “El Tejano” [feat. Sofia Reyes], “Canada” [feat. Alessia Cara] and “Mean It” [feat. LANY]. Inciting tastemaker applause, NME hailed the album as “a powerful, beautiful debut,” while FADER coined it “replay-able pop.” Additionally, Teen Vogue called the record “21 tracks of emotionally-cathartic pop bangers that unpack everything from modern-day romance to love song fatigue.” In between selling out headline tours and supporting Ed Sheeran in stadiums, he performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, The Late Late Show with James Corden, and more.
As the global pandemic descended upon the world, Lauv found himself at a crossroads as he continued to write songs in his home studio.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, I started digging deeper into the songs I was working on and began finding common threads, common themes, and ultimately, the storyline between the songs which comprise this album,” he explains. “On one level, we were all alone, and everyone was rebooting. On another level, it starts from the point of me wanting to be a musician. On the third level, it was about me being a little kid up until now. As these levels crossed one another, I started to realize there are cycles in life. In 2020, I was reassessing the things I wanted when I was younger. I was putting a lot of thought and emphasis on the person I ended up becoming and what I left behind in the process, and at the end of the day, it was all very much about me reconnecting with my inner child.”
In order to do so, he also needed to let go and open up his creative palette.
“It was super different,” he notes. “I was a lot more hands off on the production of these songs than I had been on my previous records. I started off my career producing all of my own music, but as things picked up and my free time became more limited, so did my ability to focus on producing. That’s when I began to enlist the help of co-producers. But in retrospect, I realized I was really just giving up on the version of myself I thought I was—the person who’s control-heavy. That really pushed me and allowed me to experiment more in the process. It opened me up to try new things, to experiment with my approach. Rather than write a song and record it, I would get up on the mic and start freestyling my lyrics. Approaching the creation process that way gave me no time to think about what I was doing or saying – I was just singing what I was feeling in real time, and he lyrics on this album feel more raw and unfiltered because of that. Instead of controlling every little thing, this album was me rediscovering my roots as a person. For a long time, I thought my identity was being in-control of the creative process. But my identity is just me, and I let myself go free.”
Such freedom defines All 4 Nothing. The first single “26” glides along on a dazzling double-time guitar riff as he offers a series of plaintive confessions over glitchy synths and skittering bass. From the jump, he sings, “Can I tell you a story about a boy who broke his own heart and he always blamed everybody else, but the truth is that he did it to himself.”
“The song was freeing,” he admits. “It’s basically about conflicting feelings you experience when you look back at your life. You got what you wanted and are grateful, but you still feel like shit. I needed somewhere to put the pain. It was a ‘What the fuck?’ moment.”
Meanwhile, the track “Kids Are Born Stars” shines with neon keys and glassy beats as a nostalgic hook echoes.
“It’s about being young and awkward,” he elaborates. “One line remembers my eighth-grade dance. I was in middle school, and I had a crush on this girl. I reminisced on wanting to be important back then, because I was rejected by her.”
Then, there’s “All 4 Nothing (I’m So In Love).” It marked his very first co-write with his girlfriend Sophie Cates, and their harmonies shimmer as eighties keys glisten through a dancefloor-ready beat.
“We had one of these super deep falling in love moments,” he smiles. “She came back to the room, and I had the whole chorus. ‘All 4 Nothing (I’m So In Love)’ is really our song.”
Lauv not only embraces, but also realizes his potential on All 4 Nothing. “There’s an unspoken magical feeling to this album,” he leaves off. “It curates an energy of openness, wonder, and excitement, but also vulnerability and realness. I hope it opens up a vortex to something you haven’t felt in a while—a place where you can build yourself up from.”