Welcome to the new episode the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, your one-stop-shop for all things pop on Billboard's weekly charts. In addition, you can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world pop.
Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard co-director charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard deputy editor, digital, Katie Atkinson, every week on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes. (Click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition the show on Billboard.com).
On the latest show, we’re joined by rising pop singer-songwriter Lauv! The 23-year-old (real name: Ari Leff) has been climbing the Pop Songs airplay chart with his breakout hit “I Like Me Better,” which debuted on the list last November and currently sits in the top 15 the tally. The tune, which was released in May 2017, has collected over 200 million on-demand streams in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. (In total, Lauv’s catalog songs have earned 435 million streams.)
“It’s very surreal for me to watch all this happen,” Lauv tells Billboard about the success “I Like Me Better.” “Especially because it was probably the fastest song that I’ve written.”
Though the track has been out in the world for a year now, and Lauv has played it oodles times in his live shows and for other promotional appearances, he hasn’t tired the tune. “Pretty much every single time I play it I’m able to get totally in the moment and it’s always fun. Honestly. For real, because I know that happens to a ton artists where you start to resent the song that does something for you.”
“Growing up,” Lauv says, “I played in different bands and did a lot self-booked touring and traveling around and my sister was driving us on tour and we’re playing for nobody and literally begging my friends that I went to high school with to buy tickets to our shows. This is something I’ve been dreaming about for so long, and so to finally be there on stage, I feel like I would an asshole if I can’t appreciate it, you know what I mean?”
Lauv also chats about his new single “Chasing Fire,” which he co-wrote with friend–the-podcast Friendship.
“I wrote it with them actually before I moved to L.A. I was doing a writing trip. And always felt the song was special but didn’t quite know what do with it. It was just in a very rough demo form.” But, the song remained unfinished, though Lauv says, “I always kept coming back to it.”
Eventually, Lauv cut vocals for the track in Toronto while he was on tour earlier this year and when he finished it, there was a sense “oh! wow!,” he says. “We came in a couple years later and finally figured out how to produce it.”
After he started recording new vocals, swelling hums, and claps for the song, he says “it just kind started to happen.”
“It’s a song desperation, really. It’s not just sad. It’s basically… there’s a sense urgency. I wanted it to feel like desperate and driving and running as opposed to it just being sad.”
Both “I Like Me Better” and “Chasing Fire” can be found on Lauv’s playlist — not album — I met you when I was 18.
“I’m a big believer in not forcing anything and I feel like there’s really no rules at this point, relatively speaking.”
Lauv, who has yet to release a full-length album, says that as he was writing and releasing songs over the past three years, they were “all about the same thing and they were all a story, but they were different pieces that were out order and confusing.”
“I didn’t want it to be an album because it’s been such a long period time. But I wanted to let people into that journey like ‘Hey this is literally just what it is. This is my life, it’s a playlist, it’s an ongoing thing where I’m piecing together this chapter my life when I was in New York, in my first serious relationship, trying to figure myself out. Like, here it is.’ And I’ve been building upon it just naturally.”
“I didn’t want to call it an album, per se. But I love bodies work and albums and stuff like that. I’m not saying ‘I’m never going to do an album.’ That’s not the point it. For an album, I imagine it coming from a more concise period time writing it.”
In addition to the interview with Lauv, the Pop Shop team also has some exclusive moments from the 2018 Billboard Music Awards’ red carpet, including quick chats with Jennifer Lopez and friends–the-podcast Dua Lipa and Kelly Clarkson. And, on top all that, the Pop Shoppers also dive into chart news about BTS, Taylor Swift and the return Backstreet Boys!
Listen above and click here to subscribe/rate the Pop Shop Podcast on iTunes.