Believe it or not, Lauv once had to “beg” his friends to come to his shows. That was years ago; back when he’d play tiny rooms for tinier crowds that didn’t know his name, and maybe didn’t care. Joke’s on them — the 24-year-old singer-songwriter, who is MTV’s Push: Artist to Watch for the month of October, has been enjoying a banner breakout year on the back of his platinum hit, “I Like Me Better.” The nostalgic, moody electro-pop bop is a streaming smash (over a billion streams and counting) and, to hear Lauv tell it, its genesis was practically destiny.
“I came in that day and… I had no concept, no lyrics, no idea I was going to write that song,” he told MTV News. “I had just gotten some new synth sounds, and then I threw in this drum loop, and then I got the whole melody.”
The melody he’s talking about is one you’re probably already familiar with: it’s the one that, when tweaked to the high heavens, sounds sort of like a humming dolphin and immediately gets etched into your brain. Lauv sang it into his phone with the intent of eventually scrapping it, but it was just too good to resist.
“I didn’t want to forget it, so I just voice memo’d it in my iPhone,” Lauv continued. “I thought I was going to replace it with a different sound later but I ended up just sending that to my computer and chopping up that voice memo with all the noise and everything and just using that. It was probably the fastest song I’ve written. It kind of feels like it wrote itself, honestly.”
“I Like Me Better” is like a crush in musical form, and that sweetness, that emotion, translates beautifully to the stage. While performing in New York to celebrate his new Push: Artist to Watch tenure, he sang the hook (“I like me better when I’m with you”) with a sincere smile on his face, before dropping some playful spins and dance moves as the crowd cheered in approval. It was far from an empty room this time — no begging was involved in the making of this performance! — and it signals even more sweet success as Lauv continues making hits and defining his sound.
“I think the best artists, at least the artists I look up to the most, kind of redefine themselves throughout time and aren’t afraid to do that,” he said. “So I’m just trying to be as open to the future as possible.”
Check out Lauv’s full, exclusive performance of “I Like Me Better” below, and see more from his Push series here.