San Francisco-born Ari Leff jumped from piano to viola to jazz to electronic before settling into his suave singer-songwriter role as Lauv. He started out on piano and viola, before picking up a guitar at the age of 11. By high school, he was diving into jazz, but it wasn't until he ended up at New York University studying music technology, that he found his muse—and his spirit animal. He adopted the moniker Lauv, meaning "lion" in Latvian, a nod to his mother's heritage. "Lion" is also the Hebrew translation of his first name Ari, and he happens to be born a Leo, too.