Lauv released his debut album, How I’m Feeling, on March 6. Just a few weeks later, the world began to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Lauv is a singer-songwriter whose intimate, downtempo pop has made him a go-to artist on streaming platforms and as a collaborator for artists like Troye Sivan, BTS and Ellie Goulding. He makes the type of music that dwells on loneliness and revels in melancholy.
In quarantine, with these emotions particularly front and center, music has played a special role—both for artists and for fans who have sought out solace from the voices of their favorites.
“Honestly, I’m so, so, so thankful I have music,” Lauv said during a TIME 100 Talks discussion. “I would be going totally insane without it. It’s been my way to escape a little bit, because obviously it’s a really hard time and it’s really easy to get caught up in how scary it is. I’m just lucky I have a place to go and dive through my feelings.”
Lauv has been open about his own struggles with anxiety and depression, too. “It wasn’t until I really experienced my own extreme low that I realized how important it was to me to start to become more involved,” he said. As a result, he has hosted conversations with fellow artists and mental health professionals and launched the Blue Boy Foundation to offer fans outlets and resources to address their challenges.
“It’s so important for people to be there for each other and open, because that’s what inspired me to get help,” he said. In quarantine, he said he’d turned especially to meditation as a “coping tool.”
With the live music industry remaining at a standstill, there’s only so much a performing artist can do; Lauv has experimented with livestreams and home concerts, but he still misses the “magic” of a live show. “I’m excited that people are innovating, creating online virtual experiences,” he said, but “there’s no experience like playing in a room.” For now, he’s mostly just looking forward to getting back to tour—as soon as it’s safe.