This is how I lost my friends…, sings Laraw (pronounced Lair-ruh). With such a direct opening line, the Montreal-based pop singer-songwriter invites the listener directly into her lonely, little world. “This is How I Lost My Friends” (co-written with producer Michael Adubato) is emotionally confrontational, allowing her a moment to breathe and come clean about her pain. Just another Saturday / I forgot the plans we made / Sorry if I’m overwhelmed, she further unravels a troubled mental state.
Through indie-pop layers, packed with guitar and handclaps, Laraw finds herself dancing away her tears, a dichotomy perfectly encapsulating the entire last year. “I really suck at maintaining relationships and Covid didn’t help my case,” she tells American Songwriter. “I think I really enjoy being alone, as well. I wanted to let them know how I felt and how bad I blamed myself for it. It’s OK to lose people─and it’s not always your fault. I tend to always blame myself for everything first, but relationships, whether they’re friendly or romantic, involve two people. I wish I wasn’t that hard on myself, and I hope people cut themselves some slack. We grow up as individuals, and we go through so many emotions. It’s okay to lose some people along the way.”
Demoed over Zoom, the track carries with it a certain bedroom-pop mood, as if we’re witnessing a very personal moment that maybe we shouldn’t. “It was great that we were able to connect from across the globe,” she remarks of the video session with Adubato. “Covid really sucked, but it really allowed me to meet awesome people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
I wish that I was somebody else / Someone who hurt you a little less, she twists her heartstrings just a little bit tighter. A little less than the other ones / A little less than I did last month / I wish that I was somebody else.
Sharp, confessional songwriting wraps around deliciously strange rhythms, a structure shifting between heady percussion and musical dropouts. Each movement punctuates Laraw’s own constantly scrambling emotions. Wtf is the matter with me / I feel so bad doing this, she spirals.
A self-proclaimed Lady Gaga fan, Laraw hails from Laval, a city lying in southwestern Quebec. “I love how she never allows anyone to put her in a box,” she gushes about one of modern pop’s biggest players. Growing up, she also obsessed over the catalogs of such artists as Paramore, The Strokes, Radiohead, Florence + The Machine, and Lana Del Rey, among countless others. “I just really love music and how every musical genre elicits different emotions,” she says. “If I’m in a moody mood I’ll listen to Radiohead or Bring Me the Horizon. If I’m more upbeat, I switch it up to SZA, Bebe Rexha, or Ariana Grande.”
Describing herself as “a very emotionally-driven writer,” her best work arrives “when I’m in my (childhood) bedroom alone with my little fairy lights on,” she says, a bit self-deprecating.
“This is How I Lost My Friends,” her first single of 2021, is the latest in a string of single releases. Laraw began dropping music with “I Should Call the Cops” in 2019, leading into several more the last two years including “Pretty Necklace” and “Breakup Tutorial.”