Rising London-born singer dhruv arrives today with a music video for his smooth R&B-leaning single, "double take," which will appear on a forthcoming EP that tells his coming-of-age story. While dhruv's track was first released back in 2019, it has more recently amassed hundreds of millions of plays across TikTok and Spotify, thus launching it into relevancy this year. Being that it's about "falling in love with a friend" though, "double take" has a timeless message so many can connect with.
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"Boy, you got me hooked onto something," dhruv sings. "Who could say that they saw us coming?" Having grown up alienated and queer in conservative Singapore, where he moved when he was two, dhruv's intimate love songs are all the more powerful. "Do you feel the love?" he repeatedly questions throughout, capturing the dizzying whirlwind of romance that's heightened by a visual that looks almost dream-like with lo-fi, leaky lights.
Watch "double take," below, and read on as PAPER chats with dhruv about his latest drop.
Your new EP tells a coming of age story. What part of that narrative does "double take" fall into?
"double take" is a song about falling in love with a friend and how dizzying that can feel. I wrote it at the start of my first relationship, which inspired several songs on the project.
In what ways is this single and music video a reflection of where you're at right now, as an artist?
Because I wrote the song a couple of years ago, I admittedly feel a little distant from the feeling that inspired it. At the same time, "double take" really set the tone for the project and informed the way I made more recent songs.
How is this single a preview of what we can expect from your EP, both lyrically and sonically?
It is quite sonically aligned with the rest of the project. I love fiddling with background harmonies, and you definitely hear variations of the "oohs" in this song on other tracks. The project is also very guitar-backed and quite minimalistic on the production-side like "double take" is. Lyrically, the EP is broader in scope and is really about a longer process of finding self-love.
Who'd you work with to create this video? What was that collaborative process like?
Lukas (AKA aboveground) directed the video and my friend Kanika Karvinkop styled it. I conveyed to Lukas that I didn't want to make a big production out of my first video and envisioned something that felt more DIY and understated. He's done beautiful work on the Bolex (a film camera), and I knew he'd be the perfect person for the job. Kanika knows me and my style really well, and she sourced clothes from upcoming South Asian designers like ZN ALI and AMESH to create tasteful and understated looks.
How do you think this video amplifies the song's message?
The song is about falling in love and I think when you're in love the world around you feels different in the best way possible. I wanted the video to make the mundane and ordinary feel almost dream-like.
What makes a great song and when do you know it's finished?
It's not one specific thing, it just has to all come together to make you feel something. And on finishing a song, I wrap it up when I feel like I've explored all possible directions for it. I'm usually a little sick of the song by that point.
What's more important in a song: vulnerability or relatability?
Being vulnerable breeds relatability in my opinion. I also think the idea of trying to be "relatable" and appeal to as many people as possible is a slippery slope, and can make it difficult to be creative. For me, making music has always been about self-expression and, if I'm being honest, I rarely think about an audience during the creative process.
What does success mean for you?
I just want to be happy and be able to spend as much time as I can with the people I love.