Nicky Romero is a household name in dance music, but it’s all too easy to forget that the Dutch producer is just like you or I, and is not some electronic deity immune to the spotlight. Romero’s journey hasn’t been without its hardships, and he’s faced all the standard criticisms and doubt which come hand-in-hand with global success.

After graduating school and working as a bartender whilst pursuing production, it wasn’t until releasing “Toulouse” in 2012 that Romero saw mainstream success. He quickly skyrocketed to the upper echelons of the industry with a string of #1 hits and has gone on to produce with the pop world’s biggest acts such as RihannaBritney Spears, and David Guetta.

During Miami Music Week we had the privilege of speaking with Nicky Romero, earning a rare glimpse of what goes on in the mind of the Protocol labelhead. Read on for his thoughts regarding malicious criticism, the pressure of expectations, and what’s in store for Protocol Recordings in 2016.

How are you finding Miami Music Week this year?

It might be that it’s not as crazy as it used to be, but also I think I just might be getting used to it by now. So maybe that’s the reason why it doesn’t feel as strong as 2 or 3 years ago. But it feels like the EDM bubble really started 3 or 4 years ago for me, so maybe that’s I have no clue. But it’s still really good.

Right, and when did Toulouse come out? Was it kind of after that?

It was 2011 or ‘12 that came out, and “Metropolis” was the same year. Those were big ones.

We’ll start with something kind of cryptic, everyone knows who you are, but who are you?

Well, if I were to introduce myself, I am a music producer that really likes to express himself in any possible way so, not necessarily bound to a certain style. I’m a very sensitive person when it comes to what people think of me. I think I’m very very happy person normally. And I really enjoy all creative stuff around, like cameras, images, audio, everything. I’m really a family man, I have a good connection with my family. I’m actually a very normal guy I think. Yeah, I don’t know, I enjoy everything that comes with speed, adrenaline attracts me. Boats, cars, motorbikes, everything that’s fast attracts me somehow, I dunno why… Yeah, that’s me!

And I’m sure that plays into electronic music with heart rates and BPMs, yeah?

Yeah, that’s the reason why I mainly release songs or produce songs that have an emotion, so it’s mainly chord songs with a melody, progressive, because that’s in my opinion one of the opportunities for me to express emotion in music. I can’t really do that with really hard sounds, for me it needs to be chords, because with chords you have major, minor. Fifths, sevenths, ninths. This way you can express yourself and evoke something.

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