Dance music has grown tremendously within the last half-decade. Early on, when the genre was still in its nascency, it was forced into the underground by mainstream culture for being too “weird.” Dance music artists, or more specifically, producers, had to spend years perfecting their craft and building their brand before attempting to parlay that into mainstream success. Artists like deadmau5, Paul Oakenfold, and Kaskade were around long before dance music was popular, as they spent decades honing in on their sound and style, and they’re just now reaping the benefits. However, with dance music’s recent rise in popularity, this is no longer the case, as artists are able to experience mainstream success like a flash in the pan.
At 21-years-old, Felix Jaehn is already an international superstar and world-renowned producer – a feat that would not have been possible just a decade ago. The German wunderkind swept through dance music with impressive force, garnering over 100 million plays on his SoundCloud in just two years. How did he do it? To answer that question, it is imperative to look at his meteoric rise alongside the rise of tropical house.
There’s no denying the growth that tropical house has seen within just 2015 alone. Since the genre’s inception, led by flag-bearers like Kygo and Thomas Jack, tropical house has not only managed to prove that it is more than just a quick fad, but also to ingrain itself into dance music culture and branch off into other sub-genres, like the indie dance and melodic house styles that are so popular today. While no one will contend that Kygo and Thomas Jack are the leaders in this sound, Felix Jaehn has proven himself to be a close third with his spectacular productions and vibe-y, summer-y feel.
Jaehn first made waves in 2014 with his stand-out remix of OMI’s “Cheerleader.” The remix garnered over 55 million plays on SoundCloud on its way to charting at #1 on the iTunes charts in over 55 countries, which solidified Jaehn as the next breakout star in tropical house. It’s also the second most streamed track on Spotify this year with 500 million streams. The German youngster quickly followed up his breakout effort with his massive single, “Ain’t Nobody” featuring Jasmine Thompson, that saw Jaehn rework a Rufus original into a sun-soaked masterpiece.
These two tremendous efforts pushed Jaehn over the edge as an international superstar, as his forward-thinking style of music managed to stay commercially appealing while still engaging the dance world. While Jaehn did not pioneer tropical house, he stood as the artist with the most to gain, as his growth coincided with the growth of the genre itself. Now, Jaehn is an internationally-signed recording artist with Universal, and the sky is the limit for the German star.