If you’ve been listening to electronic music for several years, longer than the term EDM has been around, chances are you’re familiar with Nicky Romero. The Dutch DJ/producer is an absolute legend in the scene. Along with guys like Avicii, David Guetta and Calvin Harris, Nicky really helped usher in the modern EDM sound we are all familiar with today. Much like his Swedish counterpart, Avicii, Nicky has dealt with a heavy bout of anxiety over the past few years. However, he has been making his way back and sharing his story with the hope that he can help other artists who find themselves in a similar situation.
“The crazy schedule and instability that come with being an internationally touring DJ at first was exciting, but at a certain point I realized my performance in both live shows and studio work was declining as a result. Anxiety became a real obstacle for me. I sought support from other musicians such as David Guetta, and he was able to relate to my struggles. Knowing someone understood something I could barely understand was incredibly helpful. After visiting various doctors, I then found solace in a book called ‘At Last a Life’ by Paul David. One of his phrases in particular really stuck with me – ‘You will never get better until you stop trying to get better.’”
It’s interesting that Nicky has found himself in the line of work that he’s in. Not only did he grow up with a love for music, he also loved all forms of media. And better yet, he has always had a personal touch to everything he’s done. As a musician, he thrives on knowing that his music can bring people together. At the same time, Nicky relishes his role as head of Protocol Recordings where he can mentor other aspiring artists.
“I’ve always wanted to work in music and/or media. I did a lot of video editing and early music production work at home when I was a kid. I’m not sure my parents really appreciated how big of a movement dance music would become – they were always telling me to ‘turn it down!’
The development of Protocol Recordings has by far been one of the best endeavors of my entire career. Helping emerging musicians is incredibly rewarding. I can appreciate this because I was mentored early on and I know how important it can be to an artist’s development. It is challenging being both someone else’s support while pursuing my own success, but the reward far exceeds the challenges.”
Nicky describes fame as both incredible and intimidating. Nothing can prepare anyone for the life of a public figure. Although at times he has struggled with having this notoriety, he has received inspiration from all the people and places he’s been able to visit. Dance music can inspire in a way that few things can, and Nicky seeks out that connection with fans when producing his music. Much like the dedication to running a record label, for many producers, the rewards are far greater than the challenges.
“I really hope to promote a message of positivity through my music. Music is known to bring people together, that’s irrefutable. I want my work to reflect that, I want my fans to realize wherever they come from and whoever they are, that they can find inspiration and positivity in my music.
I experienced a massive spike in recognition from the success of my single ‘Tolouse,’ this was both incredible and intimidating at the same time – it really kickstarted what would be a rollercoaster of touring, producing and collaborating. The places I’ve visited, the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had on the road were incredibly inspiring. I hope to use this inspiration and accumulation of life experiences to produce music and put on performances that paint a picture of what I’ve seen and ultimately impact my fans.”