Avicii has died today at the age of 28 and while I wrap my head around this incredibly sad news, I want to share with you something special to me.
In 2010 I was 16 years old and just falling in love with electronic dance music, which has since become my career. Avicii was the first artist I ever wrote a blog post about, back at a blog which was lucky to see five readers a month.
Avicii was also responsible for the first mix that I ever fell in love with; one of which I know every song and transition to this day. It’s a mix that truly strikes an emotional chord in me and as soon as I hit play to begin writing this it prompted a cascade of tears. I think it’s perhaps the best piece of music history to briefly explain Avicii’s incredible success.
This aired on BBC Radio 1 just as the Swedish youngster was first blowing up. It features two hours of mashups, originals and forgotten Avicii live edits that display just where his head was at prior to the radio success he experienced further along in his career with “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother.”
Avicii Essential Mix 2010
To me, this will always be the most pure form of Avicii. Prior to finding the level of commercial success that he would discover in the years to come, Avicii’s 2010 BBC Radio 1 essential mix is centered around the electro and progressive house chops that took EDM to the next level in dance music’s biggest surge of popularity in history.
This young producer stood at the forefront of it, and even prior to his death various edits of “Levels” have smashed the festival circuit on a regular basis since its release in 2011.
Since 2010, the year of this essential mix, the mind-blowing quality and staggering quantity of top notch releases from Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, is barely conceivable. From “Silhouettes” and “Fade Into Darkness,” to his collaboration with Nicky Romero on “Nicktim” which released as “I Could Be The One,” his early years were absolutely packed with melodic progressive house hits.
Alongside Swedish House Mafia’s push into radio-worthy house music, Avicii incorporated folk and country influences into his biggest hit (and radio mainstay to this day) “Wake Me Up” and smash accompaniment “Hey Brother.” From there he collaborated with industry titan Martin Garrix on his most recent album, Stories, released in 2015, and worked with numerous global brands like Volvo and Coca-Cola.
However, Avicii paid a dear price for his success. During his mid-late career, Tim Bergling was plagued by health issues which lead to multiple show and tour cancellations before Avicii ultimately retired from DJing in 2016. But that didn’t stop him from releasing incredible music. The Swedish DJ returned with a massive, new hit-filled EP (part 1 of 2) in 2017. The 2nd was expected to release sometime this year.
While the man himself has died from reasons yet unknown – this rich history of releases, which were barely glazed over in the above, goes to show just how long-lasting his influence will remain in the future. Avicii inspired an entire generation of producers and paved the way to super-stardom for many others at the same time.
He also played a major role in inspiring my own choice to drop out of college and pursue a career in EDM; a choice I have never regretted. I had always dreamed of meeting Tim, and now that I never will, I’m diving into his music and history more than ever to get to know the young man who ignited a passion in so many others.
I hope you do the same.
Rest in peace, Avicii. The world will not forget you.
Photo by Rukes.com