The world was in shock when news broke on April 20th that Swedish DJ Avicii had died. Just 28 years old, the EDM hero passed away in Muscat, Oman, leaving music fans around the world reeling. As one of the most popular DJs in the world, Avicii inspired countless up-and-coming artists and helped bring EDM into the spotlight. Let’s take a look at how this incredible musician shaped the industry.
Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling, rose to fame incredibly quickly, barely out of his teens when he began headlining shows. His big break came in 2011, with the insane success of his song “Levels.” The song remains one of the genre’s biggest crossover hits of all time, proving equally successful at EDM festivals as on mainstream radio. It was especially popular in America, making Avicii one of the first EDM acts to really make a name for himself in the country. DJs are often faceless names behind popular songs, but Avicii became a celebrity in his own right, selling out shows and living like a real rock star.
Avicii’s popularity was not unfounded, however. He possessed talent in spades and took risks that paid off for both him and the EDM industry. Constantly innovating, his catalogue of hits includes tracks with influences from pop, soul, rock, and dozens of other genres of music. Avicii truly changed the game when he released his runaway hit “Wake Me Up” in 2013, which fused EDM and country – something no other DJ had attempted before.
Although the track was divisive among critics, it showed Avicii’s ingenuity and commitment to breaking the EDM mold when so many DJs were pumping out music that all sounded the same. The last LP released before his death continues this departure from the typical, exploring new folktronica styles.
With his incredible success, Bergling made sure to give back. He donated millions of dollars to charity over the course of his career, including Feeding America. He also used his creativity to benefit the less fortunate, directing two music videos designed to show the negative effects of gang violence and human trafficking. He knew that he had a powerful voice and was committed to using it for good, even within an industry known for partying. To put it simply – Avicii was truly a good guy and will surely be missed.