Tim Bergling (born 8 September 1989), better known by his stage name Avicii (/əˈviːtʃi/, a-vi-chee; stylized as ɅVICII or ◢ ◤ symbol), is a Swedish EDM DJ, remixer, and a country and electro house record producer. Avicii ranked 3rd on DJ Magazine ’s annual Top 100 DJs in 2012 and 2013 and has been nominated twice for a Grammy Award, once for his work on “Sunshine” with David Guetta in 2012 and once for his song “Levels” in 2013. Some of his most famous songs are “I Could Be the One” with Nicky Romero, “Wake Me Up“, “You Make Me“, “X You“, “Hey Brother” and “Addicted to You“.
Early life and career
Tim Bergling was born on 8 September 1989 in Stockholm, Sweden. In May 2007, Avicii signed on with the Dejfitts Plays label. Then, in 2009, he released “Alcoholic” and in 2010, Avicii released the song “Seek Bromance”, which reached the top 20 in several countries including Belgium, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, andSweden. He also remixed Nadia Ali’s classic single “Rapture” for her album Queen of Clubs Trilogy: Onyx Edition. In October 2010, Avicii signed with the European A&R team with EMI Music Publishing.
2011–12: “Levels” and international breakthrough
In 2011, Avicii released “Levels”, which launched him into the mainstream. The song was produced and written by Tim Bergling and contains a vocal sample from the 1962 gospel-inspired “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” by Etta James. The same vocal sample was used first by Pretty Lights in his 2006 song “Finally Moving”. This sample was also used by Drum and Bass producer Logistics on “Call Me Back” and by Flo Ridain his single “Good Feeling”, which was produced by DJ Prak and Cirkut. “Levels” reached the top ten in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands,Slovenia and the United Kingdom, whilst topping the charts in Hungary, Norway and Sweden.
In 2012, his collaboration track “Sunshine” with David Guetta was nominated for a Grammy award under the category for Best Dance Recording. His track “Fade into Darkness” was sampled by Leona Lewis on her single “Collide”. The sampling was not accredited and led to controversy as Avicii attempted to block the single’s release. However, the matter was resolved outside of court with representatives stating “that Leona Lewis and Avicii will work together on the forthcoming single of Collide”.
On 23 March 2012, Avicii’s unsigned single “Last Dance” was previewed on Pete Tong’s show on BBC Radio 1. The song was later released on 27 August 2012. At Ultra Music Festival 2012 in Miami, he premiered two tracks, “Girl Gone Wild” (Avicii’s UMF Remix) with Madonna and “Superlove” with Lenny Kravitz. Avicii’s UMF Remix of “Girl Gone Wild” was released on 20 April 2012, and “Superlove” with Kravitz was released on 29 May 2012. After reaching two million followers on Facebook, Avicii released a new song titled “Two Million”. It was put out as a free download on his official Soundcloud page. On 27 April 2012, Avicii released “Silhouettes”. The song featured vocals from Salem Al Fakir and peaked at number 5 on the UK Dance charts and number 4 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs.
Avicii was a featured performer on 4 August 2012 at Lollapalooza festival in Chicago’s Grant Park. On 12 August 2012, hereleased “Dancing in My Head” (Avicii’s ‘Been Cursed’ Mix) on Beatport. The track features vocals from Eric Turner. A radio edit of the track, titled “Dancing in My Head” (Tom Hangs Mix) was released on 14 August 2012 on iTunes, and a remix EP was later released on 30 October 2012 featuring remixes from Charlie Bernardo and Michael Woods. On 26 September 2012, Avicii made history by being the first DJ to headline the world famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City. He performed two sold out shows on 26 and 27 September. He was supported by Matt Goldman and Cazzette at the two shows. At his Radio City Music Hall shows, he played a preview of his new track with Mike Posner titled “Stay with You”.
On 29 December 2012, Avicii released “I Could Be the One” with Nicky Romero. After first being debuted at his shows almost a year earlier, the track finally got released via Avicii’s record label LE7ELS. The new vocal version was released along with an instrumental version, a radio edit, and remixes from Audrio and Didrick. On 9 January 2013, Avicii launched the Avicii X You project, a partnership with Ericsson designed to create the world’s first “crowdsourced” hit song. The project enabled fans to send in basslines, effects, melodies, rhythms and vocals to Avicii as sound files over the Internet. The song features sequences from Kian Sang (melody), Naxsy (bassline), Martin Kupilas (beat), ВАНЯ ХАКСИ (break), Jonathan Madray, Mateusz Kolata, and Christian Westphalen (effects). Avicii acted as executive producer and created the finished song officially titled X You, which was released on 26 February 2013. On 30 January 2013, Avicii released “Three Million” featuring Negin to mark the three millionth fan on his Facebook page.
Avicii was nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance Recording with “Levels” at the 2013 Grammy Awards. He was nominated alongside Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo, Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia and John Martin, andAl Walser. The award show took place on 10 February 2013. From late February to early March 2013, Avicii toured Australia as one of the headline acts in the Future Music Festival alongside The Prodigy and The Stone Roses. In late February 2013, Avicii made his first South American Tour including concerts in Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Chile.
In March 2013, Avicii announced and premiered many new tracks from his new album, which would later be set to be released in September, during his Main Stage set at Ultra Music Festival in Miami. The new tracks were experimental in nature, Avicii brought out a stomping band to play through a new bluegrass-tinged song called “Wake Me Up.” Many of these new songs received mixed critical reviews after the concert.
On 11 April 2013, Avicii released his new album promo mix on SoundCloud. The EBU and SVT announced on 15 April that Avicii, along with ex-ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, had composed the anthem for the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. The song was performed for the first time in the Final on 18 May.
On 14 June 2013, the world premier of Avicii’s new single, “Wake Me Up” was previewed by Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1 featuring vocals from Aloe Blacc. The song was later released on iTunes and radio on 25 June 2013. It is the first single from Avicii’s album, True, which was released on 16 September 2013. “Wake Me Up” was number 1 on the Spotify Global Chart and Avicii was at 2 in most streamed artist worldwide. The Official Charts Company announced on 21 July that “Wake Me Up” had become the UK’s fastest selling single of 2013 after overtaking Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, to sell 267,000 copies in its first week on sale in the UK. “Wake Me Up” subsequently became a major hit, topping the charts in over 20 countries including Australia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
On 19 October 2013, the DJ Mag 2013 Top 100 DJs List was announced, with Avicii ranking No.3 on the list. Hardwell became the new World No.1 displacing Armin Van Buuren. On 28 October 2013, Avicii released the single “Hey Brother” with vocals by Dan Tyminski. On 10 November, Avicii won his first award “Best Electronic” at the MTV EMA’s. On 24 November 2013 he won the American Music Award for favorite Electronic Dance Music Artist. In December 2013, Avicii released his fourth single off the album,Addicted To You Which reached no. 1 in Australia, with vocals from Audra Mae, who also sings on Shame On Me and Long Road to Hell, both tracks on the album. Avicii’s latest released single is called Lay Me Down, featuring guitar playing from Nile Rodgers who plays on many songs from Daft Punk’s album Random Access Memories, and Adam Lambert.
In January 2014, the French hit music radio station NRJ released a new web radio station called “NRJ AVICII”, which plays songs only by Avicii. On 8 March 2014, Avicii’sInstagram account confirmed a collaboration with Madonna. The extent of the collaboration is unknown.
On 21 March 2014, Avicii released a remixed edition of his album True titled True: Avicii By Avicii containing remixes by himself of all the tracks, excluding “Heart Upon My Sleeve” for unknown reasons. The promotion of this album was supposed to begin at the 2014 Ultra Music Festival, but unfortunately Avicii announced he had been hospitalised on 28 March, and was unable to play his closing set at the festival. On 28 March 2014, FIFA and Sony Music Entertainment announced that Avicii would be collaborating with Carlos Santana, Wyclef Jean and Alexandre Pires for the official FIFA World Cup Anthem titled “Dar um Jeito (We Will Find a Way).” The anthem was performed at the FIFA World Cup Closing Ceremony on 13 July 2014.
On 7 April 2014, Avicii released his single “Lay Me Down”. He also produced and collaborated with Chris Martin from Coldplay, co-writing and co-producing the track “A Sky Full of Stars” from the band’s sixth studio album Ghost Stories, released on 19 May 2014. He also played and recorded the piano parts on the track. “A Sky Full of Stars” was released on 3 May as the second single from Ghost Stories. “Lovers on the Sun”, a track Avicii co-produced with David Guetta, was released on 30 June 2014. He has also worked with Wyclef Jean on a single titled “Divine Sorrow” off his upcoming album Clefication.
2014–present: Stories and major collaborations
In July 2014, Avicii told Rolling Stone that he had worked on 70 songs for his next album, which will include collaborations with Jon Bon Jovi, Serj Tankian of System of a Down, Chris Martin, Wyclef Jean andMatisyahu. Describing the album, Avicii said: “It’s going to be a lot more song-oriented.” “Lose Myself”, a collaboration between Avicii and Chinese singer Wang Leehom, was released on 1 September 2014.
On 8 September 2014, on his 25th birthday, Avicii decided to cancel all of his remaining performances of 2014 due to health concerns. The following day, he announced through Denim & Supply that he would release his new single “The Days” later in 2014; a video was also featured with a preview of the track. “The Days” is a collaboration between Avicii and Robbie Williams, and was released on 3 October 2014 via PRMD.
On 16 September 2014, it was announced through EA Sports that Avicii was debuting a brand new track called “The Nights” exclusively on FIFA 15. On the 17th of November 2014, it was officially announced that the track is to be released as a part of an EP together with “The Days”.
On the 17th of November 2014, Wyclef Jean released a new track called “Divine Sorrow” featuring Avicii.
Avicii’s influences include Daft Punk, former trio Swedish House Mafia (Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello, Axwell) and Eric Prydz.
Since achieving widespread commercial success, Avicii began working with his manager and executive producer Ash Pournouri to start House for Hunger in 2011, a charity dedicated to alleviating global hunger. The pair wanted to showcase the giving spirit fostered by the house music community. Avicii explained, “You have to give something back. I am so fortunate to be in the position where I can actually do that. I feel lucky every day when I wake up and am able to do what I love and make a living.” In addition to donating $1 million to Feeding America, a charity founded by John van Hengel, House for Hunger has helped fund the efforts of The Feed Foundation, started by Laura Bush allowing it to distribute over two million school meals throughout Africa.
DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJs Rankings
- 2010: No. 39 (New Entry)
- 2011: No. 6
- 2012: No. 3
- 2013: No. 3
- 2014: No. 6
- True (2013)
- Stories (2015)
- True Tour (2014)
- Stories World Tour (2015)