Celebrating Avicii and his lasting impact on music
Abhinav Singh · April 30, 2019 · 3 Minute Read
Tim Bergling, known to the world as Avicii, passed away a year ago. A sudden, unexpected and sad demise, Avicii captured the world’s imagination with his smash hits. By the age of 28, he was one of the most prolific and successful electronic music artists in the world. But there is more to his music and legacy than what meets the eye.
Avicii, who first rose to fame with the groundbreaking track “Levels“, was unlike any other electronic music artist. Sure, artists like Diplo, Zedd, Swedish House Mafia, Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Armin Van Buuren all contributed to the rise of the genre, but Avicii was something special. With his unique ability to fuse genres and his willingness to take risks, Avicii created a global brand that, today, has cemented his place as one of the legends of the genre.
So, how did Avicii achieve this? Let’s take a look:
Off the Beaten Path
Back in 2013, in one of the most popular electronic music festivals in the world, Avicii brought out live musicians to perform every song from his then unreleased debut album True. This was also the first time he introduced to the world his unique bluegrass-meets-electronic sound. The audience didn’t know what to expect, and Avicii didn’t care. He surprised them, and they loved every bit of it.
This was also the first time Avicii introduced the world to his biggest hit single “Wake Me Up“. Aloe Blacc, the voice behind “Wake Me Up“, achieved worldwide fame, and Avicii was no longer just a DJ from Sweden. He was, by then, an international phenomenon.
Fusing genres became one of the focal points of Avicii‘s career. With banjos and fiddles on an electronic music stage, Avicii broke down the barriers of the genres. He inculcated and promoted the spirit of experimentation. Folktronica, the fusion of folk and electronic music, was not only pioneered but also popularized by Avicii. He grew up listening to ’60s soul and ’80s rock and incorporated all of it into his own music.
Myriad of Collaborators
Throughout his career, Avicii collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry. From Madonna to Coldplay, the DJ made hit songs with pop-divas and rock legends alike. But what separated him from the rest was his affinity to work with the most underrated and unknown names in music.
On True, Avicii roped in lesser-known folk singers like Audra Mae and Dan Tyminski. The wide variety of genres that Avicii worked with can be found on True easily. The album included contributions from Mike Einziger of Incubus, Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers, Adam Lambert, Lee Ann Womack, Salem Al Fakir, and Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons.
On his sophomore record Stories, Avicii had 21 vocal credits including names like Chris Martin, Simon Aldred, Sterling Fox, Zac Brown, Robbie Williams, The Killers‘ Brandon Flowers, and Wyclef Jean, to name a few. To be able to use such a wide array of vocalists on one album showcases how comfortably Avicii worked with different talents.
Bringing Electronic to the Mainstream
A number of artists can be named as the fore-bearers of EDM. But Avicii is the one who truly captured the global audience. “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother” were smash hits. “Levels” became an international sensation, and was mixed by multiple other DJs and music producers. Avicii‘s songs charted in the top 10 around the globe and gave rise to a genre that was played in clubs, small parties, and high-school graduations.
Avicii‘s many collaborations with big-time musicians put EDM on the global map. His work with Madonna included the tracks “Addicted“, “Borrowed Time“, “HeartBreakCity“, “Wash All Over Me“, “Devil Pray” and the title track of her 2015 “Rebel Heart” album. From blues rock to punk rock, Avicii worked with Lenny Kravitz and even Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong introducing fans of various genres to electronic music. Very few other artists have shown such versatility when it comes to collaborations and genres.
An Irreversible Loss
Avicii‘s untimely death left a gaping hole in the EDM scene. While some might say that the genre is past its heyday, Avicii‘s music defies that statement. You heard his name when you sang “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” (to show Avicii I was cool, right?) and danced to his songs every time it was played. This is what sets him apart; longevity that every artist aspires for was achieved by Avicii.
Tim Bergling may have passed on, but he’ll live on forever as Avicii, and this is something beautiful to behold.