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.
Now that 2017 has come to a close and the 60th Annual Grammy Awards are less than a month away, one cannot help but wonder which musicians and artists are poised to have a breakout year in 2018. Across all genres, up-and-coming artists are making themselves known in an attempt to reach stardom. Below are just a few of many who could potentially have a big year in the music world.
Much like Chance the Rapper, Daniel Caesar has slowly been rising in the R&B ranks through his DIY mentality and soulful sound. Though he started gaining traction back in 2014, Caesar has been touring relentlessly to spread the word of his classical sound reminiscent of mid-20th century soul. His newest album Freudian was just released back in August of 2017, so expect to see him gain some notoriety in 2018.
CyHi The Prynce
Appearing on four different Kanye West albums, CyHi is perhaps best known for his ghostwriting abilities, much of which were dedicated to G.O.O.D. Music. His latest album No Dope on Sundays features some of the hottest names in rap right now, and is sure to take off in 2018 since its release this past November. ScHoolboy Q, Kanye West, and Travis Scott are just some of the many big names to voice their lyrics on CyHi’s album, so he shouldn’t need much help finding success with the newest of his projects.
This Los Angeles-based country-folk singer could fall under a variety of genres, but her perfect blend of folk and pop sound is expected to garner some well deserved attention in the new year. Phoebe Bridgers is the embodiment of emotionalism in an age where that seems to be fading. Her soft voice and deep lyrics bode well with her current fanbase, which could grow exponentially in the next year or two.
Kelela geniusly blends electronic and modern R&B in her latest record Take Me Apart which was released this past October. Combine that with her extensive collaborative efforts with names like Solange, Gorillaz, and Teengirl Fantasy, and Kelela is certain to have a breakout year.
A name that almost everyone knows thanks in part to his acting career and his father (Will), Jaden Smith has been active in the music industry for a number of years now, but his latest album SYRE could project his name even more. He was featured on Childish Gambino’s EP Kauai back in 2014 which may have helped music fans all over the world take his sound more seriously, but his latest work is good enough to spawn a whole new generation of admirers. Since its release in November of 2017, Jaden Smith’s debut album is almost guaranteed to generate buzz around the industry in the next 12 months.