Felix Jaehn is a young German producer and DJ who has taken the international dance music industry by storm. Felix Jaehn was born in Hamburg and grew up in Schönberg, a small town in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. As an artist who began producing music from his bedroom in 2012, Felix Jaehn has worked with the likes of Steve Aoki, Gucci Mane, Mike Williams and Adam Lambert. In 2015, he released a memorable track featuring Jasmine Thompson titled, “Ain’t Nobody”, which is a remix of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s 1983 hit dance track by the same name. Felix Jaehn’s great version of “Ain’t Nobody” had achieved high rankings on multiple dance charts worldwide. Five years later, Felix Jaehn’s hard work paid off as “Ain’t Nobody” became Diamond-certified.
“Ain’t Nobody” was the second track that the German artist has received a Diamond certification for. The first time was for his remix of Jamaican singer OMI’s 2015 single, “Cheerleader”. He is currently the youngest German music artist to have receive two Diamond certifications. Felix Jaehn recently released a mini-documentary called “My Story” which talks about his musical journey for the past five years since releasing “Ain’t Nobody”. Here is One EDM’s exclusive interview with Felix Jaehn, a talented young man who will become one of the world’s top electronic music artists. Furthermore, he has released his newest single, “No Therapy” featuring Nea and Bryn Christopher, on August 21.
Kenny Ngo: Your 2015 hit single, “Aint’ Nobody” is now Diamond-certified. When you created and released “Ain’t Nobody” five years ago, what were your initial goals for it?
Felix Jaehn: My initial goal at that time was just to make a living off of music. Really, I was like 19-years-old and just finished high school. I was at Music College in London for one year and then, I was kind of trying to figure out what to do next in my life. I tried university for two months and I studied business but didn’t really like it.
Honestly, I just wanted to be in the studio. I was just in my bedroom all day, just making music. So I was just trying to look for opportunities and ideas. I was building my fan base on SoundCloud and having tons of blogs every day just to get my name out there and somehow make enough money to live from it.
It was kinda like a career shock or a nice career change for you?
Yeah, definitely. “Ain’t Nobody: lifted everything from me. It was actually “Ain’t Nobody” and another original song that I did called “Shine” that ranked #1 on HypeMachine, both within like about a month or two. And it was a really crucial time in my career where suddenly, the music industry started to recognize me.
Neighbors were e-mailing me and contacting me about official remix opportunities that I had signed a management deal. It was kind of kicking off everything and took it to the next level from just uploading stuff on SoundCloud to having official releases and starting to play shows. Um, yeah, just turning into a brand and into an artist that people actually recognized.
Do you remember any memorable times that you had while producing “Ain’t Nobody”?
Yeah, that is a nice question. I was like maybe living at my parents’ home, working in my bedroom, in a tiny village where I grew up. But then I also worked on it in Istanbul, actually. I was there visiting a friend that I had met during college in London. I visited him in Istanbul and he was also a DJ.
He pitched me to a festival and it was called Electric Festival in 2014. It was one of my first big festivals that I have played for. It was like around 5,000 people. I also remember working on “Ain’t Nobody” based on the vibes of the festival and of the show. I later finished it up in Turkey, actually.
The Diamond certification for “Ain’t Nobody” is the second time a track of yours got certified. In 2019, your remix of Jamaican singer OMI’s 2015 single, “Cheerleader”, also received a Diamond certification. How does it feel to receive two Diamond certifications during your career so far?
Um, it’s just crazy, to be honest. I heard that it makes me the youngest artist in history to have achieved that. And that’s only like a handful of artists that ever did that anyway. So I don’t know, it is kind of surreal. I can’t really, like, understand it fully, I guess. But on the other hand, like all those certifications, the awards stuff, they really mean so much to me personally.
I’m more like interested in, like seeing people’s reaction to the songs I made. I really miss playing live right now. But I did actually played a couple of shows in the last couple of weeks in Germany where there some pretty cool concepts. However, that’s like the bonus of sharing the music with people and seeing the faces of the people listening and sharing emotions.
That’s what it’s all about for me. I’m super grateful for all the success and the numbers and the awards and stuff, but I don’t know. I don’t really pay a lot attention to that. It’s more like when news like this comes in and I’m like, “Oh cool, that’s great! Congrats to the team”. And then I just move on. It doesn’t really mean so much to me.
As you received the “Diamond” certification for “Ain’t Nobody”, how did you, your friends, and family react to the news?
To be honest, they don’t really care much. They of course, they were like, Oh that’s cool!” and all this. But it’s like, I don’t want to sound too douchey, but it kind of became normal. When it comes to my family as well, like I’ve been touring and being successful for like five years now.
And in the beginning, everybody was excited and was like on this journey with me. I was like, “Whoa, what the fuck is happening?”. Now, we don’t really talk about it so much. We just talk about how I actually am as a human being. And, you know, I’m just still their friend and family member. So we don’t really talk about my success in music so much.
You just released a mini-documentary titled, “My Story”. This mini-documentary is about you discussing your accomplishments and professional and personal growth during the past five years of your career. Before you started your music career, what was your life like in the past?
I was just a kid like befor as my music career didn’t really have another career, I just finished high school and then I went straight to music college for one year. Afterwards, I had a couple of months moving back to my parents’ place and just being at home in my bedroom studio. And then I already had success. I’m really lucky that it all happened so quickly. At the same time to me, there wasn’t a real plan B.
I was always pushing when I was in high school, especially since I was already playing club shows when I was 17 and on student nights. When I was in London, I was handing out mix tapes and CDs. In fact, I managed to get opening gigs at clubs and that kinda of stuff and without even having music out by selling tickets to play.
And I was just hustling like every day. I literally had a list of 400 blocks that I would send my music to every single person reading the articles. I was trying to find bloggers that would appreciate my music. From high school till today,I was just always committed to my project and the music.
When making “My Story”, did you feel very nostalgic looking back on your career during these past five years?
A little bit, yeah. But I’m also really happy to be where I am today, like I’m not missing anything from the past. I think that I just always try to live in the present moment. And I think that everything happens for a reason. I’m just always like trying to enjoy the moment as much as I can and do my best.
And at the very moment, I don’t really reminisce about the past too much anymore luckily. But that’s also been the process because I had times where I was not feeling well mentally and all that just in the past. Now I’m just like looking ahead and I’m like in the present and I’m good.
What inspired you to start your music career?
It was DJing actually. When I was 15, I was at birthday parties and I was always the guy in charge of the music first. I just brought the laptop and just put on a playlist. It was like before streaming so downloads were still a thing. A lot of my friends didn’t really have a music collection, but I was always in traffic and finding some survivors. So they always asked me to curate playlists.
And that’s how it kind of started from like the first controller at its peak. I had a fog machine and I set up a small team of some friends and we were like the birthday party guys playing all night. We would play from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. I just loved it so much that I knew that I wanted to make this my profession.
You will release your newest single, “No Therapy”, on August 21st. The track is also featuring Nea and Bryn Christopher. What should everyone look out for when listening to “No Therapy”?
I feel like production-wise, it’s a banger. I think people are going to love it. It’s slightly deeper than my previous releases that you might know. And it’s also club-driven, and I’m really inspired by the UK-style at the moment. Also, I wanted to give this record more depth and production since the lyrics are so deep. Just using the word “therapy”, I think that’s quite a strong word. Lyrically, I’m so happy that it’s coming out now because it’s kind of the end to a chapter and a story that I’ve been telling with my previous releases like “Never Alone”, “Love On Myself” and “Sicko”.
It is my story of self reflection and growing up. And also, like, my mental health development really and from feeling super sick and having panic attacks too. Now, I am floating freely at the present moment. “No Therapy” is just like the end point where I say that, of course, therapy is very important for a lot of people. It was important for me in the past as well. I encourage everybody who need help get therapy. But I feel like at some point, you need to stop digging in the past and just start actually being present.
“No Therapy” is about enjoying this moment in the present. It is also about love and it’s about being there for one another. And it’s also about self-expression, just being yourself and enjoying the present.
You started your career playing small gigs and fast-forward, you have now obtained more experience performing in many amazing shows and international music festivals. In these past few years, what has been your most favorite show or festival?
It’s obviously tough to take just one because it’s been so many. The first one that just came to my mind, and maybe it’s because I’m still in Berlin right now, happened last summer. I headlined Berlin Pride in front of the Brandenburg Gate. The organizers were guessing, like, obviously there’s no exact numbers, but they were guessing that there were one million people at the show. It’s like this huge street in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
Obviously it being Berlin Pride, it was super special for me to play as well since I’m bisexual. I wasn’t always openly bisexual in the past and at the beginning of my career. So it was a really cool moment for me to play that event and just celebrate love with so many people.
Wow! One million people? I’m guessing that’s your biggest show so far?
Yeah! It does not get any bigger than that.
What is the first thing that you want to do when everything gets better again?
To be completely honest with you, and I’m so blessed to be in Germany right now, and especially Berlin. I think I am not really missing a lot. Obviously, I would love to play a big festival or a show right now and have a summer like every other summer. But I feel really safe here. Restaurants and cafes are open and the gyms are open.
The parks are also open, the lakes are public and free for everybody to enjoy. At the moment, I’m having a pretty good time actually in Berlin while keeping a distance and being careful, of course. I just try to look at the positive side of things. Personally, I’m super happy that I don’t really have a tight schedule at the moment. I was so used to just looking into the calendar and right now, it’s super cool to have some extra time.
I’m being really creative. I’m working on a lot of music. I have time for family and friends. Yeah, I don’t really want to just focus on the future. I’m just here right now and I’m making the most out of it.
“My Story” mini-documentary
Feel free to watch Felix Jaehn’s mini-documentary, “My Story”, right now.