In Memory of Avicii
Legendary Swedish-DJ Avicii recently passed away Friday afternoon, April 20, according to his publicist. Tim Bergling (Avicii) had been suffering from health problems for several years and announced his retirement from live shows in 2016.
The globally-renowned producer spent his career releasing hit tracks and albums, collaborating with top-notch artists, and spending time with his family and hobbies outside of music.
Tim Bergling was born to Klas Bergling and Anki Lidén in Stockholm, Sweden in September of 1989. He grew up with his three siblings David, Anton, and Linda. As a boy, he recounted listening to his musical influences Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, and Eric Prydz. After Bergling signed with the Dejfitts Plays label in 2007 under the name Avicii, his career kickstarted in 2008 when he won a production competition held by Pete Tong.
The moniker ‘Avicii’, as Bergling explained, represents the lowest level of the Buddhist hell realm, where the dead who have committed grave misdeeds may be reborn.
In 2010, Avicii released his first hit “Seek Bromance” which reached the top-20 in several countries, including Belgium, Sweden, France, and the United Kingdom. Although such was his first hit, Tim Bergling was already a prolific producer. As a member of Laidback Luke, he mastered his craft with multiple remixes before his international breakthrough.
With his release of “LE7ELS” in 2011, Avicii became a loved DJ around the globe. The hit track included a vocal-sample by Etta James, similar to “Finally Moving” by Pretty Lights, and reached the top-10 in several countries. The track also topped charts in Sweden, Hungary, and Norway. He reached #6 in the ‘DJ Magazines Top 100’ and began a podcast named ‘LE7ELS’ as well.
Years of Success
After his breakthrough as an up-and-coming artist, Avicii kept it coming with hit tracks, contagious remixes, and surreal collaborations. In 2012, his collab with David Guetta “Sunshine” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording.
He also made history the same year by becoming the first DJ to headline at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and later headlining Ultra Music Festival for his first time.
Following his break out year, Avicii released his debut album ‘True’ including hit tracks “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother.” It was an experimental project, featuring a blend of genres like soul, funk, and folk. The album steered from the conventional EDM sound at the time, helping the DJ concrete his unique sound as an artist. The album was certified gold and platinum in 13 countries, charting at #1 in five of them.
Avicii expanded the horizons of what EDM could be when he performed his dance-country version of “Wake Me Up” at Ultra Music Festival Miami in 2013. He helped pioneer the movement of experimental dance music in an attempt to not rely too heavily on “dirty drops.”
After being hospitalized in 2014 due to earlier struggles with pancreatitis, Avicii announced that he had worked on 70 songs for his upcoming ‘Stories’ album. The producer told Rolling Stone Magazine that he had collaborated with Jon Bon Jovi, Serj Tankian, Matisyahu, as well as other genre-crossing artists.
Throughout the year, Avicii performed upcoming singles from the ‘Stories’ album, some including Chris Martin from Coldplay as well as Green Day’s front-man Billie Joe Armstrong.
In October 2015, ‘Stories’ was released alongside hit singles “Broken Arrows” featuring Zac Brown Band, “Waiting For Love”, “Pure Grinding”, and “For a Better Day.” The project sold one million copies worldwide in the first week and was the fourth most-streamed album of the year on Spotify.
Although considered one of the most recognizable DJs in the world, the naturally-shy artist struggled with the tour lifestyle. After besting some of the world’s biggest stages like Ultra, EDC, and Creamfields, Avicii announced his retirement from live performances in 2016. The news shocked the music world with confusion and disappointment, but from it came a new mission for the inspired DJ.
Following his announcement, Bergling tweeted his vision:
My new year’s resolution is to make the best damn album of my career.
After an eight-month hiatus from live performances, Avicii took the stage and played his final set in Ushuaïa, Ibiza on August 28, 2016.
The Show Goes On… Just in the Studio
The following year, Avicii gifted long-awaiting fans with ‘Avīci (01)’. The EP shares six irresistible tracks meant to convey the DJs personal story. Five of the six songs include features from the likes of Rita Ora, Sandro Cavazza, and others.
With the release came a tweet from Bergling as well:
Will however never let go of music – I will continue to speak to my fans through it. I will never stop making music. My new EP is out NOW!
However, his work did not stop there. A month after the EP release, Avicii tapped into his interest in film to share his story via a documentary. The film, titled Avicii: True Stories by filmmaker Levan Tsikurishvili, traces the artist’s life from his beginnings to his experiences of success, struggles with physical and mental health, and chronicles his retirement from touring. Also included are featured appearances and interviews by colleagues such as Chris Martin, David Guetta, and others.
Levan Tsikurishvili, a Stockholm-based documentary filmmaker, had a specific purpose when producing the project:
I wanted to do a brutally honest film about Tim as a person and not only about Avicii. Everybody knows Avicii but very few people know Tim. I think this documentary really shows Tim’s struggle and strength of character. Being a worldwide superstar artist is not as easy as it looks on Instagram.
With over 25 million monthly-listeners on Spotify, 11 billion streams, millions of records sold, and over 800 live-shows played, Avicii is one of the most recognizable and loved artists. He was not only a skilled mixer and producer, but he was also a talented musician. Guitar and piano samples in his music could most likely be traced back to his own doing.
Such a vast horizon of talents is yet another reason why the DJ is considered as one of the greatest ever in the EDM world.
Tim Bergling enjoyed giving back and used his talent as an artist to help those in need. In 2011, the DJ partnered with Feeding America to announce his 26-show ‘House for Hunger’ Tour to help fight hunger in America. Avicii committed $1 million in tour revenue to Feeding America, an organization that fights hunger amongst low-income individuals and families. It is America’s top domestic hunger-relief charity, supporting over 37 million Americans each year.
Avicii felt as though it was common sense to give back to the country that had given him soo much:
When I found out how widespread the hunger problem in the United States actually was it blew my mind. I never would have imagined that 1 in 6 people in America struggle with hunger or that 1 in 4 children routinely do not get enough to eat.
It feels right to kick off this movement of giving back in the US, seeing how many amazing experiences and opportunities America has given me over the past two years.
The House for Hunger concept transformed from a tour into a charity organization. The domestic hunger-relief charity, dedicated to alleviating global hunger, has since helped distribute over 2 million school meals throughout Africa and has supported campaigns against human trafficking and gang violence.
Bergling continued his charity-work with ‘Avici X You’, a project which invited fans worldwide to contribute to his single “X You”. Following the announcement, fans were encouraged to create and upload samples each week, of which he chose three of his favorite to use for the track. All royalties from the single were donated to his House for Hunger organization.
Best Live Moments
Throughout his career, Avicii played unforgettable sets at some of the most popular events around the globe. Check out highlights of his most memorable sets below!
Avicii’s Gift of Music
In 2016, Avicii retired from live performances due to the struggles of life on tour. With his fanbase in mind, the thoughtful DJ provided a message to all of his fans in an attempt to explain and reassure:
We all reach a point in our lives and careers where we understand what matters most to us. For me it’s creating music. That is what I love for, what I feel I was born to do. Last year I quit performing live, and many of you thought that was it.
But the end of live never meant the end of Avicii or my music. Instead, I went back to the place where it all made sense – the studio. The next stage will be all about my love of making music to you guys. It is the beginning of something new. Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
While doing what was best for himself at the time, Avicii unselfishly considered the thoughts and feelings of his fans and took steps to keep his relationship with them thriving. He is truly an artist all fans of music and others involved should look up to.
Tim Bergling, aka Avicii, legendary-Swedish DJ, filmmaker, son, brother, and hero, passed away near Muscat, Oman on April 20, 2018 at 28-years-old. He is survived by his mother Anki Lidén, father Klas Bergling, and siblings Anton Körberg, David Bergling, and Linda Sterner.
It has been confirmed by his family that Tim Bergling died by suicide. His family released a statement concerning the news:
Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions.
An over-acheiving perfectionist who travelled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress. When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music.
He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer, he wanted to find peace. Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.
Tim, you will be forever loved and sadly missed. The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive.
We love you,
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