Photo Credit: Sean Eriksson
Born as Tim Bergling, Avicii was a Swedish musician that specialized in remixing music and record producing. His style of EDM, otherwise known as electronic dance music, crossed the genres of pop, country, reggae, and rock. Bergling became interested in the music since he was a child, and at the age of 8, he was mixing music in his bedroom. He also grew up with his brother, who was also a DJ that inspired him to step into the creative field. Bergling then started posting remixes on music forums. This gathered him many fans and he was able to score his first record deal in 2007, when he signed to Dejfitts Plays.
Bergling continued to work on his musical skills and posting tracks in forums. By 2009, the young artist was creating, producing, and releasing music quickly. Some songs that reached popularity with fans were “Even,” “Muja,” and “Ryu.” During this time Bergling took on the name Avicii. The artist stated that Avicii means “the lowest level of Buddhist hell.”
In 2010, Avicii released the song “Seek Bromance,” and gained a new level of notoriety in the music industry. This song gave him a stronger hold in the European market of the music industry. Avicii’s popularity increased in 2011 when he released his breakout single “Levels.” This track became a mainstream favorite. In the following year, the artist collaborated with fellow DJ and music producer David Guetta on the song “Sunshine.” He also worked with pop/R&B singer Leona Lewis on her single “Collide.”
With Ash Pournouri, his executive producer, Avicii started House For Hunger. This charity wanted to lessen the crippling effect of global hunger. The EDM artist and music producer donated all the income from his 27-show tour in 2012 to Feeding America. Avicii also used his platform to bring awareness to sex trafficking and gang violence as well.
Avicii’s health began to decline around the same time. He had surgery to remove his appendix and gallbladder after suffering from problems caused by excessive drinking. During 2012, Avicii released several songs that gained a lot of attention. He released “Girls Gone Wild” featuring Madonna, “Superlove” with Lenny Kravitz, and “Silhouttes” featuring Salem Al Fakir. Later in 2012, Avicii made music history as the first DJ to headline at the Radio City Music Hall. In early 2013, Avicii made more news as he launched a music crowd-sourcing project called Avicii X You. This allowed users to send parts of instrumentals to Avicii to allow him to create a new song. The first song released from this project was titled “X You.”
Due to the success that Avicii had generated in his career at that point, on September 13, 2013 the artist decided to release his first album titled True. Fans heard some tracks earlier in the year when Avicii performed at different venues. The music producer also set up an album cover unveiling that generated even bigger buzz. His album brought other musical genres together and was received with mixed reviews from critics. Songs like “Wake Me Up!” featuring Aloe Blacc and “You Make Me” featuring Salem Al Fakir peaked on popular music charts and garnered Avicii more fans.
Following the success that Avicii achieved after his first album cycle, he made an announcement that he was working on his next album. His second album, Stories, supposedly had 70 songs with many artist collaborations. Avicii continued to release new music while he was touring, including The Days/Nights EP. The Days/Nights EP contained the two songs “The Days” and “The Nights” with remixes to both. This came out a day after he canceled his remaining tour dates due to health concerns. He also released the remix album, True: Avicii By Avicii.
Throughout various performances and using his podcast ‘LE7ELS’, Avicii released several songs from the upcoming album. “Waiting For Love” attracted so much buzz that it became the lead single for Stories. Other songs received popularity for collaborative works with artists such as Chris Martin, Matisyahu, Wylef Jean, and the Zac Brown Band. Stories was released on October 2, 2015 and featured the singles where “Broken Arrows,” “Gonna Love Ya,” and “Ten More Days.”
Avicii performed at several festivals in the first couple of months of 2016. However, in March, he announced he would no longer perform live shows anymore. While shocking to fans, Avicii made the news easier with an announcement that he was working on his third album. At the end of the year, he signed to Universal Music Sweden and said the next album would be released in 2017. Avicii joined Rita Ora for the song, “Lonely Together” and it became one of the six songs for Avicii (01), the next EP Avicii released. The EDM artist then teamed with Levan Tsikurichvili to film the documentary Avicii: True Stories. The film followed Avicii’s life post-retirement and interviewed musical artists he collaborated with.
On April 20, 2018 Avicii committed suicide. The artist passed away at the young age of 28-years-old. It is believed that his anxieties and the mounting pressure from management pushed the artist over the edge. Avicii battled with the expectations expected from him since 2012. Reports stated that Avicii had over 200 songs unreleased and in varied states of completion. With so much work left, Avicii’s posthumous album TIM was released on June 6, 2019. All sales went to the Tim Bergling Foundation. The foundation was created in honor of the artist’s death as a means of overcoming mental health and for suicide prevention. “SOS” was the lead single of the album followed by “Tough Love” and “Heaven.”
Avicii’s vast body of work in his relatively short life shows how passionate he was about music. Avicii’s range of music and desire to push boundaries made him stand out. From crossing music genres, to innovative marketing and high-ranking collaborations, Avicii enjoyed exploring music. Using that platform, he invested in philanthropy to make the world a better place. Avicii’s legacy in music will forever uphold and be honored as one of the best DJ’s and music producers in electronic dance music.