For lovers of EDM, few names inspire as much reverence as that of Avicii (a.k.a. Tim Bergling), the Swedish-born DJ and producer whose uplifting music took the pop and dance worlds by storm. This week, we looked back at six things we’ll never forget about this genre-defining DJ.
The Release of Levels
Avicii rose to international prominence with the release of his chart-topping debut “Levels” in 2011, which went No. 1 in Sweden and Norway, reaching the top 10 in several countries throughout Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, and Switzerland. Incorporating a sample of Etta James’ “Something’s Got A Hold On Me,” “Levels” is quintessentially Avicii in its production: inspiring, forward-looking, and, most importantly, featuring an irresistible dance beat.
His Live Shows
Before he retired from live performance in 2016, Avicii was known for his genre-bending sets, playing some of the most significant stages in the world, including Tomorrowland, Creamfields, and Ultra Music Festival. However, within the shelter of the stage’s turntable, this otherwise timid artist shone, sometimes spinning for hours and incorporating a wide range of influences into his set, including music from his old and new catalog. Check out this performance at Pier 94 for what some have called the best performance of Avicii’s career.
The Man Behind the Deck (Avicii True Stories)
There’s no denying that life in the public eye didn’t suit Tim, who struggled with the demands of international stardom. The release of Avicii: True Stories in 2017 allowed longtime fans of the producer to get a peek into his personal life, with the documentary featuring family archival footage and a behind-the-scenes look at some of Avicii’s highest highs and lowest lows within the music industry.
A critical highlight of Avicii’s career was receiving a Grammy nomination for his work with David Guetta on “Sunshine,” released in 2011. It featured on the French DJ’s fifth studio album, Nothing But the Beat. The single was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Recording, a category Avicii would feature the following year again for his hit single, “Levels.”
His Philanthropic Streak
It may surprise some that in addition to being a superlative producer, Avicii also possessed a significant philanthropic streak. In 2011, the DJ went on a 26-city US Tour called House for Hunger, going on to donate the tour’s entire proceeds (amounting to over $1 million) to Feeding America; he also shone a light on issues like human trafficking and gang violence through his music videos for “For a Better Day” and “Pure Grinding.”
The Legacy He Left Behind
The death of Avicii in 2018 rocked the world of electronic music, shocking fans, and collaborators and sending an entire community into mourning for this young talent. Avicii represented a shift within electronic music, defining the genre during the early 2010s and serving as an inspiration to producers worldwide. It seemed unfathomable that this artist could have left us so soon.
In many ways, Avicii’s memory lives on. Following his death, the artist’s family established the Tim Bergling Foundation, a charity whose focus is fighting mental health decline throughout the music industry, and in 2021 the massive concert stadium in Stockholm was renamed the Avicii Arena. The biggest piece of Avicii’s legacy, however, is his music, as fresh and uplifting as when it was released and continues to inspire millions worldwide.