Swedish super Star deejay Avicii
It was a life well-lived for Swedish DJ and producer, Tim Bergling—famously known as Avicii—who was able to make a great impact in the world’s music industry before hitting 30. He was credited for introducing EDM or electronic dance music with songs. The internationally-acclaimed EDM pioneer left his global fans in shock and in mourning after he was found dead more than two months ago. He was 28.
Avicii’s rise to stardom was one of a kind. Let’s take a look back at the life of the young electronic music superstar who was able to fuse together Country and Western styles of music and leave the audience stomping in awe of his catchy mixes.
The Birth of Avicii
Avicii was born on Sept. 8, 1989, in Stockholm, Sweden.
His stage name, by the way, is the Avici or Avichi in Buddhism and it refers to the lowest level of hell realm, where those who committed grave sins may be reborn.
In an interview with CMU (Complete Music Update) Daily in 2013, Avicii shared that his father, Klas Bergling, and his brothers influenced his taste in music. He grew up listening to 60s rock and Ray Charles and KISS, among others. His mother is Swedish actress Anki Liden. He has three other siblings, namely David Bergling, Linda Sterner and Anton Körberg.
Avicii got his early musical inspiration from his brother, who was also a DJ. His musical career started when he was just 16 years old — that was when he started mixing songs using computer software he downloaded. He participated in the Laidback Luke forum, which provided space for budding dance musicians to post their creations online and gather feedback on their work.
The international DJ admitted that he has always been fascinated with music but he learned to play a musical instrument recently. He said he got hooked with the software program that his friend introduced to him and that’s where his “playing around” with various music genres started. Bergling was 18 years old when he met his would-be long-time manager, Arash Pournouri, who guided him into his DJing gigs nightly.
Rise to Fame
Two years after he took interest in mixing music, he signed in with the Dejfitts Play in May 2007.
His first hit single, “Seek Bromance,” was released in 2010 and it reached top 20 status in major European countries such as the UK, France, Belgium, and The Netherlands. In the same year, Avicii signed with the European A&R team with EMI Music Publishing.
The single became his ticket to stardom placing him on the map after it topped Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart and hit No. 13 on the UK Singles chart. His other releases, including “Fade into Darkness” and “Blessed,” gave the affirmation of his sensibility in music and melody and proved his worth to become one of the industry’s rising stars.
His global breakthrough, however, came seven years ago when “Levels,” reached the top 10 countries and topped the charts in his hometown, Sweden. The song “Sunshine,” a collaboration with artist David Guetta, was subsequently nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 54th Grammy Awards. In 2012, Avicii got his second Grammy nomination for the same category for the song “Levels.”
His lead single, “Wake Me Up”, that was featured on his debut album #TRUE, released in 2013, showed his influences, and as Avicii once described it to Billboard, his “musical preferences.” He got his first awards in 2013, including the MTV EMA for Best Electronic Act and an American Music Award for favorite Electronic Dance Music Artist.
Avicii rose to fame collaborating with other famous artists, including Chris Martin, Wyclef Jean, Lenny Kravitz, Leona Lewis, Madonna, Matisyahu, Nicky Romero, Rita Ora, Robbie Williams, Santana, and a lot more.
Last year, he released his six-track EP Avici (01), which he said was intended to be a part of his third album. But a year before that, Avicii’s successful career came to pause when he announced in 2016 that he is retiring from touring, reportedly due to health issues.
“Two weeks ago, I took the time to drive across the U.S. with my friends and team, to just look and see and think about things in a new way,”Avicii wrote to his fans. “It really helped me realize that I needed to make the change that I’d been struggling with for a while,” he said.
In the documentary, Avicii: True Stories, the artist was able to share his struggles in the industry with “a lot of ups and downs.” The artist was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis, which was blamed in part to excessive drinking. In 2014, his gallbladder and appendix were taken out. He was supposed to have a show at SLS South Beach in Miami, but before Avicii got to the stage, the crowd was informed that he could not attend the event due to his medical condition.
His short-lived career, however, signaled the need to discuss and understand the issue of mental health. The non-stop touring schedules took a toll on his physical and mental health. In the documentary, Avicii shared:
“Everyone knows that I’ve been anxious and that I’ve been trying. I didn’t expect people to try to push me to do more shows. I’ve told them it will kill me. I don’t want to even entertain the idea of doing another gig.”
Avicii may have benefited from one of the many dual diagnosis treatment centers. California is home to many of these centers that help celebrities in a more secluded or private setting. These type of centers help with these sorts of problems as they deal with people who struggle with mental health problems like anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD etc. and substance abuse.
A few months after his death in Muscat, Oman last April 20, Avicii’s legacy of trying to find meaning and happiness in life, rings true in his masterpieces. His death has shaken the public and has reiterated the need to reflect on how to face the issue of mental health. It’s a call for help for others, who like Avicii, “could not go on any longer.”