Swedish DJ Avicii, who died in 2018, won a tribute from Google’s Doodle this Wednesday (8), the date on which he would complete his 32nd birthday.
In the tribute, Google shared a brief animation with a little history of the artist to the sound of “Wake Me Up”, one of his biggest hits.
“Whether it’s on the loudspeakers of a festival’s main stage or the headphones of millions of listeners around the world, the music of Swedish superstar DJ, producer, songwriter and humanitarian Tim Bergling — better known by his stage name Avicii — is widely considered to have changed the trajectory of the pop genre forever,” wrote the search engine.
Google Doodle pays homage to Avicii on the day DJ would turn 32 — Photo: Reproduction
“Today’s Doodle video, featuring one of its most iconic tracks, ‘Wake Me Up’, celebrates its 32nd anniversary and honors its legacy as one of the first artists to elevate electronic music to global success,” he added.
Avicii was found dead at age 28 in a hotel in Muscat, Oman, after committing suicide.
At the time, the death of the DJ, whose talent for creating melodic and vibrant pop-house hits made him one of the greatest producers of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) in the world, left fans and other musicians in a state of deep shock.
Despite his short career, the Swede filled concert halls and stadiums, had his music downloaded by millions of people and worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry.
But offstage, he suffered health problems and struggled with depression.
Avicii claimed to have been shaped by Swedish pop sensibility — Photo: Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP
Born Tim Bergling in Stockholm in 1989, his mother is actress Anki Liden, who starred in Lasse Hallstrom’s 1985 film ‘My Dog Life’, which was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay).
In an interview, Avicii said he was shaped by the Swedish pop sensibility.
“We grew up singing great folk songs, so the sense of melody is good, and you grow with that in yourself. I think it molds us all.”
“But I also grew up knowing that people like Eric Prydz and the Swedish House Mafia lived in the same neighborhood.”
Also DJ Pete Tong discovered Avicii when he participated in a talent competition in 2008. The Swede won by a landslide victory and Tong decided to release his first hit — titled Manman — on his own label.
“Clearly, he had a very strong talent for building a melody and showed great maturity in the way he put together a track,” Tong told British tabloid Evening Standard in 2014. “Natural. longer.”
After making a name for himself with a string of singles, Avicii’s popularity exploded with the song “Levels” in 2011.
The song combines a pulsating, euphoric chorus with a snippet of “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” by American singer Etta James, and has sold 1 million copies in at least 10 countries.
Then other hits followed — “I Could Be The One” with Nicky Romero, and “Wake Me Up,” featuring vocals by Aloe Blacc.
Avicii might have had a variety of musical influences, but his biggest hits had the same elements — pushy, escapist house production; guest vocals to provide accessibility and depth; and, above all, irresistible melodies.
When accused of not making “real music,” he snapped at the Evening Standard: “You’re drawing the melodies, drawing the chord progressions. You’re making music. Mozart wrote it all down on a piece of paper. DJs write on computers. I really don’t see any difference.”
Avicii established himself as music superstar with ‘Levels’ in 2011 — Photo: Amy Sussman/Invision/AP
A superstar among DJs
Avicii’s short career included other hits such as “Hey Brother”, “You Make Me”, “The Nights” and “Waiting For Love”.
Avicii headlined festivals and became the first EDM (Electronic Dance Music) DJ to perform a world tour, earning $19 million in 2015, according to the US magazine Forbes.
He has also collaborated with renowned artists such as Coldplay, Rita Ora, Sia, Lenny Kravitz, Leona Lewis and Robbie Williams. A year before his death, he worked with disco legend Nile Rodgers.
And high-profile performances included the 2014 World Cup closing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro and the wedding of Swedish prince Carl Philip.
In 2012, the DJ embarked on a 27-date US tour, House for Hunger, pledging $1 million to Feeding America, a charitable organization to fight hunger.
“When I started making money, I found I didn’t really need it,” he once said. “When you have so much money you don’t need, the most sensible, most humane and completely obvious thing is to give it to people in need.”
He also supported other causes. In 2015, he addressed the issues of human trafficking and gang violence by directing videos for his tracks For a Better Day and Pure Grinding. “Every song has a story I wanted to tell,” said Avicii.
alcoholism and health problems
Avicii’s health problems began in January 2012, when he spent 11 days in hospital with acute pancreatitis, allegedly caused by excessive alcohol intake.
“Drinking has become routine for me, but it’s impossible to continue touring and drinking at the same time because you’re going to fall apart,” he told the Standard. “Especially when you play 320 shows a year.”
Avicii returned to hospital in 2013 and was advised to remove the gallbladder. He refused and continued to tour, but was forced to undergo surgery in 2014. Doctors discovered that his appendix had ruptured and performed emergency intervention to remove it.
“I took a month off, but it wasn’t really a month,” he told Billboard. “I was in the studio 12 hours a day, and then I went straight back to touring. It’s hard to say no in this industry. You want to play everything and be everywhere.”
Despite his health problems, the announcement in 2016 that he was retiring from touring was met with a mixture of surprise and shock.
“For me, it was something I had to do for my health,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “This environment wasn’t for me. It wasn’t the shows or the music. It was always the other things around that never came naturally to me.”
“I’m a more introverted person. It’s always been very difficult for me. I carried a lot of negative energy, I think.”
After his retirement announcement, he said he had his “private life back” and was “focusing on me for the first time in a long time”.
“This was obviously the hardest decision of my life so far,” he said. “But so far it’s been tremendously worthwhile in terms of well-being for me. I’m happier than ever.”
His last show was in Ibiza (Spain) in August 2016, and he released a comeback EP (Extended Play) in August 2017.
5 hits by avicii