As one of the most popular DJs of the late-2000s EDM boom, Grammy-nominated Swedish producer Avicii rose to the top of the charts in multiple countries and toured the world with his uplifting house anthems. Emerging in 2008, he made a name for himself on the electronic circuit before breaking into the international mainstream with his breakout hit, "Levels." The chart-topper was certified platinum across the globe and he soon became a fixture at both festivals and on the radio. His debut album, 2013's True, included a trio of chart-topping singles: "Wake Me Up," "You Make Me," and "Hey Brother." He continued to juggle the underground and the mainstream, remaining on the charts and racking up platinum certifications while pushing his sound in fresh directions on EPs and DJ mixes. Months after the release of his sixth EP, Avici (01), the young producer was found dead in Oman from self-inflicted wounds. He was 28. A year after his passing, the posthumous album TIM was issued.
Born Tim Bergling in Stockholm in 1989, he began making music at the age of 18, writing and remixing tracks in his bedroom and uploading them onto the Internet. Influenced by Daft Punk and Steve Angello, his melodic house sound gained a huge following, which led to support from both Tiësto, who invited him to perform a weekly residency at Privilege in Ibiza, and Pete Tong, who released first single "Manman" through his Bedroom Bedlam label.
In addition to remixing tracks for Little Boots, Robyn, and Dizzee Rascal, Bergling issued a handful of his own singles, like "Bromance" and "My Feelings for You" in 2010. "Seek Bromance" -- which added the vocals of Amanda Wilson atop his earlier track -- became a modest hit across Europe. However, it wasn't until his next single, 2011's "Levels," that his international popularity exploded. Featuring a sample of Etta James' "Something's Got a Hold on Me," the track topped dance charts across the globe and reached platinum status in at least ten countries, launching Avicii into the mainstream.
Toward the end of 2012, Bergling issued "I Could Be the One," a collaborative single with Nicky Romero. The song became another hit for the producer and was featured heavily on reality TV shows and European radio. The following year, he released the single "Wake Me Up." Featuring the vocals of Aloe Blacc, the pastoral soul track peaked at the top of the charts in over 20 countries, making it his biggest hit to date. That "folktronica" sound would feature heavily on his debut album, True, which arrived in late 2013. The multi-platinum LP featured guests like Adam Lambert, MØ, and Nile Rodgers, and produced four additional hit singles like "Hey Brother" and "Addicted to You." A version of the album featuring Bergling's own club remixes -- the aptly titled True: Avicii by Avicii -- arrived in 2014. That same year, Bergling scored another mainstream hit with "A Sky Full of Stars," a collaboration with Coldplay.
In late 2015, his sophomore album, Stories, arrived. Continuing his cross-genre exploration of EDM and pop, Bergling recruited guests like Zac Brown, Wyclef Jean, Matisyahu, and Martin Garrix for the effort, which topped the Billboard dance chart upon release. While he continued to perform and release new music, Bergling announced in early 2016 that he would retire from the live scene due to persistent health concerns. That summer, he performed his final live set in Ibiza.
New music in the form of the Avici (01) EP arrived in summer 2017 while Bergling continued to produce material for an expected second and third installment of the EP series. However, on April 20, 2018, he suddenly passed away in Muscat, Oman, at the age of 28. The following year, a posthumous collection was issued. TIM featured appearances by Aloe Blacc, Vargas & Lagola, A R I Z O N A, Imagine Dragons, and Chris Martin of Coldplay.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo