Tim Bergling (Swedish: [tɪm ²bærjlɪŋ]; 8 September 1989 – 20 April 2018), better known by his stage name Avicii, was a Swedish musician, DJ, remixer and record producer.
Bergling began his career at age 16 posting his remixes in online forums of electronic music, which led him to sign his first record label deal. He rose to prominence in 2011 with his breakthrough single "Levels". His debut studio album, True (2013), featured electronic music blended with elements of several music genres and received generally positive reviews from music critics. It peaked within the top ten in more than fifteen countries and topped the Australian, Swedish, Danish and US dance charts. It was supported by the lead single "Wake Me Up", which topped most music markets in Europe and reached number four in the US. In 2015 he released his second studio album, Stories, and in 2017 he released an EP titled Avīci (01). In 2016, he retired from touring due to health reasons.
His catalogue of music also included the singles "I Could Be the One" with Nicky Romero, "You Make Me", "X You", "Hey Brother", "Addicted to You", "The Days", "The Nights", "Waiting for Love", "Without You" and "Lonely Together". Bergling was nominated for Grammy Awards for his work on "Sunshine" with David Guetta in 2012 and his track "Levels" in 2013. Several music publications credit Bergling as among the DJs who ushered electronic music into top 40 radio in the early 2010s.
Bergling died on April 20, 2018 in Muscat, Oman. Six days later his family implied in an open letter that the cause of death was suicide following years of mental and physical health issues. He was 28 years old at the time of his death.
Tim Bergling was born on 8 September 1989 in Stockholm, Sweden, to Klas Bergling and actress Anki Lidén. He has three siblings, David Bergling, Linda Sterner and Anton Körberg; his half-brother. Inspired by his brother, who was also a DJ, he began making music at the age of 16. In May 2007, Avicii signed on with the Dejfitts Plays label.
Bergling was a member of the Laidback Luke Forums, where he refined his craft and, at times, demonstrated his distinct deep house style. By 2009 to 2010, Bergling was a prolific producer and was releasing music incredibly quickly. His remixes during this period were "Sound of Now", "Muja", "Ryu" and "Even". Bergling explained that the name Avicii means "the lowest level of Buddhist hell" (Avīci) and he chose the moniker because his real name was already used upon creating his Myspace page. Then, in 2010, Bergling released the hit song "Seek Bromance", which reached the top 20 in several countries, including Belgium, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Sweden. He also remixed Nadia Ali's classic single "Rapture" for her album Queen of Clubs Trilogy: Onyx Edition. In October 2010, Bergling signed with the European A&R team with EMI Music Publishing.
In 2011, Bergling released "Levels", which launched him into the mainstream. The song was produced by Bergling and contains a vocal sample from the 1962 gospel-inspired "Something's Got a Hold on Me" by Etta James. The same vocal sample was used first by Pretty Lights in his 2006 song "Finally Moving". This sample was also used by drum and bass producer Logistics on "Call Me Back" and by Flo Rida in his single "Good Feeling", which was produced by DJ Prak and Cirkut. "Levels" reached the top ten in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, whilst topping the charts in Hungary, Norway and Sweden.
In 2012, his collaboration track "Sunshine" with David Guetta was nominated for a Grammy award under the category for Best Dance Recording. His track "Fade into Darkness" was sampled by Leona Lewis on her single "Collide". The sampling was not accredited and led to controversy as Bergling attempted to block the single's release. The matter was resolved out of court with representatives stating "that Leona Lewis and Avicii will work together on the forthcoming single of Collide".
On 23 March 2012, Bergling's unsigned single "Last Dance" was previewed on Pete Tong's show on BBC Radio 1. The song was later released on 27 August 2012. At Ultra Music Festival 2012 in Miami, he premiered two tracks, "Girl Gone Wild" (Avicii's UMF Remix) with Madonna and "Superlove" with Lenny Kravitz. Avicii's UMF Remix of "Girl Gone Wild" was released on 20 April 2012, and "Superlove" with Kravitz was released on 29 May 2012. After reaching two million followers on Facebook, Bergling released a new song titled "Two Million". It was put out as a free download on his official Soundcloud page. On 27 April 2012, Bergling released "Silhouettes". The song featured vocals from Salem Al Fakir and peaked at number 5 on the UK Dance charts and number 4 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs.
Bergling was a featured performer on 4 August 2012 at Lollapalooza festival in Chicago's Grant Park. On 12 August 2012, he released "Dancing in My Head" (Avicii's 'Been Cursed' Mix) on Beatport. The track features vocals from Eric Turner. A radio edit of the track, titled "Dancing in My Head" (Tom Hangs Mix) was released on 14 August 2012 on iTunes, and a remix EP was later released on 30 October 2012 featuring remixes from Charlie Bernardo and Michael Woods. On 26 September 2012, Bergling made history by being the first DJ to headline the world-famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City. He performed two sold out shows on 26 and 27 September. He was supported by Matt Goldman and Cazzette at the two shows. At his Radio City Music Hall shows, he played a preview of his new track with Mike Posner titled "Stay with You".
On 29 December 2012, Bergling premiered many new songs at Lights All Night, Dallas Convention Center, some of which made it on to his first album, True. These unreleased songs included "I'll Be Gone" and "Let It Go". The instrumental of "Let It Go" was mixed with the a capella of "Addicted to You" to become "Addicted to You (Avicii by Avicii)".
On 29 December 2012, Bergling released "I Could Be the One" with Nicky Romero. After first being debuted at his shows almost a year earlier, the track finally got released via Bergling's record label LE7ELS. The new vocal version was released along with an instrumental version, a radio edit, and remixes from Audrio and Didrick. On 9 January 2013, Bergling launched the Avicii X You project, a partnership with Ericsson designed to create the world's first "crowdsourced" hit song. The project enabled fans to send in basslines, effects, melodies, rhythms and vocals to Bergling as sound files over the Internet. The song features sequences from Kian Sang (melody), Naxsy (bassline), Martin Kupilas (beat), Ваня Хакси (break), Jonathan Madray, Mateusz Kolata, and Christian Westphalen (effects). Bergling acted as executive producer and created the finished song officially titled X You, which was released on 26 February 2013. On 30 January 2013, Bergling released "Three Million" featuring Negin to celebrate three million fans on his Facebook page.
Bergling was nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance Recording with "Levels" at the 2013 Grammy Awards. He was nominated alongside Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo, Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia and John Martin, and Al Walser. The award show took place on 10 February 2013. From late February to early March 2013, Bergling toured Australia as one of the headline acts in the Future Music Festival alongside The Prodigy and The Stone Roses. In late February 2013, Bergling made his first South American tour, with concerts in Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Chile.
In March 2013, Bergling announced and premiered many new tracks from his new album True, which would later be set to be released in September, during his Main Stage set at Ultra Music Festival in Miami. The new tracks were experimental in nature. For example, Bergling brought out a stomping band to play through the new bluegrass-tinged song "Wake Me Up". Many of these new songs received mixed critical reviews after the concert.
On 11 April 2013, Bergling released his new album promo mix on SoundCloud. It contained some songs from True and some of his non-album singles. It also contained some of his ID's such as "Black and Blue" and "Enough is Enough (Don't Give Up On Us)".
The EBU and SVT announced on 15 April that Bergling, along with ex-ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, had composed the anthem for the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. The song was performed for the first time in the Final on 18 May.
On 14 June 2013, the world premiere of Bergling's new single, "Wake Me Up", was previewed by Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1, featuring vocals from Aloe Blacc. The song was later released on iTunes and radio on 25 June 2013. It is the first single from Bergling's album True, which was released on 16 September 2013. "Wake Me Up" was number 1 on the Spotify Global Chart and Bergling was at 2 in most streamed artist worldwide. "Wake Me Up" later went on to set a then record of 14 weeks as the number one hit on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Songs list. The Official Charts Company announced on 21 July that "Wake Me Up" had become the UK's fastest selling single of 2013 after overtaking Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines", having sold 267,000 copies in its first week on sale in the UK. "Wake Me Up" subsequently became a major hit, topping the charts in over 20 countries including Australia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
On 19 October 2013, the DJ Mag 2013 Top 100 DJs List was announced, with Bergling ranking number 3 on the list. Hardwell became the new World No.1 displacing Armin Van Buuren. On 28 October 2013, Bergling released the single "Hey Brother" with vocals by Dan Tyminski. On 10 November, Bergling won his first award "Best Electronic" at the MTV EMA's. On 24 November 2013 he won the American Music Award for favorite Electronic Dance Music Artist.
In December 2013, Bergling released his fourth single off the album, "Addicted to You", which reached number 5 in Australia, with vocals from Audra Mae, who also sings on "Shame on Me" and "Long Road to Hell", both tracks on the album. Bergling also released the single "Lay Me Down", featuring vocals from Adam Lambert and guitar from Nile Rodgers. On 29 December 2013, Bergling debuted his new track "Dreaming of Me", featuring vocals from Audra Mae, via episode 19 of his LE7ELS podcast. It is unknown whether it will be released in the future.
In January 2014, the French hit music radio station NRJ released a new web radio station called "NRJ AVICII", which plays songs only by Bergling.
On 8 March 2014, Bergling's Instagram account confirmed a collaboration with Madonna. The extent of the collaboration is unknown. On 21 March 2014, Bergling released a remixed edition of his album True titled True: Avicii By Avicii containing remixes by himself of all the tracks, excluding "Heart Upon My Sleeve" for unknown reasons. The promotion of this album was supposed to begin at the 2014 Ultra Music Festival, but Bergling announced he had been hospitalised on 28 March, and was unable to play his closing set at the festival. On 28 March 2014, FIFA and Sony Music Entertainment announced that Bergling would be collaborating with Carlos Santana, Wyclef Jean and Alexandre Pires for the official FIFA World Cup Anthem titled "Dar um Jeito (We Will Find a Way)". The anthem was performed at the FIFA World Cup Closing Ceremony on 13 July 2014.
In 2014, following the FIFA World Cup, Bergling released his single "Lay Me Down". He also produced and collaborated with Chris Martin from Coldplay, co-writing and co-producing the track "A Sky Full of Stars" from the band's sixth studio album Ghost Stories, released on 19 May 2014. He also played and recorded the piano parts on the track. "A Sky Full of Stars" was released on 3 May as the second single from Ghost Stories. "Lovers on the Sun", a track Bergling co-produced with David Guetta, was released on 30 June 2014. Avicii also worked with Wyclef Jean on a single titled "Divine Sorrow" for the Hatian singer's upcoming album Clefication.
In July 2014, Bergling told Rolling Stone that he had worked on 70 songs for his next album Stories, which would include collaborations with Jon Bon Jovi, Serj Tankian of System of a Down, Chris Martin, Wyclef Jean and Matisyahu. Describing the album, Bergling said: "It's going to be a lot more song-oriented."
During his tour for True, he also performed his upcoming single "No Pleasing a Woman" with vocals from Billie Joe Armstrong of the American rock band Green Day. It has a similar instrumental to "Wake Me Up" albeit different chord progressions, along with "No Pleasing a Woman". Bergling also performed other upcoming songs like "In Love with Your Ghost" with Daniel "Danne" Adams-Ray, "Love to Fall" with Tom Odell and "Million Miles" with LP, which is the demo version of "Trouble", a song from Stories with vocals from Wayne Hector.
"Lose Myself", a collaboration between Bergling and Chinese singer Wang Leehom, was released on 1 September 2014. On 8 September 2014, his 25th birthday, Bergling decided to cancel all of his remaining performances of 2014 due to health concerns. The following day, he announced through Denim & Supply that he would release his new single "The Days" later in 2014; a video was also featured with a preview of the track. "The Days" is a collaboration between Bergling and Robbie Williams, and was released on 3 October 2014 via PRMD. On 16 September 2014, it was announced through EA Sports that Bergling was debuting a brand new track called "The Nights" exclusively on FIFA 15. On 17 November 2014, it was officially announced that the track is to be released as a part of an EP together with "The Days".
On 17 November 2014, Wyclef Jean released a track titled "Divine Sorrow" featuring Avicii.
On 2 March 2015, Bergling performed live at Australia's Future Music Festival his upcoming single "Heaven", a collaboration with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin on vocals. The vocals were later resung by singer Simon Aldred from Cherry Ghost; Chris Martin will receive writing credits on "Heaven". A lot of songs were leaked into the internet via Bergling's UMF set 2015. These songs include "Heaven", "Waiting For Love," and some of his ID's "For A Better Day", "City Lights", "Can't Catch Me", "True Believer", "What Would I Change It To", "Can't Love You Again" (previously leaked on the internet under the name "Don't Call") and "Attack".
On 25 April 2015, Bergling announced on episode 35 of his LE7ELS podcast that he would be playing some of his unreleased songs on his show. He also previewed his bootleg of Kings of Tomorrow's song "Finally" and one of his old songs that he did with ASH, titled "Papa Was a Rolling Stone".
On 6 May 2015, Bergling released his rework of Nina Simone's version of "Feeling Good", composed in 1964 by the English songwriters Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. On 8 May 2015, Bergling previewed his song "I'll Be Gone" via episode 422 of Tiësto's Club Life Podcast which has a very similar instrumental to Liar Liar (Avicii by Avicii) albeit different vocals and chord progressions. It was leaked into the internet between 2013–2014 via the name "Stars" and is yet to be released. It also shares a similar drop to one of Bergling's ID's "Black and Blue". On 22 May 2015, Bergling premiered another single from Stories, "Waiting for Love". The track was co-produced by fellow DJ and producer Martin Garrix, and featured vocals from Simon Aldred of Cherry Ghost. On 25 May 2015, Bergling previewed three old tracks on episode 36 of his LE7ELS podcast: "Tracks of My Tears", "Sorry Mr. Atari" and "Time to Get lll", all of which are songs that Bergling had made years ago. "Tracks of My Tears" is the original version of Bergling's "All You Need is Love". On 27 May 2015, it was confirmed by a Swedish newspaper through an interview with Bergling that his sophomore album Stories would be released in fall 2015.
On 3 July 2015, Bergling previewed two tracks from his album Stories on episode 37 of his LE7ELS podcast: "Broken Arrows" featuring Zac Brown Band and "Can’t Catch Me" featuring Wyclef Jean and Matisyahu. He also played a full version of his track "Heaven" and said that he was doing another track with Chris Martin on vocals called "True Believer". Later, Bergling said that he is also singing on that track. On 18 July 2015, it was announced by Bergling that he had finally finished production on Stories after 2 years of work.
A couple of weeks later, on 4 August 2015, it was announced that the final singles before the release of Stories would be "For a Better Day" featuring American singer Alex Ebert and "Pure Grinding" featuring vocals from Kristoffer Fogelmark and Earl St. Clair. On 27 August, Bergling released a teaser video on Instagram with the song "Pure Grinding" playing. The tracks "For a Better Day" and "Pure Grinding" were released the following day through Spotify and iTunes. On 26 September, Bergling announced "Stories – Megamix" on Spotify.
Stories was released on 2 October 2015 alongside 3 promotional singles: "Broken Arrows" with Zac Brown, "Ten More Days" with Zak Abel and "Gonna Love Ya" with Sandro Cavazza.
Avicii was named in the song "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" by American singer and songwriter Mike Posner. Posner recounts the event when he went to an Avicii show in Ibiza and got a mystery pill from someone, with the starting lyrics "I took a pill in Ibiza / To show Avicii I was cool". The song was made in the week they wrote a song together in Sweden called "Stay with You".
On 15 January 2016, Bergling released his remix of Morten's "Beautiful Heartbeat". Coca-Cola had partnered with Bergling for a global campaign anthem "Taste the Feeling" featuring Conrad Sewell. The song was released on 19 January. On 25 January, Bergling teamed up again with Coldplay to co-produce the band's single "Hymn for the Weekend", which was released as the second single from their album A Head Full of Dreams. In 2016, according to a report by Inc. magazine, Avicii was the 6th fastest-growing company in Europe, with a revenue of €7.7 million in 2014.
On 19 March 2016, Bergling performed live at Ultra Music Festival and premiered new IDs such as "Without You (feat. Sandro Cavazza)", "We Burn (Faster Than Light)", and a collaboration with Australian pop star Sia (which he first played in Dubai). On 29 March, Bergling announced on Facebook that he would be retiring from performing live and touring in 2016. On 7 April 2016, Bergling announced that he was working on a third studio album. On 3 June 2016, Bergling released his collaboration with Otto Knows titled "Back Where I Belong". It's the second collaboration with the two producers after "Itrack", back in 2011.
On 15 July 2016, Bergling released a remix of his own song, "Feeling Good". The remix was titled "Feeling Good (Avicii by Avicii)". This track was only released on Bergling's official YouTube channel. On 1 August, it appears to have been pulled with the YouTube video being made private. On 28 August 2016, Bergling performed his final live performance in Ibiza, before retiring from touring citing health concerns. His initial announcement was made on his website in April.
On 22 December 2016, a representative of Avicii Music AB had announced that Avicii had parted ways with long-time manager Ash Pournouri and At Night Management along with Ash's record label PRMD. The representative also announced that Avicii had signed on to Universal Music Sweden and was expected to release his third studio album in 2017.
In June 2017, British singer Rita Ora debuted a semi-acoustic version of "Lonely Together" at a private event at Annabel's in London. "Lonely Together" was later the second single from Avīci (01). From 13 July to 2 August, Avicii shared one-minute snippets on Instagram, captioned "New music coming very very (very) soon!", with track titles as hashtags. Avicii uploaded teasers of each track from the EP online upon release.
On 10 August 2017, Bergling released the six-track EP Avīci (01). Avicii said of the release: "I'm really excited to be back with music once again. It has been a long time since I released anything and a long time since I was this excited over new music! My focus on this first EP of the album was to get a mix of new and old songs: some that fans have been asking about and waiting for mixed with brand new songs that they haven't heard before!"
In an interview with Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1, Bergling stated that the EP is one of three parts of his third studio album. On 11 September 2017, Avicii announced a documentary entitled Avicii: True Stories. The documentary chronicles the artist's retirement from touring and features interviews from his colleagues David Guetta, Tiësto, Wyclef Jean, Nile Rodgers and Chris Martin of Coldplay.
Bergling's influences included Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia (Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello, Axwell) and Eric Prydz.
Bergling described his earliest introduction to electronic music as "listening to a lot of Daft Punk, way before I knew what house music was."
Bergling's early work was deep house and progressive house, usually based on a four-chord structure, sub-bass and a non-complex synth melody. His debut studio album True featured a blending of music genres, including folktronica. While making the album, Bergling wanted to fuse the electronic music genre with soul, funk, blues, folk and country, as he felt that EDM had become too focused on "dirty drops". Its first single, "Wake Me Up", is a folk music crossover, which, as noted by a The Observer writer, "tapped into the market potential of mixing EDM and country, a template many artists have since recreated". A Variety editor commented that Bergling's "distinct sound" was comprised by "soaring synths and keening melodies". Musicians such as Kygo, Skrillex, Diplo, Martin Garrix and Cheat Codes have cited him as a source of inspiration.
After achieving widespread commercial success, Bergling began working with his manager and executive producer Ash Pournouri to start House for Hunger in 2011, a charity dedicated to alleviating global hunger. The pair wanted to showcase the giving spirit fostered by the house music community. Bergling explained, "You have to give something back. I am so fortunate to be in the position where I can actually do that. I feel lucky every day when I wake up and am able to do what I love and make a living." In addition to donating $1 million to Feeding America, a charity founded by John van Hengel, House for Hunger has helped fund the efforts of The Feed Foundation, started by Laura Bush, allowing it to distribute over 2 million school meals throughout Africa. He also supported campaigns against human trafficking and gang violence when he directed the videos for his tracks "For a Better Day" and "Pure Grinding".
In January 2012, Bergling was hospitalized for 11 days in New York City with acute pancreatitis caused by excessive alcohol use. In 2014, Bergling underwent surgery and had both his appendix and gallbladder removed. In 2016, Bergling's health deteriorated and he subsequently retired from performing live. Bergling spoke publicly about his health problems and pressure from his management in the 2017 documentary Avicii: True Stories, in which he is shown working from his hospital bed.
Bergling died on 20 April 2018 near Muscat, Oman, at the age of 28; no cause of death was immediately given. On 21 April 2018, the Omani police stated that there is "no criminal suspicion" or evidence of foul play in Bergling's death. On 26 April, his family released an open letter about Bergling's death, implying Bergling had committed suicide, stating "He really fought a battle with thoughts about the meaning of life and happiness. Now he could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace."
2017 Avicii: True Stories
• True (2013)
• Stories (2015)
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
Avicii in the news
|Songs by Avicii|