World’s 8 Most Famous DJs5
By Ife Blount
World’s 8 Most Famous DJs
Today’s greatest DJs are more than just headphones and turntables, they are superstars. DJs spend their time collaborating with artists, touring the hottest clubs in the world, working on soundtracks, experimenting with new sounds, merchandising, releasing compilations, and more. Their shows keep tens of thousands on their feet with a mixture of music, lighting, and special effects. As such, it has become a misnomer for DJs to append only the “DJ” title to their name. Many have dropped “DJ” to better represent themselves as all-around artists, writers, producers, and musicians.
Various DJ magazines, polls, and awards, honor existing and emerging talent. The series A3 Nightlife, for instance, celebrates their journey to superstardom, featuring DJs entertaining hordes of fans around the world. While some are undisputed favorites, to rank them in any particular order is difficult. Those listed below are among the cream of the crop.
1. Armin van Buuren
Reaching the coveted #1 spot in DJ Mag’s 2010 Top 100 DJs list for an unprecedented fourth year in a row, Dutch native Armin van Buuren has solidified his position as one of the best DJs in the world. He has two shows on Sirius XM’s Electric Beat – a weekly airing of his two-hour syndicated show, “A State of Trance” (ASOT), and a 24-hour long show, “A State of Sundays.” There’s also an ASOT double CD compilation that he’s released annually since 2004. Recently, Armin celebrated 10 years of ASOT (500 episodes) with a five continent party that culminated in Sydney in mid-April 2011. At this year’s Winter Music Conference in Miami, van Buuren racked up awards for Best DJ, Best Global DJ, Best Radio Mix Show DJ (for ASOT), Best Full Length DJ Mix (for ASOT), and Best Trance Track for the song “Not Giving Up.” As further assurance of his universal popularity, a space travel company, Space Expedition Curacao, named Armin as one of its 15 Founder Astronauts who will undergo training for their inaugural flight to outer space in 2014, further extending his reach to the universe.
A3 Nightlife – Armin Van Buren WMC
Talk about a brand! With the signature mouse head and merch line to accompany his fame as a musician, Canada’s Deadmau5 (pronounced “dead mouse”) is one of the most in-demand DJs out there. Don’t let his album titles like “Random Album” and “For Lack of a Better Name” discount his talent and popularity. MTV asked Deadmau5 to be their house DJ for the 2010 Video Music Awards, and his ever-growing popularity even landed him a guest spot on WB’s “Gossip Girl.” At the 2011 Beatport Music Awards, Deadmau5 was named Artist of the Year in the Community Choice Awards category, as determined by fan votes. Also, his single with Wolfgang Gartner, “Animal Rights,” took the award for Top Electro House Track. He also scooped up the 2011 Juno Award for Best Dance Recording for the third consecutive year. Self professed techie, Deadmau5 is also known for his elaborate lighting and special effects. In October 2011, he released what has been dubbed his first official artist album “4×4=12” and recently confirmed that he’ll be working on a track with fellow superstar Tiësto.
3. David Guetta
David Guetta has managed to make himself a household name in the world DJ scene and American pop culture. He helped make dance music popular in the US with mega hits such as “Gettin’ Over You” featuring Fergie and LMFAO, “Who’s That Chick” by Rihanna, and “Sexy B*tch” featuring Akon. The aforementioned single “Getting Over You” peaked at #1 on the US and UK Billboard dance charts; and the single “Sexy B*tch” went triple platinum in March 2011. His musical dexterity continues into hip hop as he’s featured on the debut single “Wet (Sweat)” from Snoop Dogg’s “Doggumentary” album released on April 18, 2011. He’s currently in the studio working on “I Found Love” to be released in summer 2011. Billboard Magazine featured him on the cover of their March 2010 issue making him the first DJ ever to land the cover. He’s currently touring and plans to release his next album in September 2011.
A3 Nightlife – David Guetta, Live at Cameo
Dutch native Tiësto was just voted the Best DJ of All Time in a Mixmag poll released in January 2011 and, like several other DJs, is gaining acclaim (and flack) for his cross-over success. One of the trailblazers for DJs in his own right, Tiësto was the first DJ to sell out a 25,000 seat stadium in 2003. He then followed it up a year later by becoming the first DJ to perform at an Olympic opening ceremony. He hosts a weekly radio show called Club Life; and last April, Tiësto released a new mixtape series called “Club Life” under his own newly formed record label Musical Freedom. “Club Life Volume 1 – Las Vegas” marks a mutual love affair between the city and Tiësto with a monthly gig at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as well as a street bearing his name “Tiësto Way.” His latest hit, “Beautiful World,” featuring Dino, was the most popular track in an MTV poll during Miami Music Week 2011 and reached #1 on Beatport.
A3 Nightlife – Tiësto at Mansion WMC Miami
5. Paul van Dyk
Grammy nominee Paul van Dyk is one of the more seasoned DJs on this list, having been a top 10 DJ on DJ Mag’s list since 1998. When the Grammys added the Best Dance/Electronic Dance Album category in 2005, Dyk was one of the inaugural nominees for his “Reflections” album. Dyk, who grew up in East Berlin, witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and has used his music as political commentary about the unification of Germany. In 2009, he released the anthem “We Are One,” featuring Johnny McDaid, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. 2010 marked the release of “10 Years Vandit E.P. 2” remixed by Giusseppe Ottaviani in celebration of 10 years of his own record label, Vandit. Thousands of fans tune in to his weekly radio show and podcast, Vonyc Sessions. At this year’s Coachella, Dyk debuted his “Evolution” album due out in summer 2011.
Dutch native Afrojack is a relative newcomer but has taken his fan base by storm with the platinum selling hit “Take Over Control,” featuring Eva Simmons, and a Grammy win for Madonna’s “Revolver” (produced with mentor and friend David Guetta). Like Guetta, Afrojack has garnered a growing crossover audience for his remixes of pop and hip songs like Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” and Diddy Dirty Money’s “Hello, Good Morning.” He also worked with Diplo to create the beat for Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now.” As if the Grammy win wasn’t enough to convince naysayers about his early success, Afrojack also scored Best Break-Through DJ and Best Remixer at the 2011 Winter Music Conference.
7. Swedish House Mafia
Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Axwell could have been named individually in their own right but are presented here under their DJ “dream team” name of Swedish House Mafia. The mega hit “One (Your Name),” featuring Pharrell, won Best Electro/Tech House Track and Best Progressive House Track during the Winter Music Conference. In 2010, the story of Swedish House Mafia’s success was chronicled in the documentary “Take One.” Also released were a greatest hits compilation album and book by the same name. Their next album, entitled “Save The World,” is due out in May 2011. Fans can also sport an array of Swedish House Mafia branded t-shirts, hoodies, dresses, and more from their online store.
Welsh native Sasha, real name Alexander Coe, started his career in the 80s and 90s and is now one of the world’s most legendary DJs. His big break occurred when he landed a regular gig at Renaissance, a club in the UK that is now closed. During that time, he partnered with another house DJ by the name of John Digweed. The two eventually released a 3-CD compilation, “Renaissance” and associated record label that was a huge success and marked a series of collaborations for the duo. In 2007, Sasha launched his own record label named emFire. Over the years, he’s remixed songs for Madonna, The Chemical Brothers, Seal, and Thom Yorke, just to name a few. This year, Sasha was voted 1 of the 10 greatest DJs of all time by the readers of Mixmag, alongside aforementioned DJs Tiësto and Paul van Dyk. Sasha is touring the club circuit with his shows V_rtek and Never Say Never.
Ife Blount embodies the anomaly of an engineer who prefers to write. After starting several blogs, including Ifelicious.com, that focus on pop culture, reality television, celebrity interviews and indie, Ife found success and rediscovered her life’s true passion for writing. Ife’s engineering background, coupled with work experiences in Big 5 consulting, Fortune 100 corporations, and as an entrepreneur in the field of quality assurance, has enabled her to blend technical and business acumen with her natural ability to convey a message with wit, clarity, and creativity as a freelance writer and blogger. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio with her pampered teacup poodle named “Happy” and husband.