Exclusive: EDM icon David Guetta talks about making music, isolation and collaborating with popstar Sia
David Guetta is among the first names that come to mind when one thinks of high-octane dance music. After all, who can forget his classics like Who’s That Chick with Rihanna and I Gotta Feeling with Black Eyed Peas, or even blockbusters like Club Can’t Handle Me with Flo Rida and Memories with Kid Cudi? And given the gloom caused by the pandemic, surrounding yourself with such tracks might urge you to kick off your shoes and dance away your blues! The ‘grandfather of EDM’, as his legions of admirers call him, might have first burst onto the music scene almost three decades ago, but his music still remains as relevant. Keeping with the signature notes that he is known for, the French DJ recently released a feel-good anthem, Let’s Love marking yet another collaboration with Australian pop goddess Sia, almost a decade after their record-breaking hit, Titanium.
The Parisian DJ confesses that the pandemic was a rather difficult period. So, to spread the idea of hope, he came up with the single. The song that is inspired by the synth-wave microgenre, sums up the emotions of hope, unflinching optimism and believing in the idea of love no matter what. The video offers an alternative tech-enabled utopia. David says, “This time is difficult for all of us. It’s been over six months since the world has been brought to its knees by the pandemic. Living in isolation could be hard, which is why we wanted to do something that gave people hope and spread love. We want to remind people that it’s a hard time for everyone and we need to come together, instead of playing the blame game or turning against each other.” Although David has collaborated with big names like Nicki Minaj, Charlie Puth and Jason Derulo, he and Sia make quite the dream duo. This marks the ninth time they have created music together!
The dream duo
Given the lockdown, and the isolation that followed, both David and singer-songwriter Sia managed to work on creating the song remotely, as they were in different parts of the world. What could be more emblematic of the new world order, right? And Sia had the lyrics ready for the song in a day! He says, “I had a tune and song in mind, and called Sia to see if she would want to come on board as the vocalist and to write the lyrics. She loved the idea and once I sent her the chords, she came back with the lyrics in 24 hours. She is incredible! That’s the beauty of music as well. It connects people anywhere in the world without any limitations.” Although the 52-year-old says that every track that he created with Sia is “special”, we discover that his favourite one to date is still Titanium. “This song became the biggest song of my career. When we started on the record together, neither of us could have guessed that it would become such a hit. The love and appreciation it received was overwhelming.” So far, Titanium has garnered over one billion streams, followed by other memorable numbers like She Wolf (Falling To Pieces) in 2012 and Flames (2018).
Notes of slowing down
Even in today’s world of stiff competition and ranking, it would not be too far off the mark to say that David is a legend when it comes to EDM. He started Dj-ing at the age of 16, discovered house music as early as 1987 and rose through the ranks in the French DJ-ing circuit. Global recognition might have come after two decades of consolidating his position, but now, he can’t seem to stop. David is busy paving the future of this genre of music. At present, he’s recorded over 50 million record sales with a total number of streams crossing an astonishing 10 billion! According to Spotify statistics, he has over 117 million listeners in over 79 countries. However, beyond the blinding lights, the screaming fans, and trance-inducing music that have people grooving, DJ-ing can be an abyss that draws you into the vortex, sometimes engulfing you. Constant tours, the intense schedules without rest can get to you. One may recall that in multiple earlier interviews he spoke about how his friend Avicii’s death shook him to the core, but it was music that saved him.
He once said in a previous interview with an American magazine how the lifestyle is hard. But given the year 2020 has been and the subsequent slowing down, David is thankful for the time he got to spend with his two children. “It actually was my first summer staying at home with my family. So the whole situation definitely allowed me to spend more time producing, but also to enjoy my family,” says the musician.
The constant creator
Clearly, you can’t keep the man away from his music. A voracious producer with a constant urge to create, David shares that he used the time of the lockdown to focus on his music. “I was working on new music almost every day.” But that apart, the musician has been longing to get behind the console on the stage. And India is known to be one of his favourite places to play. “I really hope we’re able to return to music festivals safely soon. I can’t wait to go back on stage once this is all over and have the craziest party year ever.” He promises that his fans can expect new tracks and music soon, as he has a lot of them in the offing. His concert in the country might be a long time away, but the anticipation of new music will keep his fans going. All about giving back Apart from creating music, David raised over $1.5 million dollars for Covid-19 relief with his United At Home charity Livestream. The event recorded over 50 million viewers. The funds were directed towards causes close to his heart like World Health Organisation, Feeding South Florida, Feeding America, and the French Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris. He didn’t stop the pandemic from constricting him to his home though. He pledged to match every dollar donated during the show itself.
Much like this show of solidarity, everything about David is larger than life! For his first gig in Miami, he had millions of people from across the globe participate in the specially streamed performance, which he played against a beautiful backdrop of the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay. Over 8,000 locals watched and danced from their balconies. David made sure he gave them memories of a lifetime. On Facebook, the live performance amassed over 8.5 million views, while1.2 million people watched on YouTube and 1.1 million on Twitter and so on!
Shaping the future
David has also been quietly investing in what one might call the future of dance music. Not just reimagining the sounds of EDM, shifting between genres, but also moving towards the virtual reality space. He has announced a series of VR performances after recently teaming up with Sensorium Corporation, a social VR platform. So, what can fans expect? David says that they can look out for fresh music from his stable, but through a virtually-immersive escapade rather than a live experience.
Let’s Love is out now on all streaming platforms worldwide.
With inputs from Rebecca Vargese