Swedish DJ Avicii burst upon the music scene in 2011 with his breakout single Levels but it was this past summer that the musician took the world by storm with the lead single Wake Me Up from his debut album True, which was released on September 13, 2013.
Many Electronic Dance Music (EDM) fans were skeptical when Avicii brought out a band equipped guitars, banjos and other instruments to perform Wake Me Up for the first time in front of thousands at the 2013 ULTRA Music Festival in Miami. EDM artists rarely use actual instruments in their performances so you can understand why people were confused when Avicii brought a band onstage.
The song, featuring a guitar strumming over a pulsating EDM beat with soul singer Aloe Blacc singing along ventured into new territory for the European-centric EDM community. By incorporating Americana in the form of soul singers and a beat reminiscent of country music, Avicii was able to bridge the gap between global EDM and American popular music.
It was because of this smart combination that the song spread like wildfire once it was shared to mainstream radio stations across the United States on June 17th (the song peaked at 2 on the Billboard Hot 100).
Once his album was released, it became clear that Wake Me Up was not just an experiment, but a trend. Over the course of the 12 track album the Swedish DJ gracefully walks the line between EDM and other more ‘traditional’ music styles. By incorporating American sound with European style, Avicii has given EDM soul.