Hello everyone. I hope you are all doing well. I want to start off this blog by thanking everyone for visiting my blog page and reading my posts. It really means a lot to me that people take time out of their day to read my writings. Thank you.
Now, on to the topic at hand. By the time this blog post is up it will be the 20th of April; the one year anniversary of musician Avicii’s passing.I did not get to write a tribute piece for him last year, and as April approached I realized that it was only right that I write one this year. Christina, a fellow blogger, wrote a beautiful tribute to Avicii last year. I kindly urge you to check it out here. Now, let us discuss Avicii.
Levels: The Beginning
Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, was a Swedish music producer, record producer and DJ. I first discovered Avicii in High School. He was an artist that I had heard of before but never really listened to. Everything changed in 2011 when he released the smash hit “Levels.” This song blew me away. It was, without a doubt, the anthem of 2011. In Art class we were allowed to plug in our iPods or phones to the speakers so everyone could listen to music. I remember “Levels” being played one day and a friend of mine said that “Levels” was the anthem of her recent summer vacation. “Levels” is one of my favorite songs of all time, and is considered to be one of the greatest EDM songs ever made. It reminds me of better days, and gives me hope that there will be better days in the future.
On 13 September 2013 Avicii released his debut studio album True. I had graduated from high school at this point and this was one of the lowest periods of my life. I was lost and hopeless. I was stumbling in the dark trying to find any semblance of light. Avicii and his music provided comfort when I needed it most. The album’s genre was House and EDM (Electronic Dance Music) but Avicii, the mad-man, incorporated elements of Country and Bluegrass into the album. The sound of this project was so unique and mind-blowing to me that it has stuck with me to this day. Some of my favorite songs ever have come from this album. In fact I am listening to the album as I am typing this article.
Wake Me up
A number of singles preceded the album’s launch. One such single was the smash hit “Wake Me Up” featuring singer Aloe Blacc. This song was everywhere. It released just in time for summer, and it was the perfect song for this period. This was the first song I heard from the album, and it was so unusual to me to hear EDM mixed with Country. The accompanying music video depicted elements such as self-acceptance, adventure and familial love. This was the first song I heard from the album, and I was amazed by what Avicii was able to create by merging these completely different genres.
Story Time. It was November 2013. Although I had finished high school, I was back in Zambia till December after travelling to Ghana and South Africa. In my final year of high school I had tried to get my driver’s license and I failed twice. My father and I decided that I should try one more time before I leave. I remember the day of the test vividly. It was a rainy morning. I was already nervous about driving on the roads, and although I love the rain it did not do anything to assuage my anxiety. When it was the students’ from my driving school’s turn, we all jumped in the car with the instructor in the passenger’s seat.
One by one we all took turns driving. Some did okay, others did not. Then it was my turn. Although I was feeling nervous I was more confident than the previous times. I drove around a little and then drove us back to the test grounds, as I was the last one to drive. The instructor thought I did well, especially considering my age (I was 18 at the time). He then gave me my paper and I was flabbergasted because it said that I failed. I asked why and he said it was because I rolled down the hill. I was so upset and so angry.
I threw my backpack on the ground as soon as I got home and opened the front door. I turned on the TV to a music station and saw Avicii performing live. I then realized that it was a song I had not heard before. That song would later turn out to be “Hey Brother.” I watched the ending of the video and then went to my room. Throughout the day I could not stop thinking about the song. I searched for it and found the lyric video on YouTube, and I repeated that song all day. That song cheered me up and lifted my spirits. In early December the music video came out, and it is such a heart-breaking but beautiful video. “Hey Brother” is without a doubt one of my favorite songs of all time. I love it so much. The production, lyrics, video; everything about that song is absolutely perfect.
Avicii passed away on the 20th of April 2018. His death was ruled as a suicide. He was only 28 years old. Avicii announced his retirement in 2016 and stopped touring for reason I will discuss later in this article. In the days leading up to his death the people around him said that Avicii felt hyped up and excited especially because of the new music he was creating. So many fellow musicians and celebrities paid tribute to him on social media, such as: Diplo; Martin Garrix; Lupe Fiasco; Deadmau5; Craig David; Madonna; Imagine Dragons; Dua Lipa; The Chainsmokers; Zane Lowe; Flying Lotus and so many others. A number of these musicians and many more paid tribute to him by playing his music at their festivals.
Avicii had on-going health problems which were associated with his excessive drinking. in 2012 he was hospitalized for a while due to acute pancreatitis. In 2014 he was hospitalized because of a blocked gallbladder. He had to have both his gallbladder and the appendix removed. A few days after his passing, Avicii’s family released a few statements, but it was this one that hit me the most:
“Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions. An over-achieving perfectionist who traveled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress. When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music. He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace. Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight. Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed. The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive.
We love you,
This statement is courtesy of NME, and if you want to read more you can find the article here. Avicii was clearly depressed, and unfortunately he could not escape his demons. So many celebrities overdose on drugs or abuse alcohol or commit suicide, but we refuse to acknowledge that they dealt with serious issues just because they were rich and famous. This misconception that celebrities can not be depressed is very dangerous. Avicii’s death is a reminder that mental illness is a serious issue, and if you or anyone you know is suffering, please seek help. Here are some more of my favorite Avicii songs:
Such a great track and a beautiful, heart-warming and moving music video.
A beautiful song and great video with a very powerful message. Very relevant in this current era.
Live your lives to the fullest.
You Make Me
A very fun song and music video.
His legacy lives on
Avicii has inspired so many artists and individuals through his music and personality. He was a humble person and a great musician, but he was also a human being who made mistakes and was plagued by many mental and physical problems. I cried when I found out he passed away, and to this day it still hurts when I listen to his music, but I smile knowing that his legacy will forever live on. Thank you Avicii, for everything.
Thank you all for reading. It is a little long and I still feel like I wrote nothing. Please let me know what you think, and if you have any fond memories or anecdotes about Avicii and his music please discuss them in the comments below. I hope you all have a great day and I will see you all in the next blog post.