Tim Bergling † (September 8, 1989 – April 20, 2018 [aged 28]), known professionally as Avicii, was a Swedish DJ, electronic musician, and songwriter who specialized in audio programming, remixing and record producing.
At the age of 16, Bergling began posting his remixes on electronic music forums, which led to his first record deal. He rose to prominence in 2011 with his single "Levels". His debut studio album, True (2013), blended electronic music with elements of multiple genres and received generally positive reviews. It peaked in the top ten in more than fifteen countries and topped international dance charts; the lead single, "Wake Me Up", topped most music markets in Europe and reached number four in the United States.
In 2015, Bergling released his second studio album, Stories, and in 2017 he released an EP, Avīci (01). His catalog 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 a Grammy Award for his work on "Sunshine" with David Guetta in 2012 and "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 retired from touring in 2016 due to health problems, having suffered stress and poor mental health for several years. On 20 April 2018, Bergling died by suicide in Muscat, Oman. He was buried on 8 June in his hometown of Stockholm. His posthumous third album titled Tim was released in 2019.
Life and career
Tim Bergling was born on 8 September 1989 in Stockholm, Sweden, to Klas Bergling and actress Anki Lidén. Tim started mixing in his bedroom at the age of 8. He has three siblings, David Bergling, Linda Sterner and Anton Körberg. Inspired by his brother, who was also a DJ, he began making music at the age of 16. In May 2007, Bergling 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" 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, the 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. "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. Bergling'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 for free 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 the 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 as 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 acapella of "Addicted to You" to become "Addicted to You (Avicii by Avicii)".
On the same day, 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 headlines 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. 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 artists 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.
On 8 March 2014, Bergling's Instagram account confirmed a collaboration with Madonna. The extent of 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 hospitalized 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 July 2014, 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. Bergling also worked with Wyclef Jean on a single titled "Divine Sorrow" for the Haitian 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 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 in his upcoming single "Heaven", a collaboration with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin on vocals. The vocals were later sung by singer Simon Aldred from Cherry Ghost; Chris Martin will receive writing credits on "Heaven". However, the version with Chris Martin on vocals was finalized in 2018/2019 after Bergling's death and will be officially released on the posthumous third album "Tim". 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 the 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 late 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 were 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.
2016: Retirement from touring
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 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 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 23 April 2018, three days after his death, it was revealed by Tiësto that Swedish House Mafia's Ultra Music reunion inspired Avicii to take up DJing again which saw him through his final weeks until his death on 20 April.
On 22 December 2016, a representative of Avicii Music AB had announced that Bergling 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 Bergling had signed on to Universal Music Sweden and was expected to release his third studio album in 2017.
2017–2018: Avīci (01) and Avicii: True Stories
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, Bergling shared one-minute snippets on Instagram, captioned "New music coming very very (very) soon!", with track titles as hashtags. Bergling uploaded teasers of each track from the EP online upon release.
On 10 August 2017, Bergling released the six-track EP Avīci (01). Bergling 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, Bergling announced a documentary directed by his close and long-time collaborator Levan Tsikurishvili, 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.
On 10 February 2018, Bergling released "Ghost", a collaboration with Swedish singer-songwriter Daniel Adams-Ray, who was credited as HUMAN. The song, which was leaked on the internet in 2014/2015 under the title "(I'm Still) In Love With Your Ghost", marks the second collaboration with the 2 Swedes following "Somewhere In Stockholm" from Bergling's album "Stories".
Following Bergling's death, news outlets reported that at the time of his death, he had over 200 unreleased songs, some finished and others still in development. It was further stated that he had produced some of the best songs in his career before his passing. In August 2018, producer Carl Falk, who co-produced some of the songs on Bergling's Stories album in 2015 and Avici (01) in 2017, stated that he's putting the finishing touches on the Chris Martin collaboration "Heaven" (originally written during the Stories sessions) and that it might be posthumously released in a few months along with the third album.
In April 2019, it was announced that the album Tim, which Avicii was working on before his death, would be released on 6 June 2019, with the first single, "SOS", released on 10 April. All proceeds from the sale of the album go towards the Tim Bergling Foundation. Also in April, it was announced an official biography of Avicii, written by Måns Mosesson, would be released in 2020, the proceeds also going to the Tim Bergling Foundation. A second single from the album, titled "Tough Love", was released on 9 May 2019. The music video for "Tough Love" was released on YouTube 14 May 2019. "Heaven" which was released on 6 June 2019 was the last single to be released from the album. The track was co-written by Coldplay's lead singer Chris Martin. Chris spoke about the collaboration on his socials citing that he co-wrote the song with Avicii back in 2014 which Tim completed in 2016. The music video, called a "tribute video", which used old clips of Avicii, was released on 24 June 2019. On 28 June, Billboard cited "Heaven" as one of the best dance songs of the first half of 2019.
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