He's gone from an underground trailblazer to a worldwide superstar who opened the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and was voted "The Greatest DJ of All Time" by Mixmag and the "#1" DJ by Rolling Stone. He's headlined festivals around the globe including Ultra Music Festival, Stereosonic, Coachella, Tomorrowland/TomorrowWorld and Electric Daisy Carnival; and has a storied 20-month residency at Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub and Wet Republic pool at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. Artists ranging from Kanye West and Coldplay to Katy Perry and John Legend have personally tapped him for high-profile remixes, while Guess, AKG and Audiofly have collaborated with him on a fashion line and headphone brands, respectively. Moreover, A Town Called Paradise yielded his first two gold singles in the U.S. with the singles—"Wasted" [featuring Matthew Koma] and "Red Lights"—while a medley from the album also soundtracks a presentation at the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas, a first for a dance music artist. With Sirius XM, he launched the "Club Life" channel (the only dance music artist to do so), nodding to his acclaimed compilation brand of the same name—now in its third installment. In December 2014, Tiësto was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Remixed Recording, Non Classical category for his remix of John Legend’s “All Of Me.” This is Tiësto’s second Grammy Nomination; following 2008’s inclusion in the Best Electronic/Dance Album category for Elements Of Life.
However, Tiësto possessed a desire to raise the bar yet again with album number five, and he sought out what he refers to as the "biggest and best" partner possible.
"I never had the chance to work with a major label before," he says. "I wanted to explore it and, as soon as I met with Casablanca and Republic Records, I knew it was the right place to go. My goal is to make the best music I can and to spread it as far as possible all over the world. They're opening the door for me to do that."
Signing his deal in the middle of 2013, Tiësto immediately began working on what would eventually become A Town Called Paradise. He approached the album with a desire to break ground, and he certainly does that at every turn.
"The record has two sides to it," he reveals. "Part of me is always trying to innovate, and that's half of the album. The other half of me is always a crowd pleaser. I love giving the audience what it wants. I put all of the experiences I've had over the past twenty years into this. This is my sound. Of course, it's dance, but it's melodic. There are strains of indie rock, yet it's very happy. These songs will make you smile. They'll make you dance. They'll make you want to go out. It's everything a Tiësto album should be."
That's easy to hear on "Red Lights". Written with Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk and featuring vocals by Michel Zitron, the track shines with Tiësto's instantly recognizable production and an unforgettable hook, effortlessly straddling the lines between house, electro, and pop.
"It really reflects my life in Sweden when I lived there for five years," admits the artist. "I would walk around at night by myself sometimes when it was really cold and dark without knowing where to go. It stands for that period when I was trying to establish myself in a new place. The piano drop is very indicative of the Swedish sound too. 'Red Lights' represents my life there."
On the record, he also got the chance to collaborate with Matthew Koma on the irresistibly intoxicating "Wasted" as well as teaming with Krewella for the dance floor liberation of "Set Yourself Free". There's also a very special moment on "Footprints", which nods to his jet-setting lifestyle.
"The lyrics are so meaningful," he goes on. "I've played all over the world, and I'm blessed to have dedicated and diehard fans everywhere. They really support me. I'm so lucky I've seen the whole world, and I hope everyone gets to do that because it's incredible. That's what the track stands for."
For Tiësto, A Town Called Paradise begins writing the next chapter of his career on the perfect note. "This is the album I've always wanted to make," he declares. "I didn't have the knowledge to execute it as well as I do now. I've learned so much, and I want to learn more. This is my next big thing and I couldn't be more excited."
As he promises "the best night in the world" for fans that attend his residency shows, it's also clear that his modus operandi hasn't changed since he first started.
"I want to make people feel happy with my music," concludes Tiësto. "That's the most important thing. I hope they feel great when they listen to this. That's what I want to give everyone."
At this point in his career, Tiësto has toured the world countless times, and there are more festivals, venues, and stages that he has played than ones he hasn’t. He has performed for millions at Ultra, Coachella, Tomorrowland, TomorrowWorld, Electric Daisy Carnival...and that is to say nothing of the innumerable clubs that he frequents as a headliner. He is one of the elite few DJs in the world that can control a residency in Las Vegas, where he plays at Hakkasan and Wet Republic—the best club and pool party respectively in Sin City.
When it comes to playing shows, Tiësto says that to this day, he is still “addicted to the feeling of DJing.” He loves the interaction with the crowd and the feeling of being able to surprise them. The DJ added that playing live encourages him to challenge himself to make better music and to be a better DJ.
In spite of his hectic tour schedule, residency, and focus on creating new music, Tiësto has not forgotten his roots. He has been a champion of the DJ mix for decades, and in the past few years, his Club Life compilations have become something to look forward to for those in the dance world. 2015 saw him release the most recent edition of the collection, Club Life: Volume Four, New York City, which celebrates the city that never sleeps. The name of the series is shared with the DJ’s popular Sirius XM channel, which has become a go-to for anybody looking for great, breaking dance music. In addition, his weekly radio show is broadcast on 350 stations in 77 countries and has over 35 million listeners.
Tiësto also continues his work as an expert remixer, his talents sought out by some of the biggest names in the world. He has been brought on to rework smash hits for the likes of Beyoncé, Coldplay, Kanye West, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, David Guetta, Major Lazer, Calvin Harris, and many more. In 2015, he won his first Grammy Award for his massively popular remix of John Legend’s “All Of Me.”
Tiësto is keeping busy outside of the studio and off the stage as well. He has become one of the few leaders in the music space that has been able to transition their influence and savvy to other industries. He is an important advisor to tech startups like Splice, Dubset and Doppler, helping to steer the trajectory of success that all three of these companies are enjoying. Even as investments in the music tech world rise, few artists have gotten so involved in creating the changes that the industry is looking for.
Most recently, Tiësto released his completely re-designed mobile app, where fans can consume all things Tiësto including his extremely popular podcast. He has also leant his name and style to a variety of brands. Through current collaborations with T-Mobile and Budweiser and other soon to be revealed efforts in the fashion space, the DJ is helping bring dance music culture to more people than ever before.
In the past two decades, many artists have come and gone but Tiësto remains not only one of the world’s most prolific and enduring artists, but one of music’s top innovators. 2016 will see no deviation from this norm. Even after all that he has accomplished, Tiësto does not see his work as being done. “DJing is my life,” the man isn’t afraid to admit. But more than that, “It’s a lifestyle.”