There are many artists and entertainers who achieve stardom and popularity, but few have the influence and endurance to redraw borders between genres and reshape the industry’s dynamics. David Guetta’s boundless creative energy, however, has allowed him to do just that. With his wide-reaching and game-changing approach, he is more than just a DJ and producer: he’s made dance music reach the mainstream, fused urban, electronic and pop music into new popular genres, and managed to stay on top of the game for decades. True to his own motto, Guetta’s story is nothing short of incredible.
Guetta came up as a promoter and DJ in his native Paris when the ‘French Touch’ had only just been given to house, years before the likes of Daft Punk and Justice would go on to popularize the genre. Having discovered house music in 1987, Guetta rose through the ranks of dance music peddling photocopied flyers, organizing parties and DJ’ing wherever he could. It was only after roughly twenty years of hard work, honing his skills behind the decks and in the studio, that Guetta’s global breakthrough came.
When Love Takes Over, the first single of his 2009 album One Love, hit #1 in the UK and many other countries; four more singles followed within a year. In the meantime, the Guetta produced Black Eyed Peas song I Gotta Feeling became a worldwide hit, topping the charts in 17 countries. David Guetta was now officially a household name in pop music – which he accomplished by fusing previously underground electronic music with urban styles and well-known vocalists, popularizing an entirely new sound.
Over the decade since, Guetta’s success has been off the charts. Globally, he’s racked up over 5- million record sales, whereas his total number of streams on YouTube and Spotify is over 10 billion. He has received numerous Platinum and Gold certifications, was named ‘EDM Power Player’ by Billboard, and won two Grammy Awards out of six nominations. The MTV EMAs have been kind to him too, with awards in 2012 and 2017 besides ten further nominations. His iconic status even led UEFA to crown him Music Ambassador for Euro 2016; Guetta composed a theme song and performed on the pitch during the opening and closing ceremonies.
There’s no shortage of accolades, then, but what is it about our prodigy from Paris that makes his success so enduring? Besides his hard-won DJ skills, he is prolific in the studio, assuming the role of musical mastermind and creative director. Guetta brings together vocalists and engineers, does a spot of writing and knows what kind of sound to aim for. Never one to stick to genre conventions – “I don’t want to be credible, I want to be incredible,” as he puts it himself – David aims to bring together artists and make music that will conquer the world. Perhaps for that very reason, his list of collaborators is impressive: Madonna, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Martin Garrix, Usher, Sia, John Legend, Nicki Minaj, Sean Paul, Kelly Rowland, Showtek, Avicii, Ne-Yo, Akon, Afrojack, and Nicky Romero, for starters, but he has also been a keen supporter of lesser-known talent. The likes of Sam Martin, Chris Willis and Romy Dya have enjoyed support from Guetta, showing that he’s not just about the A-listers but also about championing hot new names. “Of course it’s amazing to work with famous people,” he explains, “but the reason behind their fame is their talent. But I also love finding talented people who are not famous, it’s equally amazing to put the spotlight on them.”
Most recently, the fruits of David’s studio labour have included Dirty Sexy Money, 2U, Light My Body Up, Helium (Remix), and Like I Do. He remains as diverse as ever; Like I Do, for instance, is a Martin Garrix & Brooks-coproduced four-to-the-floor banger, whereas Helium (by Sia, remixed with Afrojack) is an emotionally charged pop anthem, and Light My Body Up (with Nicki Minaj & Lil’ Wayne) drops down into a straight-up trap beat. The latter, along with Dirty Sexy Money and 2U, is also one of the singles off Guetta’s upcoming album, to be released in 2018.
The build-up to the new album could not be left unmarked, of course, and David has kicked off 2018 with a sold-out stadium tour across Europe. This feat comes amidst a number of other remarkable performances, including at the Eiffel Tower (for UEFA Euro 2016), Trafalgar Square (MTV Music Week), Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, and Amsterdam Music Festival. Residencies at Las Vegas and Ibiza – where his current BIG concept and F*ck Me I’m Famous, arguably the most infamous Ibiza night to ever have existed – round out David’s extensive touring schedule. His DJ sets remain popular with crowds around the globe for their highoctane, upbeat energy.
After more than three decades working as a dance music pioneer, it is safe to say that at this stage in his career, David knows exactly where to take it next. He’s proven to command the boundless energy required to keep up an extensive gig schedule and maintain a steady stream of releases at the same time, with no signs of losing his genre-bending, poppy streak. Now that his new album is right around the corner, David Guetta is once again set to woo the world with his incredible sound.