Special Recognition – Avicii
One of my biggest missed opportunities was not being able to have seen this man perform live. One of the greatest of all time in his craft, Tim Bergling aka Avicii for me is the best DJ’s of all time. Avicii’s legacy will always be cemented in folk law as an artist who changed the landscape, he was the reason I got into Electronic Dance Music (EDM).
Sadly, Avicii passed away in April 2018 at the age of 28. An icon of mine growing up, Avicii will go down as one of my all time favourite artists. I am not ashamed to admit that I was left heartbroken and was very emotional when Avicii passed away from suicide in Muscat, Oman in 2018.
Tim Bergling never shied away from discussing openly about his battle with his mental health. Officially retiring from touring in 2016 due to the unhealthy mental implications that affected him from the stress of travelling across the world on a daily basis and the demand that came from performing to such a high standard. Suffering with work related stress that caused a poor mental state, Avicii was too invested within his art that he had no time to himself.
Avicii EP (2017)
My perspective was that Avicii cared too much for his fans and wanted to use his pedigree within the industry to send a message that he is just like everybody else, we all suffer, we are all human. This is clearly shown especially in his last EP before he passed titled ‘Avicii‘. All the songs inside this EP discuss the emotional struggle of being alone in a harsh world where he is just reaching out for help. Singles such as ‘Lonely Together ft Rita Ora’ & ‘Without You ft. Sandro Cavazza’ discuss what it is like to lose somebody and feel alone, crying out for their company to return but hear nothing back.
The whole EP is an outcry for help, with my personal favourite song of the EP being What ‘Would I Change It To ft. AlunaGeorge‘. This song especially ignites happy memories for myself, my long car journeys driving to my happy place with Jessica, sun is shining and all your thoughts and worries just fades away. ‘AlunaGeorge’s soft, silky voice accompanies the beat so well to create such a relaxing, beautiful melody. With lyrics such as “Losing is only a sign, It’s only a sign that you really tried”, means somedays you may lose your battle with yourself and you may be low but you should never give up, you just got too keep trying. Reiterating his own battle within his music too he wrote these lyrics too “Steady yourself even though you know that you’re falling / Maybe you’re falling but you’re still alive Ready yourself, that’s quite enough of your bawling / Cause baby you’re bawling but you’ll survive.” A testament to anybody suffering with accepting themselves, wishing to change the way they are to please others, please never think you are not good enough, we all have a purpose and we are all here for a reason.
Avicii has a hidden meaning behind all his music videos, lyrical content and all forms of production. An example comes from the same EP when he released a lyric video for all songs on the EP on his YouTube channel. After all the lyric videos were released, it shows all the five music videos together to make up a story about two spacemen who have lost their way and are searching for a happy ending, similar to Avicii searching for happiness within himself.
Avicii’s Cause Of Death
As this was the last piece of work Avicii published himself before his passing, it gives you more insight than ever about how badly he suffered with his mental health. Please spot the signs before it is too late, there may be somebody that comes to mind when you think of these sort of signs, they need you more than ever. Nobody is safe, we all feel alone at some point, not knowing whether they will ever find happiness again, just know better days are ahead if you just keep going.
Sadly it was too late for Tim, acting upon his dark thoughts, he was driven to complete numbness, isolation and found solace in accepting his fate which was death. The family released a statement following his death which was ruled as suicide saying the following:
“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.” – Avicii’s family (2018)
In my previous blog post I discussed a song that related to my own battles with my mental health titled 1-800-273-8255 by rapper Logic. As discussed in that article the song title is in fact the number for the ‘National Suicide Prevention Hotline’ in America. For the English readers the link to help if you ever feel suicidal is here Samaritans. Never give up!
Tim – An Avicii Posthumous Album
Although even following his death, a posthumous third studio album was created from a choice of over 200 unreleased songs produced by Tim Bergling before his passing. titled ‘Tim’ the album was released on the 6th June 2019 featuring 12 chosen songs that best represented Avicii’s musical style that could be completed. As it was the first album release following Tim’s passing, all profits made from the album went towards the Tim Bergling Foundation. This charity was set up following Avicii’s suicide, in aim to raise money for mental health awareness. Personally my favourite album of 2019, it brought back so many happy memories I had listening to Avicii and just cemented his legacy as the greatest artist during my lifetime. The star power alone was breathtaking too, featuring artists such as: Chris Martin (Coldplay), Aloe Blacc, Imagine Dragons and Arizona.
With the first single that was released to promote the album was SOS featuring Aloe Blacc, who featured on one of Avicii’s biggest hits of all time titled ‘Wake Me Up’, which as of today (16/01/2020) has over 1.8 billion views! This is why fans of the two artists were eagerly awaiting their next collaboration and did not disappoint with the release of ‘SOS’. As of this date (16/01/2020) the fan memories video which was chosen as the music video to accompany the single due to it being the first song release following the DJ’s shock death, has received over 89 million views. Inside this video package includes quotes said by fans discussing the impact Avicii had on their lives and how he saved them. This song was in fact my personal 2019 Spotify Wrapped song of the year.
Although the album did receive mixed reviews, sourced from Metacritic who gives an average rating out of 100 from reviews given by mainstream critics. The album received an average score of 58, based on four reviews, which indicates a critically mixed response. Although Avicii was never concerned about commercial success or money throughout his career. I personally think it was well produced and embodied the feel and iconic beat of the Swedish DJ.
Avicii – True (2013)
Despite never being too concerned with awards and commercial success, there is no doubt Avicii achieved many accolades during his career. Dating back to his first hit single Levels which is the song that got me into listening to Avicii, then my love for EDM took off. Receiving over 465 million views upon the release of the music video on YouTube in 2011. Levels was also number one in his native Sweden (8x platinum) and was a top 10 single globally.
From their is where Avicii’s career took off, following up from the smash hit Levels, what followed was Aviici’s first number one inside the United Kingdom. This song was titled I Could Be The One featuring superstar DJ Nicky Romero. Amassing over 303 million views on YouTube and a number one in global charts across the world. This song really put Avicii on the map for mainstream success and took the chance with both hands.
This led to the iconic song ‘Wake Me Up’ which I referenced earlier in the article. This song reached number one in nine different countries and is regarded as the biggest song Avicii has created. Although he did not stop their following up with the song ‘Hey Brother’, ‘Addicted To You’ and ‘You Make Me’ from his debut studio album ‘True’ in September 2013 that peaked in the top two in the UK album charts.
Avicii – Stories (2015)
Avicii then went onto release his second album titled ‘Stories’, which was well received within critics and featured hit singles such as: Waiting For Love, Broken Arrows, Sunset Jesus, Gonna Love Ya. Also featuring on this album is my personal all-time favourite Avicii song ‘Trouble’.
Avicii – Trouble (2015)
Finding many similarities within the lyrics to my own life experiences this song has an emotional connection towards me. The base of the song is about the protagonist explaining how far he has come along his journey and how proud he is of himself for getting so far despite their still being a long way to go. This is shown inside the chorus of the song as seen below:
“Oh I’ve seen trouble more than any man should bare
But I’ve seen enough joy, I’ve had more than my share
I’m still not done, I’m only halfway there
I’m a million miles ahead of where I’m from
But I still have another million miles to go” – Avicii Trouble chorus (2015)
“I’ve been a beggar and I’ve been a king
I’ve been a loner and I’ve won the reign
Losing myself just to find me again
I’m a million miles smarter, but I ain’t learnt a thing
I’ve been a teacher and a student of hurt
I’ve kept my word for whatever that’s worth
Never been last, but I’ve never been first
Oh I may not be the best, but I’m far from the worst” – Avicii Trouble first verse (2015)
“Why I keep on searching for the city of gold
I’m gonna follow this yellow brick road
Thinking it maybe, it might lead me home
I’m a million miles farther and a long way from home
I know that there’s a plan that goes way beyond mine
I got to step back just to see the design
The mind fears the heart but the heart doesn’t mind
Oh I may not be perfect, but I’m loving this life
Oh I may not be perfect, but I’m loving this life” – Avicii Trouble second verse (2015)
‘I know that there’s a plan that goes way beyond mine / I got to step back just to see the design’. For me this line discusses the fact that your journey may not always be in your hands. Life throws obstacles that you may not always know how to handle. It is all apart of God’s plan for a bigger picture. Sometimes you may just need to take a step back and see it through a different perspective. This is where you will discover more about your life and your journey more than ever before.
‘The mind fears the heart, but the heart doesn’t mind / I may not be perfect, but I’m loving this life.’ With every decision you make in life, you have to make a decision to follow your heart or your mind. Although you may not always make the right decisions, it makes you who you are and makes your journey unique. Not everyday will be the way you want it to go but just make sure you enjoy every moment. You may not always be perfect but you are unique.
Overall, this song has really helped me through some tough times through the years. From leaving to university, losing friends, losing jobs and nearly failing university. Although I would like to think as my journey continues I become more proud of myself now I have found acceptance in who I am. As a very proud homosexual male who has graduated from university and is confident in his ability going forward.
Nobody knows what the future will hold, but all I ask is that you make everyday count toward achieving that bigger goal.
Avicii’s Other hits
Avicii has inspired me to change the way I perceive my outlook on life just like so many others. Tim Bergling’s music has inspired generations to listen to get into EDM and his songs will stand the test of time. From the very first well renowned song ‘Seek Bromance’ in September 2010.
With singles such as ‘The Nights’ which featured as an infamous soundtrack song from ‘FIFA 15’. Regarded as one of the most iconic songs from the games history, it also received commercial success globally going platinum in the United Kingdom and United States.
This song pays tributes towards his father, highlighting valuable life lessons and guidance he has learned from his dad growing up. With a catchy beat and meaningful lyrics Avicii stated that the beat was inspired by the bars in Ireland, where they play upbeat folk music that is easy to dance and drink to. That is why this song is well remembered as one of Avicii’s more catchy feel-good songs that inspires you to live life to the full without fear and enjoy every moment.
Similar to the nights, Avicii also released a single titled ‘The Days’ featuring the legendary english singer Robbie Williams. Similar to ‘The Nights’ this song has an upbeat feel about living life to the max and enjoying every experience. A fun fact of this song is that it received good commercial success and was in fact singer Robbie Williams first time appearing in the US charts since his 1999 hit single ‘Angels’.
Here is an example of all my favourite Avicii songs:
Tim Bergling’s Battles With Mental Health
Avicii retired from touring in 2016 due to health problems, having suffered stress and poor mental health for several years. An example of this was in January 2012 when Tim was hospitalised for 11 day in New York City diagnosed with acute pancreatitis which was due to his excessive alcohol intake. Alongside this in 2014 Bergling underwent surgery to have his appendix and gallbladder removed.
There was no real signs of improvement as Tim’s health deteriorated with a mix of alcohol and substance abuse to keep him active during his strenuous touring schedule. An example was in 2014 when Tim suffered from a painkiller addiction. This made Tim decide to give up touring in 2016 to save himself and find his love for music again as it took over his life, doing it as a job rather than a passion project.
With such a whirlwind of the past few years since rising to super stardom, Avicii did not know how to handle his new found fame and decided to document his struggle. This documentary was titled ‘Avicii: True Stories’ directed by his longtime friend Levan Tsikurishvili. Throughout this documentary you see a side to a performers life that you would never discover before. With a full behind-the-scenes access all areas insight to Tim’s life, he openly speaks about his physical and mental health struggles.
Despite retiring to finally find happiness and earn a well earned rest, the pressure did not stop. As management and fans still eagerly await his return and requested more music, the demand was shockingly even more than before. Always fearing upsetting fans the pressure got too much and contributed towards Tim taking his own life in 2018 to finally discover peace. According to a GQ article a statement read “Bergling feared upsetting fans. He was sensitive to the ‘flood of hate mail’ after cancelled gigs”.
The management of Tim staged two interventions for him despite neither of them being successful. His management then started to handle this situation their own way, contacting his promoters and places to perform to forbid offering him alcohol which means clearing out his minibar so he can focus on his recovery. This did not help though as they had to cancel two world tours that cost them over $2.9 million as Tim was recopurating in his native Stockholm.
Tim’s battle with addiction and mental health sadly did not get any easier. As on April 20th 2018, Tim committed suicide according to an article by TMZ with a shard of glass from a broken wine bottle. He used the glass to inflict a fatal wound that amounted him to die from blood loss in Oman where he went to visit friends from the country’s royal family. His family said in a statement that ‘he could not go on any longer’ which shows that he was at an all time low and he sunk so deep within his depression their was no other way out. The only thing keeping Avicii going so long was his music, with his upcoming album bringing excitement, his friends recall how happy he was with his work, which is why his sudden death was so surprising.
Avicii’s Act Of Kindness
Although Avicii always wanted to give back to the people, never being one who wanted to get fame and money, he always gave back to necessary charities. Despite an incredible net worth of over £60 million which included over $250,000 per performance in club nights.
An example is during his 27 date 2012 tour of the US, Avicii donated his entire income from the tour to the hunger relief charity ‘Feeding America’. Tim once said in an interview in 2013 that “I discovered when I started making money that I didn’t really need it.” Carrying onto saying “when you have such an excess of money you don’t need, the most sensible, most human and completely obvious thing us to give it to people in need.” This is why in 2013 Tim handed over another million euros to the Swedish aid organisation ‘Radiojälpen’.
Always wanting to give back, Avicii carried on making and releasing new music despite all the suffering and pain and valued his fans more than his own life and happiness. Only now following the tragedy of his death we can value what an amazing person he was.
These are only some of the reasons I find Avicii’s story so inspiring and and unlike any others. This special recognition placement inside my mental health awareness festival could be given to no other artist other than Avicii.
Tim Bergling’s story is a tragedy of an icon taken too soon due to the high demands and expectations that come from being the best in your credited industry. Constantly wanting to better himself and never being fully content with what he has achieved, the sad reality is he never will be.
The death of an artist will always ignite a large amount of reactions, but none quite like Avicii’s passing. This was shown inside Google’s Top Searches Of 2018 As Avicii was the search engines second most searched term of 2018. Only losing out to that years ‘Fifa World Cup’. Tim was searched more than more incredible people who passed that year such as: XXXTentacion (8), Mac Miller (3), Anthony Bourdain (7), Kate Spade (10), Stephen Hawking (9) and Stan Lee (4).
No doubt Avicii’s death shocked the whole world and hopefully brings to light towards the impact he made towards the music industry. changing the landscape and is a role model to many famous DJ’s breaking through onto the scene today, near enough every famous artist who ever came across Avicii at one point were left distraught and paid tribute to the artist.
Passing away at such a young age will always be very surprising, but it is even more haunting when you go through Avicii’s discography and find lyrics such as making promises to never get old, was an early sign of what is to come. Avicii was never longing for this earth and wanted to do all he could possible during his short stint with us.
We will never forget the happy memories and moments you gave us Tim and there is nobody who deserves this special recognition more than you. I miss you and thank you for everything you have helped me with and hope your music continues guiding me in life.
Tim Bergling, you are one of a kind and I will never forget you.
Thank you <3.