After 9 years, French EDM star David Guetta reclaims top spot in DJ Mag polls

David Guetta also picked up the Best Electronic prize at the 2020 MTV Europe Music Awards. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - French electronic dance music (EDM) godfather David Guetta had much to celebrate over the weekend.

Last Saturday (Nov 7), he was crowned the world's No.1 DJ by dance music bible DJ Mag - based on votes by 1.3 million readers. It was a position he last held in 2011.

The next day, he picked up the Best Electronic prize at the 2020 MTV Europe Music Awards.

The Covid-19 pandemic might have curtailed his regular global tours but the 53-year-old has never been busier.

In the past months, he has released an EP, New Rave, with Danish DJ/producer Morten, as well as several singles, including Let's Love with Australian singer Sia.

In April and May, his two United At Home online shows broke live-stream records on Facebook, drawing 50 million viewers and raising over US$1.5 million (S$2.02 million) for Covid-19 relief charities.

He speaks to The Straits Times in a Zoom interview from Spanish party island Ibiza.

How do you feel being voted No. 1 deejay again?

Well, it's pretty amazing because it happened on my birthday, I'm super happy. Obviously, it's a great honour and it's crazy because I last won nine years ago.

Also, it's a bit different because I think nine years ago, I won because of the cultural impact of (having my music) cross over to radio. This year, probably, is the other way around because I've done all these new sounds with the New Rave EP.

So it's exciting to win twice for two completely different reasons.

Does it surprise you that you are still at the top - 36 years after you started deejaying?

Longevity, that's a big thing. I don't take it for granted, I appreciate it a lot and work very hard for my shows. It's really crazy, I spent so much time working on them.

So, yeah, I'm also putting the effort in and it makes me very happy that people appreciate it.

You broke records with your live-streamed DJ sets. Do you think online gigs are here to stay?

If I'm being totally honest, it's not the same, but it's just that there's nothing else right now.

When I started to do this, all the other artists were doing shows from their bedrooms. I was like, "No, we are entertainers, we need to come with a real show, we can still give something more".

It's crazy because the charity shows I did to collect money to help people with Covid and, I mean, not only did we collect US$1.5 million, but also we had 50 million views. That's insane, on just social media.

This is like major global TV show type of numbers. But it was also a time when everybody was confined at home and had nothing else to do than to be on social media.

But I cannot imagine doing this my entire life, I need the real thing.

You've also been busy putting out new songs and remixes. What inspires you?

I had nothing to do and I've still managed to be completely overwhelmed with work. I've never had so much time to make music since I was maybe 17.

I just like working and am enjoying it even more this time because making music under these circumstances is very special (as) I don't have an agenda. I don't have the stress of having to do shows. I just make music for fun.

I cannot wait to be able to perform them because my main motivation, when I'm in the studio, is imagining how the music will fit when I play live.

When you're making music, do you think about which generation they are for? Is it for long-time fans who have been with you from day one, or those who have only recently discovered your music?

You know what was strange with me, I started to deejay professionally in a club when I was 17. And the people that were in the club were around an average of 22 years old. And then when I was 32, it was still 22 and so on. It makes me feel like I'm 22 forever.

So, to answer your question, I do have original fans who have been following me from the beginning.

But I think more about the teenagers and the ones in their early 20s. Because the way I think of music is not so much about age, it's more about making you dance - and usually young people are the (ones) going out to dance.

I make dance music, so that's why my crowd doesn't really get old.


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