The first time Avicii performed "Wake Me Up!" at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami this past March, the core EDM crowd didn't know what to make of the live bluegrass band that accompanied him. Cut to seven months later, and the genre-defying banger is still sitting pretty in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100, having already inspired several similar hybrids of folk and dance (most notably Pitbull and Ke$ha's "Timber") in its wake.
"It feels great after all the criticism and people who didn’t know what to think," Avicii said recently in an exclusive MLB post-season interview at the MLB Fan Cave. "I was always confident in the music, and I think my manager and everyone on my team was confident in the music. Even though some cynical people think it was a marketing ploy, it was never a marketing ploy..I set out to make the kind of music I love listening to.
The Ultra moment also raised an exceptionally high bar for Avicii to pass for 2014. "We’re always doing stuff for Ultra, like the year before we brought out Madonna," he says. "Next year, I don't know, but I think we’re planning a couple things. It's more of a way for us to do something fun that no one else is doing."
Avicii is already focused on his next album, having just released full-length debut "True" in September to widespread acclaim and a No. 5 debut on the Billboard 200. "I really love the direction I went with this album because I ended up with something I never had before, which is real songs other than the house songs," he says. "I like house music, it's always where I begin and it's my number one passion. But those tracks are also made for the dancefloor. These other songs were more songs and a score. It’s all about the melodies and you're able to listen to it wherever you are. Hopefully I’m gonna continue down that road."
Tune in to the exclusive clips for more insights from Avicii on the making of "True," and performance highlights from his recent private show at the MLB Fan Cave.