Electronic dance music is a genre that caters to the young, so it’s no surprise that many of its biggest stars and brightest talents started during their collegiate studies. From tropical house superstar Kygo to mash-up maestro 3LAU, here are five DJs who started while in school.
In 2014, Norway’s Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll was a 22-year-old college student whose tropical house remixes began gaining tremendous traction on the Hype Machine and Soundcloud. Just one year later, he’s signed to a major label Sony deal with marquee bookings at major festivals like Coachella, Ultra Music Festival, Lollapalooza and Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.
While studying finance at Washington University in St. Louis in 2011, Justin Blau turned his penchant for making dorm room mash-ups into a lucrative DJ career. The Las Vegas resident’s popular Dance Floor Filth series practically made him a fraternity household name, and he parlayed his popularity among millennials into multiple country-spanning tours and signings to Hardwell’s Revealed Recordings and Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records.
Bass house’s quickest rising rookie was a film major in college before he departed to study at Los Angeles’ Icon Collective music production school. After being introduced to Borgore, the 21-year-old’s career flourished through wub-heavy remixes for the likes of Riff Raff, A$AP Mob and Childish Gambino. With original “Feel the Volume” signed to Diplo’s Mad Decent and a well-regarded debut on HARD Summer’s main stage this year, there’s no denying this former film student’s current momentum.
Hailing from Haiti’s capital Port Au Prince, Brun was studying medicine on a full scholarship at Indiana’s Culver Military Academy when his music took off in the blogosphere. In 2011, the then-19-year-old released his first single, “Dawn,” on Hardwell’s Revealed Recordings and caught the ear of Aussie artist Dirty South – who signed his next single, “Rise,” and invited him to open at a series of Miami shows. While he still regularly volunteers to give back to his home country, Brun made the tough decision to pursue his musical dreams.
San Francisco imprint Dirtybird’s rising star just wrapped up his final semester at the University of Southern California, where he juggled to balance his class workload with his burgeoning DJ career. Only 22, the affable Los Angeles native already has four solo EPs and a laundry list of coveted bookings at prime events like HARD Summer and Holy Ship! under his belt.