Avicii was a man who seemingly had it all. His meteoric rise to fame would have given anyone whiplash, though he and longtime manager Ash Pournouri tried to keep a focus on giving back. Now, following the “Levels” producer’s death at age 28 on April 20, we take a closer look at some of his charitable efforts that helped make real the positive message of his melodies.
After being thrust into the international spotlight with his breakout hit in 2011, Avicii and Pournouri founded House for Hunger, a nonprofit that aimed to raise $1 million via ticket sales from the artist’s 25-date January tour across the United States. It was a daunting-though-successful effort that ultimately donated its goal to Feeding America.
A year later, he’d donate another million, this time in Euros, to Swedish charity Radiohjalpen. According to a message from its founder, Avicii’s generous offering helped found its Hunger Aid division, which was used to feed children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
At the start of 2013, Avicii launched a new initiative inviting producers from around the world to join him in what his team called “the world’s largest music collaboration.” “Avicii x You” was a song title and project that took 12,951 sound submissions from 4,199 artists across 140 countries to create a final product, all proceeds from which went to House for Hunger. Clips of the creation process were used in a special video, which gave shout outs to the producers whose work Avicii included most.
In 2013, the organization also teamed with Macy’s to sell $20 “playbutton” pins, wearable mp3 players loaded with playlists from Avicii, Moby, Hardwell, Nicky Romero and others with 1.8 GB of free space. A donation fo $60,000 was made to the FEED Foundation as part of the effort.
In 2014, Avicii broadened his charitable horizons and took on the fight against HIV and AIDs. In November, he teamed with (RED) to launch “Ultimate Year of Music with Avicii.” The winner and a friend joined the DJ at gigs in New York City, Ibiza and Las Vegas. Each entry was a donation to (RED)’s cause, with instant rewards ranging from T-shirts and posters to autographed merch, and for $25,000, two VIP tickets to an Avicii show in Vegas. That same month, Avicii released a song with Wyclef Jean called “Divine Sorrow,” proceeds from which were donated to (RED)’s Global Fund.
By 2016, Avicii announced his plans to quit touring indefinitely. Fans could never know then how final his decision would be. The producer gave much of himself to the world, and we honor his legacy in both music and giving back. He was an example for musicians around the world, and though he is missed, his impact can still be felt. Check out his charitable tracks “x You” and “Divine Sorrow” below.