Alan Walker (music producer)

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Alan Walker
Alan Walker.jpg
Walker during an interview in Germany
Background information
Birth name Alan Olav Walker
Also known as
  • DJ Walkzz
  • Walkzz
Born (1997-08-24) 24 August 1997 (age 20)[1]
Northampton, England
Origin Bergen, Norway
Genres
Occupation(s)
Instruments
Years active 2012–present
Labels
Website alanwalker.no
Nationality
Citizenship Norway
United Kingdom

Alan Olav Walker (born 24 August 1997), formerly known by his stage name DJ Walkzz, is a Norwegian record producer and DJ.[2] He is best known for his 2015 single "Faded", which received platinum certifications in over 10 different countries. He is ranked 17th on DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs list of 2017, placing 38 positions higher than the previous year.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Walker is the son of Hilde Omdal Walker, a Norwegian, and Philip Alan Walker, an Englishman.[5][6] By birth, he was granted dual citizenship on the basis of his parental origin. At the age of two, he moved to Bergen,[2] Norway with his parents and sister.[7] Walker grew up with two siblings, an older sister, Camilla Joy, born in England, and a younger brother, Andreas, born in Norway after the family moved from the United Kingdom.

Growing up in the digital era, Walker found an early interest in computers, which later turned into a fascination for programming and graphic design. He initially had no musical background; however, he later taught himself by watching tutorials on YouTube based on music production.[8]

Career[edit]

2012–15: Debut on NoCopyrightSounds and "Faded"[edit]

In 2012, Walker was listening to a song by David Whistle (formerly known as DJ Ness), and reached out to the Italian DJ to find out how he produced his music. He was inspired by EDM producers K-391 and Ahrix, and is also influenced by film composers like Hans Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky.[9] He started all his music on his laptop with FL Studio. In July 2012, with the help and feedback from his fans online, he began pursuing his music production career and slowly began posting his music to YouTube and SoundCloud.

Walker released the track "Fade" on 17 August 2014.[10] The track gained attention after its re-release via the record label NoCopyrightSounds on 19 November.[11] Walker stated that the creation of the track was inspired by K-391 and Ahrix, whose tracks were also picked up by the record label. The track has over 300 million views on YouTube,[12] 79 million plays on Spotify,[13] and 20 million streams on SoundCloud.[14] It has become the most popular track on the channel, and is widely used by YouTubers in their videos. The tracks "Spectre" and "Force" followed in 2015.

Walker signed with MER Musikk under Sony Music Sweden and his next single, "Faded", was a remastered vocal version of "Fade". It was released on 8 December and featured uncredited Naustdal pop singer Iselin Solheim.[15] The single topped the year-end charts in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden, iTunes charts in 32 countries, as well as entering top 10 in Spotify Global Chart. The music video on YouTube has over 1.6 billion views and 11 million likes,[16] placing it among the top 10 most liked YouTube videos. It has over 780 million plays on Spotify,[17] and is also one of the Top 10 Most Shazamed tracks of 2016.[18] The single also received official remixes from Tiësto,[19] Dash Berlin and Hardwell. He later released an acoustic "restrung" version of the song, with all the EDM elements taken out.[20]

2016: Live performances, "Sing Me to Sleep" and "Alone"[edit]

Walker quit high school in January.[21]

On 27 February, Walker made his live performance debut at the Winter X Games in Oslo, where he performed 15 tracks including the song "Faded" together with Iselin Solheim.[22][23]

By March, Walker had produced "30 to 40" songs in total, but "Faded" marks his first single with Sony Music Sweden, and the first to achieve such global success.[18]

On 7 April, Alan teamed up with Swedish singer Zara Larsson at the Echo Awards in Germany, together they performed each other's songs "Faded" and "Never Forget You".[24] Four weeks before, he achieved the first place on NRJ Euro Hot 30 for the first time, which only has been achieved by one other Norwegian artist, Kygo.[25]

The single "Sing Me to Sleep" was released on 3 June, featuring female vocalist Iselin Solheim, the same vocalist in "Faded". The song topped iTunes charts in 7 countries. Its music video on YouTube has over 400 million views,[26] and it also reached 170 million plays on Spotify.[27]

The single "Alone" was released on 2 December, featuring uncredited Swedish singer Noonie Bao.[28] The music video on YouTube has over 610 million views,[29] the track also gained over 210 million plays on Spotify.[30] The song was described as "the final piece of a trilogy consisting of 'Faded', 'Sing Me To Sleep' and 'Alone'" by Gunnar Greeve, Walker's manager and co-writer for the single.[31]

Walker at Stavernfestivalen in Norway 2016

On 21 and 22 December, Walker held the concert "Alan Walker is Heading Home" in his hometown Bergen for the first time at USF Verftet, where he performed 16 songs and tracks together with Angelina Jordan, Marius Samuelsen, Alexandra Rotan, Yosef Wolde-Mariam and Tove Styrke as singers.[32][33] The concert was officially live-streamed on YouTube.[34] He premeiered several unreleased tracks, including a restrung version of "Sing Me to Sleep", as well as "Sky" and "Heading Home", the latter of which was first performed during his debut at Winter X Games. The song "The Spectre", a remastered version of his earlier track "Spectre", was also performed during the concert.

On 23 December, Walker released the video for the single "Routine", which premiered on his concert in Bergen, two days before and some concerts on the "Walker Tour". The track was made in collaboration with David Whistle. Its music video on YouTube has over 30 million views,[35] and 23 million plays on Spotify.[36]

2017: "Tired", "The Spectre" and "All Falls Down"[edit]

At the beginning of 2017, Walker's YouTube channel became the most subscribed channel registered in Norway, after passing about 4.5 million subscribers, and currently has the most views among Norwegian YouTubers at around 3.4 billion views by 10 February 2018.[37][2]

On 7 April, Walker released the song "Ignite" instrumental version, which featured Norwegian music producer and songwriter K-391. It was released as a promotion of the launch of the Sony Xperia XZs smartphone. On 19 May, Walker released his first song with a male vocalist, Irish singer-songwriter Gavin James, titled "Tired". Walker said that the song "adds another dimension" to his productions. Its music video on YouTube has over 102 million views.[38] On 9 June, his collaboration with Dane Alex Skrindo, "Sky", was released on the compilation, Insomniac Records Presents: EDC Las Vegas 2017. Its music video on YouTube has over 36 million views.[39]

On 15 September, he released "The Spectre", a revamped version with vocals of his 2015 single "Spectre". The video depicts footage of his concerts, along with a team of dancers dressed in white jumpsuits and black helmets. The video currently has over 317 million views.

On 27 October, Walker released the song, "All Falls Down" which featured American singer Noah Cyrus and British DJ and record producer Digital Farm Animals. The video storyline follows the visual for his previous song "Tired". Its YouTube music video has been viewed over 101 million times.[40][41]

2018–present: "Ignite"[edit]

During this year, Walker became the top YouTuber in Norway with 15 million subscribers.[42]

On 16 January, in a interview with Fuse, Walker revealed that an upcoming album is coming later in the year. "It's still in progress, not ready," Walker said. "I can't tell you much about features on it or anything yet, but I'm really, really excited about this one."[43]

On 11 May, Walker and Norwegian music producer K-391 released "Ignite" vocal version, which featured Norwegian singer Julie Bergan and South Korean singer Seungri.[44][45][46] The music video was released on 12 May in K-391's youtube channel, because Nilsen was the lead artist of this single.[47] Its YouTube music video has been viewed over 18 million times.[48][49]

Public image[edit]

Walker at WMA, with an outfit resembling a black bloc protester

Walker was originally known as "DJ Walkzz". Since he has been a part of many different producing groups, he later became just "Walkzz". He ended up using his real name, Alan Walker, as his artist name. The recognisable logo consists of intertwined letters "A" and "W", the initials of his name, was designed by Walker himself in 2013.[50] He also uses a hoodie and face mask resembling the concept of black bloc on stage to create the rest of the image.[51]

"At the very beginning, we were thinking about ideas like how can we promote Alan Walker as an artist, and then we created a symbol that's kind of almost attach anyone. Therefore, you can just have the hoodie and the mask and you immediately become a 'Walker'. That's also a sign of no matter who you are, you can be a 'Walker', we're all equal." Walker explained the concept of his look, in an interview by KKBox.[52] When asked in an interview by NRK, why he used the mask, he said: "It is to keep a low profile while maintaining the public image they have given me. I think it's pretty cool. A little twist that makes people ask themselves questions about who really is the person behind Alan Walker.", and applied: "Basically, all of the data-world, focus on anonymity. Anyone can join Alan Walker, and the masks show that they can be anyone."[51]

In the first promo pictures his management handed out, Walker's face was barely visible at all. Also in the music video for his single "Alone", he is all dressed as a black shadow figure. This is, according to the artist himself, a carefully planned image drawn up together with the record company Sony. "In a meeting with them we talked about how we could build the profile of Alan Walker", said Walker to the newspaper VG. "They asked about my interests. I replied PC, computer gaming and stuff like Anonymous and computer hacking where hoodies play a role."[53]

Walker acknowledges that it's a difficult time keeping a low profile. Both he and his management prefer that the hoodie with a logo on the back is what he is characterised by. "When I first created an Instagram account I never had pictures of myself, nor of nature and such. But it is difficult to remain anonymous."

On stage, he is accompanied by two other men who are also masked. "It's rare to see a trio in electronic music. I think it is a cool concept. We are in a way a small band."

At a press conference 9 November 2016, Alan said: "The concept with the mask is very cool, that is inspired by the hacker group "Anonymous" and the television series Mr. Robot. I have a background as a gamer and kept on with it before I started with music. By taking on a mask I can be immediately seen as a gamer."

"I chose to quietly without a mask today. The concept ends in the trilogy. It will be interesting to open new doors and explore a bit. The mask is not lost permanently, but temporarily", which means he will take a break from his image - for a time. "With Alan Walker, the music is the focus, not necessarily everything around. It is a recurrent theme in the music of "Faded", "Sing Me To Sleep" and "Alone", which is a kind of conclusion to what one might call a trilogy", explains spokesperson Yonas Aregai for the record label MER."

"A lot of people ask me why I am wearing a mask. The mask is more of a sign and a symbol of unity and being alike each other, rather than me being different." said Walker, behind the scenes of the single "Alone".[54][55]

Discography[edit]

Tour[edit]

Headlining
  • The Walker Tour (2016–2018)[56]
  • World of Walker Tour: Part I (2018)
Supporting

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buchanan, John. "Billboard: Alan Walker biography". billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Alan Walker talks fame, gaming and music-making". DJ Mag. 11 March 2018. 
  3. ^ "Top 100 DJs 2017 DJMag.com". DJ Mag. Retrieved 24 October 2017. 
  4. ^ "Top 100 DJs 2016 DJMag.com". DJ Mag. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Spellemannprisen 2016, Årets låt - Faded". NRK. Retrieved 28 February 2018. 
  6. ^ "Alan Walker: Unmasked (Episode 3)". Alan Walker on YouTube. Retrieved 28 February 2018. 
  7. ^ "Alan Walker droppar maska". NRK. 9 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "Alan Walker - Q&A #1". YouTube. 12 August 2016. 
  9. ^ Alan Walker (10 February 2016), Alan Walker - Interview No. 1 (Behind The Scenes), retrieved 2 February 2017 
  10. ^ Alan Walker (17 August 2014), Alan Walker - Fade, retrieved 6 February 2017 
  11. ^ NoCopyrightSounds (19 November 2014), Alan Walker - Fade [NCS Release], retrieved 6 February 2017 
  12. ^ "Alan Walker - Fade". YouTube. Retrieved 12 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "Fade - Alan Walker". Spotify. Retrieved 1 January 2018. 
  14. ^ "Alan Walker - Fade [NCS Release]". SoundCloud. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  15. ^ "Best Songs We Heard This Week: Jeremih, The 1975, Alan Walker + More". 
  16. ^ "Alan Walker - Faded". YouTube. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  17. ^ "Faded - Alan Walker". Spotify. Retrieved 10 December 2016. 
  18. ^ a b Blake, Emily. "Alan Walker, the 18-year-old behind that 'Faded' song, tells us what's next". 
  19. ^ "Alan Walker: From Bedroom Producer to Official Sia Remixer". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2016. 
  20. ^ Alan Walker (11 February 2016), Alan Walker - Faded (Restrung), retrieved 2 February 2017 
  21. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Interview with 'Faded' hit maker Alan Walker". Retrieved 18 January 2017 – via CelebMix. 
  22. ^ "DJ Alan Walker celebrates X Games Oslo". X Games. ESPN. 1 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  23. ^ "Alan Walker @ X Games Oslo 2016 - Live Tracklist". 2 April 2016. 
  24. ^ "Big in Germany: Se Alan Walker feat. Zara Larsson på tyske Grammy's". 
  25. ^ "Se Zara Larsson gjøre Alan Walkers Faded" [See Zara Larsson do Alan Walker's Faded]. NRJ.no (in Norwegian). 4 November 2016. 
  26. ^ "Alan Walker - Sing Me to Sleep". YouTube. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  27. ^ "Sing Me To Sleep - Alan Walker". Spotify. Retrieved 10 December 2016. 
  28. ^ "Se Alan Walkers Ulriken-video her. Nå skal den ut til hele verden". Bergens Tidende. bt.no. December 2, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Alan Walker - Alone". YouTube. 
  30. ^ "Alone - Alan Walker". Spotify. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  31. ^ "Alan Walker - The Making of Alone (Behind The Scenes)". YouTube. Alan Walker. 
  32. ^ Alan Walker (11 January 2017). "Alan Walker - Alone (Live Performance)" – via YouTube. 
  33. ^ "Alan Walker is Heading Home Bergen, Norway 2016 - Live Tracklist". 22 December 2016. 
  34. ^ "Alan Walker is Heading Home". 
  35. ^ Alan Walker (23 December 2016), Alan Walker x David Whistle - Routine, retrieved 3 February 2017 
  36. ^ "Routine - Alan Walker". Spotify. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  37. ^ "Toppliste for norske Youtubere – Nordic Screens". 
  38. ^ "Alan Walker ft. Gavin James - Tired". YouTube. 19 May 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  39. ^ Matthew Meadow (7 June 2017). "Alan Walker Drops New Track on EDC Compilation with Alex Skrindo". Your EDM. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  40. ^ "Alan Walker Brings the Feel-Good Vibes With Noah Cyrus & Digital Farm Animals on 'All Falls Down'". Billboard. Tatiana Cirisano. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  41. ^ "Alan Walker - All Falls Down (feat. Noah Cyrus with Digital Farm Animals)". YouTube. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  42. ^ "Norway's All Time Most Subscribed YouTube Channels". Dbase. 11 June 2018. 
  43. ^ "Noah Cyrus and Alan Walker Talk Their Single 'All Falls Down' and Global Domination". Fuse. 16 January 2018. 
  44. ^ "K-391 and Alan Walker Releases Gorgeous Vocal Version of 'Ignite'". EDM Sauce. 11 May 2018. 
  45. ^ "Innovative artist concept K-391 releases debut single, "Ignite" featuring Alan Walker, Julie Bergan and Seungri". Vents Magazine. 11 May 2018. 
  46. ^ "BIGBANG's Seungri Teams Up With DJ Alan Walker And Julie Bergan For Special Collaboration". soompi. 9 May 2018. 
  47. ^ "K-391 and Alan Walker Releases Gorgeous Vocal Version of 'Ignite'". EDM Sauce. 11 May 2018. 
  48. ^ "Alan Walker & K-391 release a refreshed version of 'Ignite,' with Julie Bergan and SEUNGRI". Dancing Astronaut. 4 June 2018. 
  49. ^ "K-391 & Alan Walker - Ignite (feat. Julie Bergan & Seungri)". YouTube. 12 May 2018. 
  50. ^ "10 Things You Should Know About Alan Walker". Myspace. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  51. ^ a b NRK. "Norges nye stjerne Alan Walker om suksessen: – Magisk". 
  52. ^ KKBOX (23 December 2016), 神秘面罩下的Alan Walker, retrieved 18 January 2017 
  53. ^ "Derfor stiller Alan Walker med maske på scenen". vg.no. June 25, 2016. 
  54. ^ "Alan Walker's third episode of his 'Unmasked' series - EARMILK". EARMILK. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  55. ^ "Alan Walker locked to play DJ Mag Miami Pool Party". DJMag.com. DJ Mag Staff. 28 February 2018. 
  56. ^ Studio, Defy. "The Walker Tour". Alan Walker. 
  57. ^ "Alan Walker varmer opp for Rihanna". vg.no. June 23, 2016. 
  58. ^ "Alan Walker to join Justin Bieber on India Tour". India Today. April 8, 2017. 
  59. ^ Andrew Rafter (9 June 2017). "Martin Garrix Reveals Full Line-Up For Thursdays at Ushuaïa in Ibiza". DJ Mag. Retrieved 13 June 2017. 

External links[edit]