The 44-year-old French DJ and superstar producer is getting a lot of love these days.
David Guetta’s last year’s album, Nothing but the Beat, and collaborations with everyone, from Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Akon and Rihanna to Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida, underline that the ‘David Guetta feat’ prefix is what mainstream pop artists covet right now.
Today, many songs on the charts sound like a Guetta production, the ultimate tribute, and he is near-worshipped at dance music festivals across the world with crowds of over 80,000.
But the DJ who grew up in Paris retains his connect with clubs, making the weekly trip to Ibiza in summer, and playing in the early hours to a packed audience, while wife and business partner, Cathy, sets the mood with glow sticks.
Clearly, Guetta has come a long way from spinning at a gay club at 17.
In the beginning
I have always been obsessed by music.
When I was 12, there was ‘pirate radio’ - it was the beginning of FM radio in France. At the time, club DJs would come in and mix music; it was the 80s and it was funk.
There was no ‘director of programs’, just DJs playing what they liked and I went crazy for this. I had no one in my family who was a DJ or working in a club, and of course, since it was ‘pirate radio’, there was something forbidden and exciting to a teenager.
You could almost compare the community that was interested in pirate radio to what the internet is today.
I wanted to be able to mix like those guys, so I started to train every day after school and then when I was 18, I discovered house music.
It was the very beginning and I was one of the first DJs in France to play this kind of music.
Who and what was instrumental in the revival of EDM and your role as the ‘biggest DJ in the world’:
My mission was always to create a bigger platform for electronic music. I am one of the producers who represent this.
My personal goal was for EDM to be as big and respected as hip-hop or rock and we have come a long way in the last few years.
You have collaborated with some of the biggest artistes today, but it all began with Will.i.am and a club night in Ibiza:
My first work as a producer for another artist (not for my own albums) was I Gotta Feeling.
The Black Eyed Peas had discovered EDM when they were touring and had heard Love Is Gone.
Will.i.am called me because they wanted that sound. It was more like a party in the studio than anything. When I started to work with him, I was supposed to just produce I Gotta Feeling and Rock That Body.
But we had so much fun together; we made three tracks for my album.
And even though his album and my album were finished, we kept on making music together.
You don’t smoke, or do drugs, drink occasionally and eat very healthy.
and you love connecting with people. So how is your music best enjoyed, at a concert or in private?
I like to play stadiums, of course, but equally, to balance the big shows with more intimate club gigs where I can play new sounds and see the whites of people’s eyes.
I love that intimacy and connection.
I Gotta Feeling became the most downloaded song when it was released and America could finally relate to European dance music.
Now everyone is trying to create songs that sound like a Guetta production:
The great thing about my last album Nothing but the Beat is that it bridges the divide between electronic music in Europe and urban music from America.
This album is something I’m very proud of and it’s been very well received in both the urban and electronic worlds.
How did you feel about being nominated for the Grammys again this year?
It was an honour to be nominated, my eighth. What was amazing about the Grammys this year, is that they paid special attention and recognition to our scene and music.
They created a unique environment to showcase our music and Skrillex, wow, he smashed it this year.
Tell us about Titanium . How do you feel about it going to No 1 in the UK this month?
Again, I am so proud and thankful for my success in the UK. We put a lot of hard work into Titanium so I’m pleased. I love playing in the UK; it was the first country to support my music and me as a DJ after France.
Who are your influences?
My roots are firmly in dance music but artists such as Kings of Leon and Coldplay influence me too. As do fresh producers like Nicky Romero, Afrojack, Skrillex and Avicii.
Talent and people who are passionate about what they do, inspire me.
I also take inspiration from the clubs, how the people react to a beat, how they dance.
What’s in the pipeline?
I am working on many projects right now. I am always creating. I play Ibiza every week during the summer and am constantly touring. I make music as I travel. Every day is a new beginning.