For The Record: How Tiësto's 'In My Memory' Crowned A Dance Music Superstar 20 Years Ago



For The Record: How Tiësto's 'In My Memory' Crowned A Dance Music Superstar 20 Years Ago

Released 20 years ago this month, ‘In My Memory’ recalls an era when Tiësto was proudly the king of trance

GRAMMYs/Apr 16, 2021 - 02:03 am

Like any self-respecting star during the early 2000s, Tiësto offered up a tour DVD to the world. Released in August 2003, Another Day at the Office follows the DJ's world tour the previous year, which culminated in a New Year's Eve set at Times Square in New York. The film captures the 33-year-old on the ascent—popular enough to be flown around the world, but still able to circulate a US festival mostly incognito.

The footage captures Tiësto jumping between international flights and limos, signing t-shirts and flyers for fans and playing gigs with a bag of vinyl records and a binder of promo CDRs. "My life in general is pretty hectic," he says early in the film, framed against New York's icy East River. "On Christmas Day, I played in Ireland and London, then the day after I flew to Hong Kong, and then a day later I'm here in New York." As he lists this sleepless schedule, the smile on his face suggests he wouldn't have it any other way.

Tiësto's newly hectic life coincided with the arrival of his debut album, In My Memory. Released in April of 2001 on the Black Hole Recordings sub-label Magik Muzik, the album confirmed the hotshot trance DJ's clout as a producer. Featuring the anthemic trinity of "Flight 643," "Lethal Industry" and "Suburban Train," In My Memory cemented Tiësto as the biggest name in his genre. Confirming his new status, he went on to win DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs poll for three years running from 2002 to 2004. The album also marked a distinct phase in Tiësto's production career as the new trance wunderkind before his evolution to a more polished sound on 2004's Just Be.

The DJ born Tijs Verwest was never idle in the years leading up to In My Memory. Starting out in the early '90s in his native Netherlands under the hardcore and gabber aliases DJ Limited and Da Joker, he soon broke through as DJ Tiësto. His marathon sets around Europe covered the trance spectrum, from delicate and uplifting to dark and enveloping. Early in his production career, he formed partnerships with fellow Dutch producers Ferry Corsten, as Gouryella, and Benno de Goeij, as Kamaya Painters.

As his career accelerated in the late '90s, he founded Black Hole Recordings with Arny Bink, launched the Magik and In Search of Sunrise mix series and collaborated twice with trance newcomer Armin van Buuren as Alibi and Major League.

In the late '90s, Tiësto also became known as a prolific remixer for BT, Signum and Balearic Bill. However his true breakout came in 2000 with the "In Search Of Sunrise Remix" of Delirium's "Silence," featuring Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan. Tiësto spent three weeks getting his version just right. "Everything has to be perfect or [McLachlan] doesn't approve," he told Canada's bpm:tv in 2001. After his take on "Silence" blew up, Tiësto put a pause on remixing to focus on his debut album.

Tiësto worked on the tracks for In My Memory at the Black Hole Recordings studio in his hometown of Breda. "Lethal Industry" was already a mainstay of his sets in 1999, guaranteeing its spot on the tracklist. (Tiësto's other big tune of that year, "Sparkles," was featured in the Ibiza-set comedy movie, Kevin & Perry Go Large.)

While the album promised purist, club-ready trance, Tiësto set out to showcase different shades to his sound with the help of British vocalists Kirsten Hawkshaw, Nicola Hitchcock and Jan Johnston. The DJ then created the Magik Musik sub-label in 2001 as a home for the album, while also finding time to put out a pair of mix compilations, Magik Seven: Live In Los Angeles and the double-disc Revolution.

Tiësto structured In My Memory as a journey towards the sure-fire trio of "Flight 643," "Lethal Industry" and "Suburban Train." Album opener "Magik Journey" expands on the classical work of Tiësto's collaborator Geert Huinink, with swelling strings and ghostly vocals driving to an explosive conclusion. The same drawn-out energy returns on "Obsession," a collaboration with Dutch producer Junkie XL, now best known for scoring Hollywood blockbusters like Mad Max: Fury Road and Deadpool.

Working together in Junkie XL's underground cellar in Amsterdam, the pair produced the ideal nine-minute track for an all-night Tiësto set. (On his YouTube channel, Junkie XL recalled taking the "obsession" soundbite from a Calvin Klein ad on TV: "The beautiful thing about the [year] 2000 is you'd get away with things you'd never get away with now.")

Not all the tracks on In My Memory floored the accelerator. The warm pads of "Close To You," featuring seasoned trance vocalist Jan Johnston, evokes a hazy Ibiza sunrise, while the instrumental "Dallas 4PM" finds Tiësto in expansive progressive trance mode. Title track "In My Memory" features Nicola Hitchcock's brittle vocals over a radiant melody, while the trip-hop-influenced "Battleship Grey," featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw, is the album's most surprising deviation.

The album saves its biggest hitters for last. "Flight 643", named after the non-stop service between Amsterdam and New York, is built around an unmistakable synth stab that never lets up. Following the propulsive tech-trance of "Lethal Industry," the album closes with "Suburban Train," which builds steadily over ten minutes to all-out euphoria.

The composition draws heavily on "Re-Form," a 2000 track by Dutch producer Kid Vicious (that Tiësto also remixed). While "Suburban Train" became a staple of Tiësto's sets for years to come, he occasionally reached for the vocal version featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw, "Urban Train."

In My Memory ensured Tiësto rarely slept in his own bed. In addition to his residency for Cream at Amnesia in Ibiza, he ticked off early editions of Ultra Music Festival and Coachella in 2002. That summer, Moby booked Tiësto for his Area2 festival tour of the US, which features prominently in Another Day at the Office. With trance at the peak of its popularity in 2003 (led largely by Dutch talent), Tiësto drew 25,000 fans to the Gelredome in The Netherlands for an eight-hour set captured on the Tiësto In Concert DVD.

Despite his good fortunes, Tiësto was wary of being labeled as just a trance guy. "I am definitely a trance DJ, but I try to bring people into trance," he said backstage at the Global Gathering festival in 2002. "I think of it as a journey, and in that journey, I visit the warm and harder stuff, and different kinds of music."

In his 2001 interview with, he shrugged off the suggestion that he was moving to a more progressive style. "I got a little bit bored about all the same epic stuff that's coming out," he reasoned. "I just like to play music from the heart, that has some sensitive elements and some powerful energy."

That wariness of being pigeonholed informed Tiësto's vocal-heavy but still trance-focused 2007 album, Elements Of Life, which earned his first nomination for Best Electronic/Dance Album at the GRAMMYs. In 2009, his new label Musical Freedom and electro-pop album Kaleidoscope clearly signaled a new era.

As the EDM boom took over the US in the early 2010s, Tiësto's sets moved towards big-room electro-house, which in turn attracted a new audience. "I think some of the old trance guys still have their following, but it doesn't feel like anyone really cares," he told DJ Mag plainly in 2014. While the occasional trance classic still turns up in his sets, the sound of In My Memory is firmly in Tiësto's past.

In Another Day at the Office, Tiësto describes the pay-off for his punishing work hours. "I love what I do," he says simply. "It's still my hobby. When I DJ, I love it." Two decades later, after thousands of shows and a few musical evolutions, the hobby is still paying off.

For The Record: How The Fugees Settled 'The Score' 25 Years Ago


GRAMMY SoundChecks With Gavin DeGraw

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

On Aug. 28 Nashville Chapter GRAMMY U members took part in GRAMMY SoundChecks with Gavin DeGraw. Approximately 30 students gathered at music venue City Hall and watched DeGraw play through some of the singles from earlier in his career along with "Cheated On Me" from his latest self-titled album.

In between songs, DeGraw conducted a question-and-answer session and inquired about the talents and goals of the students in attendance. He gave inside tips to the musicians present on how to make it in the industry and made sure that every question was answered before moving onto the next song.


Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year


Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year

Annual star-studded gala slated for Nov. 4 in Las Vegas during 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Week celebration

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

 Internationally renowned singer/songwriter/performer Juan Gabriel will be celebrated as the 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, it was announced today by The Latin Recording Academy. Juan Gabriel, chosen for his professional accomplishments as well as his commitment to philanthropic efforts, will be recognized at a star-studded concert and black tie dinner on Nov. 4 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev. 

The "Celebration with Juan Gabriel" gala will be one of the most prestigious events held during Latin GRAMMY week, a celebration that culminates with the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards ceremony. The milestone telecast will be held at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Nov. 5 and will be broadcast live on the Univision Television Network at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central. 

"As we celebrate this momentous decade of the Latin GRAMMYs, The Latin Recording Academy and its Board of Trustees take great pride in recognizing Juan Gabriel as an extraordinary entertainer who never has forgotten his roots, while at the same time having a global impact," said Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa. "His influence on the music and culture of our era has been tremendous, and we welcome this opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to a voice that strongly resonates within our community.

Over the course of his 30-year career, Juan Gabriel has sold more than 100 million albums and has performed to sold-out audiences throughout the world. He has produced more than 100 albums for more than 50 artists including Paul Anka, Lola Beltran, Rocío Dúrcal, and Lucha Villa among many others. Additionally, Juan Gabriel has written more than 1,500 songs, which have been covered by such artists as Marc Anthony, Raúl Di Blasio, Ana Gabriel, Angelica María, Lucia Mendez, Estela Nuñez, and Son Del Son. In 1986, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared Oct. 5 "The Day of Juan Gabriel." The '90s saw his induction into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame and he joined La Opinion's Tributo Nacional Lifetime Achievement Award recipients list. 

At the age of 13, Juan Gabriel was already writing his own songs and in 1971 recorded his first hit, "No Tengo Dinero," which landed him a recording contract with RCA. Over the next 14 years, he established himself as Mexico's leading singer/songwriter, composing in diverse styles such as rancheras, ballads, pop, disco, and mariachi, which resulted in an incredible list of hits ("Hasta Que Te Conocí," "Siempre En Mi Mente," "Querida," "Inocente Pobre Amigo," "Abrázame Muy Fuerte," "Amor Eterno," "El Noa Noa," and "Insensible") not only for himself  but for many leading Latin artists. In 1990, Juan Gabriel became the only non-classical singer/songwriter to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and the album release of that concert, Juan Gabriel En Vivo Desde El Palacio De Bellas Artes, broke sales records and established his iconic status. 

After a hiatus from recording, Juan Gabriel released such albums as Gracias Por Esperar, Juntos Otra Vez, Abrázame Muy Fuerte, Los Gabriel…Para Ti, Juan Gabriel Con La Banda…El Recodo, and El Mexico Que Se Nos Fue, which were all certified gold and/or platinum by the RIAA. In 1996, to commemorate his 25th anniversary in the music industry, BMG released a retrospective set of CDs entitled 25 Aniversario, Solos, Duetos, y Versiones Especiales, comprised appropriately of 25 discs.   

In addition to his numerous accolades and career successes, Juan Gabriel has been a compassionate and generous philanthropist. He has donated all proceeds from approximately 10 performances a year to his favorite children's foster homes, and proceeds from fan photo-ops go to support Mexican orphans. In 1987, he founded Semjase, an orphanage for approximately 120 children, which also serves as a music school with music, recreation and video game rooms. Today, he continues to personally fund the school he opened more than 22 years ago.   

Juan Gabriel will have the distinction of becoming the 10th Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honoree, and joins a list of artists such as Gloria Estefan, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana among others who have been recognized. 

For information on purchasing tickets or tables to The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year tribute to Juan Gabriel, please contact The Latin Recording Academy ticketing office at 310.314.8281 or

Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013
Grizzled Mighty perform at Bumbershoot on Sept. 1

Photo: The Recording Academy


Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Alexa Zaske

This past Labor Day weekend meant one thing for many folks in Seattle: Bumbershoot, a three-decade-old music and arts event that consumed the area surrounding the Space Needle from Aug. 31–Sept. 2. Amid attendees wandering around dressed as zombies and participating in festival-planned flash mobs to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," this year the focus was on music from the Pacific Northwest region — from the soulful sounds of Allen Stone and legendary female rockers Heart, to the highly-awaited return of Death Cab For Cutie performing their 2003 hit album Transatlanticism in its entirety.

The festival started off on day one with performances by synth-pop group the Flavr Blue, hip-hop artist Grynch, rapper Nacho Picasso, psychedelic pop group Beat Connection, lively rapper/writer George Watsky, hip-hop group the Physics, and (my personal favorite), punk/dance band !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Also performing on day one was Seattle folk singer/songwriter Kris Orlowski, who was accompanied by the Passenger String Quartet. As always, Orlowski's songs were catchy and endearing yet brilliant and honest.

Day one came to a scorching finale with a full set from GRAMMY-nominated rock group Heart. Kicking off with their Top 20 hit "Barracuda," the set spanned three decades of songs, including "Heartless," "Magic Man" and "What About Love?" It became a gathering of Seattle rock greats when, during Heart's final song, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined for 1976's "Crazy On You."

Day two got off to an early start with performances from eccentric Seattle group Kithkin and Seattle ladies Mary Lambert and Shelby Earl, who were accompanied by the band Le Wrens. My highlight of the day was the Grizzled Mighty — a duo with a bigger sound than most family sized bands. Drummer Whitney Petty, whose stage presence and skills make for an exciting performance, was balanced out by the easy listening of guitarist and lead singer Ryan Granger.

Then the long-awaited moment finally fell upon Seattle when, after wrapping a long-awaited tour with the Postal Service, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard returned to Seattle to represent another great success of the Pacific Northwest — Death Cab For Cutie. The band celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their album Transatlanticism by performing it from front to back. While a majority of attendees opted to watch the set from an air-conditioned arena, some of us recognized the uniqueness of this experience and enjoyed the entire set lying in the grass where the entire performance was streamed. 

Monday was the day for soul and folk. Local blues/R&B group Hot Bodies In Motion have been making their way through the Seattle scene with songs such as "Old Habits," "That Darkness" and "The Pulse." Their set was lively and enticing to people who have seen them multiple times or never at all.

My other highlights of the festival included the Maldives, who delivered a fun performance with the perfect amount of satirical humor and folk. They represent the increasing number of Pacific Northwest bands who consist of many members playing different sounds while still managing to stay cohesive and simple. I embraced the return of folk/pop duo Ivan & Alyosha with open arms and later closed my festival experience with local favorite Stone.

For music fans in Seattle and beyond, the annual Bumbershoot festival is a must-attend.

(Alexa Zaske is the Chapter Assistant for The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter. She's a music enthusiast and obsessed with the local Seattle scene.)

Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Neil Portnow and Jimmy Jam

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images


Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Jimmy Jam helps celebrate the outgoing President/CEO of the Recording Academy on the 61st GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Feb 11, 2019 - 10:58 am

As Neil Portnow's tenure as Recording Academy President/CEO draws to its end, five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam paid tribute to his friend and walked us through a brief overview of some of the Academy's major recent achievements, including the invaluable work of MusiCares, the GRAMMY Museum, Advocacy and more.

Portnow delivered a brief speech, acknowledging the need to continue to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion in the music industry. He also seized the golden opportunity to say the words he's always wanted to say on the GRAMMY stage, saying, "I'd like to thank the Academy," showing his gratitude and respect for the staff, elected leaders and music community he's worked with during his career at the Recording Academy. "We can be so proud of what we’ve all accomplished together," Portnow added.

"As I finish out my term leading this great organization, my heart and soul are filled with gratitude, pride, for the opportunity and unequal experience," he continued. "Please know that my commitment to all the good that we do will carry on as we turn the page on the next chapter of the storied history of this phenomenal institution."

Full Winners List: 61st GRAMMY Awards