meta-scriptUp Close & Personal: David Guetta On “Let’s Love” Ft. Sia, Creating in The COVID-19 Era & More | GRAMMY.com
Up Close & Personal: David Guetta On “Let’s Love” Ft. Sia, Creating in The COVID-19 Era & More

David Guetta

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Up Close & Personal: David Guetta On “Let’s Love” Ft. Sia, Creating in The COVID-19 Era & More

The GRAMMY-winning producer also chats about the soul music that inspires him, the benefits of working within limitations and more

GRAMMYs/Sep 8, 2020 - 11:42 pm

GRAMMY-winning producer David Guetta is not content to rest on his success. In fact, he's taken the opportunity of being stuck at home during the current pandemic to experiment and explore new sounds.

In the latest episode of Up Close & Personal, the superstar chats with GRAMMY.com Editor-in-Chief Justin Dwayne Joseph about his new single “Let’s Love” featuring Sia, creating music in the COVID-19 era, and the soul music that inspires him.

Guetta talks about the amazing transformation "Let's Love" made from the slower ballad it was in the demo to the energetic dance record with an '80s vibe it became. He also goes deeper into the influence of soul music on house music and remembers back to his early days of discovering his love for funk and disco, tracing the way he developed his personal style from combining early electronic music with funk and boogie.

"That combination," he said, "became what I've done as a producer many years late, having a dark instrumental with a soulful vocal full of hope, and making feel-good music."

Find out more about what the two-time GRAMMY winner has been up to, how he views working within limitations and more in the video above.

Exclusive: David Guetta Goes Inside Hot New Sia Collab "Flames"

 

2024 GRAMMYs: Kylie Minogue Wins First-Ever GRAMMY For Best Pop Dance Recording For "Padam Padam"
Kylie Minogue attends the 66th GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images

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2024 GRAMMYs: Kylie Minogue Wins First-Ever GRAMMY For Best Pop Dance Recording For "Padam Padam"

Kylie Minogue beat out David Guetta, Anne-Marie, and Coi Leray; Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding; Bebe Rexha and David Guetta, and Troye Sivan. This is the first-ever win in this brand-new category.

GRAMMYs/Feb 4, 2024 - 09:02 pm

Kylie Minogue has taken home the golden gramophone for Best Pop Dance Recording — an all-new category — at the 2024 GRAMMYs, for "Padam Padam."

Minogue came ahead of of David Guetta, Anne-Marie and Coi Leray ("Baby Don’t Hurt Me"); Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding ("Miracle"); Bebe Rexha and David Guetta ("One in a Million"); and Troye Sivan ("Rush").

The win marks Minogue’s second GRAMMY win after six career nominations. She had previously won Best Dance Recording for "Come Into My World."

The Australian pop star — along with producer Peter "Lostboy" Rycroft and mixing engineer Guy Massey — are the first-ever winners of the Best Pop/Dance Performance category. It was one of three new categories introduced at the 66th GRAMMYs; the other two are Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical and Best African Music Performance. 

Lostboy took the stage to accept the award on behalf of himself, Minogue, and Massey. 

"Padam Padam" charted at No. 7 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic chart; it was a much bigger hit in the UK, where it was a No. 1 hit. The song was embraced by the LGBTQ+ community on both sides of the Atlantic. 

"It's hugely important to me and so touching," said Minogue of her popularity with LGBTQ+ fans in an interview with GRAMMY.com earlier this year. "I hope that for that community and beyond, I just want to say I am open-minded and I want people to be happy in themselves. That community needed support and still needs support. I'm here. And they padamed for me."

Keep checking this space for more updates from Music’s Biggest Night!

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Winners & Nominees List

Ayra Starr's "Rush" To The Top: The Afrobeats Singer On Numerology, The Male Gaze & The Power Of Kelly Rowland
Ayra Starr

Photo: LEX ASH

interview

Ayra Starr's "Rush" To The Top: The Afrobeats Singer On Numerology, The Male Gaze & The Power Of Kelly Rowland

At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Ayra Starr is among the inaugural nominees for the Best African Music Performance category for her record-breaking single "Rush." The singer discusses her headlining tour, working with her idols and making it to Music's Biggest Night.

GRAMMYs/Jan 30, 2024 - 02:17 pm

Ayra Starr's rise to prominence in the realm of Afrobeats is a testament to her talent for seamlessly fusing "Gen-Z princess" flair with the wisdom of an old soul. From her inaugural 2021 EP and her debut album, 19 & Dangerous, to her presence at Music's Biggest Night, Starr has steadfastly embodied her artistic vision and accumulated experiences.

In the latter part of 2023, Starr embarked on her first headline tour, enchanting audiences with her sonorous voice and empowering blend of Afropop, R&B, and alté — skillfully interwoven with the vibrant sounds of her diverse roots. This international showcase further solidified her position as a dynamic force in the music industry.

"I'm constantly trying, constantly bettering myself, to show people I didn't come perfect," Starr tells GRAMMY.com. "I do have down and negative times where I'm in my head, I'm tired, or I'm not motivated. So, in a way, it's sort of a selfish thing where I make those songs for myself." 

This unwavering dedication to craft has transformed Starr into a formidable and industrious artist whose music resonates globally. Starr's pursuit of excellence is driven by a sense of artistic selfishness that compels her to continually evolve and elevate her musical prowess.

Born in Cotonou, Benin, Starr achieved monumental success with her single "Rush," released in 2022 as part of the deluxe version of 19 & Dangerous. The track became the most streamed solo song by a Nigerian female artist on Spotify and propelled her to become the youngest African female artist to surpass 100 million views on a single YouTube video. The Nigerian singer/songwriter's remarkable talent even captured the attention of former President Barack Obama, who included "Rush" in his annual year-end playlist in 2022.

The record-breaking track is nominated for the inaugural Best African Music Performance category at the 66th GRAMMY Awards. Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, Arya Starr spoke to GRAMMY.com about family, touring Europe and how her relationship with numbers is her way  of documenting her growth.

This conversation has been edited for clarity.

How are you recovering after your first headline tour? 

Well, there's no recovery for me anytime soon. 

After the world tour, my schedule is still packed with other stuff to do. I'm enjoying it to be honest. I had a two-day break and I could sit in one place. I'm just very used to the chaos of it all. I'm a proper Lagos babe, so I'm always buzzing for what's next.

Good thing you mentioned Lagos. Your parents bounced around places; from being born in Benin to moving to Abuja and then finally settling in Lagos, how have those migrations have influenced your sound?

I feel like living in different places has really shaped my mind. I really know how to adapt to places, people as well as situations. 

And you can hear that in the music. I know how to try and do different things. I know how to put different cultures and different worlds into what I'm doing. In Stability for instance, you can hear the French aspect of my life. I grew up listening to [Congolese singer and composer] Awilo and I sampled that. I mixed that with Lagos life — proper Afrobeats vibes. 

Your career has featured a pattern of numbers. I read that you like the number 5, your debut album was titled 19 & Dangerous, and your tour was called 21. Why have numbers become a prominent part of your career?

To be honest, it comes very naturally to me. I don't know what it is yet. I've not tapped into that aspect of my life. I think it might make sense in the third album where I'll be able to answer this question. 

But I just like numbers. Right now, my favorite number is eight. I say eight all the time. I don't even know why eight is just my number now. And with 19 & Dangerous and the tour called 21, it's just me relating everything to my age and where I am currently in life. It's just showing people that [what's happening in my life] is a very present movement and activity. I want people to know that, yeah, I did that when I was 19

Does that mean it's sort of a brag?

It's less of me showing off and bragging and more about me being present. There were a lot of people that were 19 at that time. There were a lot of people that were 20, or 29 but could relate to what I was saying. With 21 now, I want to associate it with a feeling and less of a number. 

So it's just you documenting your growth as an artist?

Exactly! I'm stealing that by the way. [Laughing] 

You've toured and opened for several artists like Koffee in the past, but this is your first headline tour. How did that feel?

Amazing. I’ve been touring for a while, but doing my own [tour] was a different feeling. Like people bought tickets to see me. I'm the reason they're there. 

There's no time to mess up. It's a different type of pressure. At a certain point, during the Europe tour, I was just like, I’m so relaxed because it's my stage, they're here to see me you know. If I fall down, it's all part of the vibe. It's an experience for them. They're gonna talk about it years from now. 

Luckily that wouldn't happen… or did it?

Ah, it happened already but I'm over it. But it wasn't during this tour. I just got up immediately. I couldn't let that weigh me down. 

And would you say that's the theme of your life? Falling and getting back up?

Definitely, I'm not afraid to be seen trying, and that's like my whole M.O. because I'm not perfect, and I want that to inspire people. 

I didn't know how to do riffs and runs last year; I had to learn it. I didn't know how to learn choreography in one day, but now I'm doing that. I'm constantly trying, constantly bettering myself, to show people I didn't come perfect. I didn't come knowing any of this, and I had to learn along the way. 

This is me documenting. When I say my age, I want people to be aware that I didn't know anything. I'm just figuring this out. 

What memorable moments do you have from touring?

Singing "Rush," the acoustic version, with my fans. I met this fan that was pregnant and she sent her baby scan and she wanted to let me know she's naming her baby Ayra. I loved it so much, it made me so happy. 

That and just spending time with my team and my friends and being on stage. Every minute of being on stage is very memorable. 

Did you face any challenges while touring and how did you deal with them? 

I'm human at the end of the day, and you get tired, overwhelmed, sick. I had the flu every two business days. I lost my voice. There are a lot of challenges on the road, but we can't let that stop us. 

The thing about touring is that the world isn't stopping for me. I still have my family, my younger sister that wants to talk to me every day, I still have my younger brother. I have friends to keep up with. I have to be a human being outside of this. It's not necessarily a challenge; it's just something I'm aware of, and sometimes it can be hard. 

Is your family happy and proud of you? 

My younger brother makes music with me, so he's literally my partner. I'm also basically on the road with my family. I was with my mum in Paris. I try my best for them to experience it too. 

When I'm not with them, I just feel so guilty. I want my people to feel what I'm feeling; I want them to see the countries too because we all started together. I want them to experience the exact same thing I'm experiencing. I try to spend as much time with them as possible. 

My mum knows every lyric to every song. We were having a conversation, and she was referencing "Ase." I was like "OMG, mummy please, please!" So it's an everyday thing; they're in my life. They're very proud of me, but they're also kinda used to it as well. I feel like everybody expected it to happen. 

You're known for your uplifting and empowering lyrics, but have you found yourself in a situation where you're feeling down and you need a little bit of Ayra? 

Definitely. I do have down and negative times where I'm in my head, I'm tired, or I'm not motivated. So, in a way, it's sort of a selfish thing where I make those songs for myself. I have songs that I make for the future. Music is therapy for me. 

You first went into modeling and then finding music. How proud would little Ayra be of you right now, and how much of all what she experienced made you who you are today? 

She'd definitely be proud, but even right now, when I look back, I'm so proud of little Ayra too. It's because of her that I'm here now. It's because of that 16-year-old girl that didn't give up and kept going. 

I wanted to do modeling because everyone told me I couldn't do it, like I'm not tall enough, and I told them, "watch me." And I ended up doing it. 

How did music come into the fold from modeling? 

I used to do cover [songs] on Instagram. My mum and her friends used to force me to do covers. I uploaded one cover on Instagram —  I didn't even like the video. But something just kept telling me to post it and I did. Not up to 6 hours later, [Marvin Records CEO] Don Jazzy reached out. Three days later, he signed me. 

Your fashion choices are  constantly under scrutiny by fans, particularly by men. Did being constantly bludgeoned with such remarks regarding the male gaze affect you in any way? 

I've always had a mind of my own. Growing up in different places, in different cultures, has shaped my mind. And in spite of all these influences, I'm still myself. I went to a very religious school. I wrote "Asé" when I was 15 — I had no business writing that song. So that gives you a glimpse of the kind of mindset I had at a young age. 

And I still have now. I'm not really bothered about the male, female gaze, or anybody's gaze for that matter, except my own. I'm an artist to the core, and I want my style, my hair, my music, to represent how I feel. I don't really care about aesthetics, it's more about how I feel. 

What was the energy like before and after finding out about your GRAMMY nomination?

I was alone in my hotel room. I remember just speaking to God, asking him to let me be nominated. If I was nominated, I'd be so grateful because I'd know that all my hard work was not in vain. 

This nomination came at one of my low days. I was unmotivated, doubting myself. It was cold, and I was just tired. I was like, I just want rice and stew, abeg. I'm just tired, abeg [meaning please]. Next thing I know, I started getting calls. Tyla sent me a message. So even before I found out, people had started messaging and congratulating me. After I checked, I just knelt down and thanked God. 

Meeting people like David Guetta and Kelly Rowland, both of whom you idolize, must have been an incredible experience. Which encounter was the most memorable for you? 

Everything has been memorable — meeting Kelly, David. Like the Nigerian girl in me wanted to call him Mr. David, but he was like "no Ayra" and I was like "no sir but…." [Laughs.] All these people, they're human beings, and we forget that sometimes. They're regular humans with their lives, making music and doing what they love. 

David was an amazing person. He was so free. After every lyric I recorded, he'd whisk me up in the air. He was so hyped and happy. Then Kelly was like the most amazing human being. I'm so blessed to know her. She is an inspiration to me and everything to me. Even before she recorded the verse, I'd loved her for a long time. 

I don't know how she does it, whenever I'm feeling low or down, she just knows. She'll send me a random message or voice memo telling me to keep going. She's the most amazing human being; I love her so much. She's like my big aunty, she's my friend. She's a friend. 

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

David Guetta Reveals The "Accidents Of Life" That Birthed Hits With Bebe Rexha, Nicki Minaj & More
David Guetta performs at the 2023 Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary.

Photo: Joseph Okpako/WireImage

interview

David Guetta Reveals The "Accidents Of Life" That Birthed Hits With Bebe Rexha, Nicki Minaj & More

With two nominations at the 2024 GRAMMYs, David Guetta is still proving to be one of dance music's stalwarts. Hear from the hit-making producer about how some of his biggest hits with Sia, Kid Cudi and more came to be.

GRAMMYs/Jan 25, 2024 - 07:24 pm

After more than 30 years as a DJ/producer, David Guetta knows the secret to success within dance music.

"What made me famous is to have songs that could be timeless and crossover into the pop world, but are still being played by all the DJs," the French producer says. "It's always a big challenge to do a dance record that every DJ would play, but at the same time would touch the emotions enough so that people that are not in clubs or in festivals would be touched by it. It's that duality that I have to fight every time."

With 14 No. 1 dance hits and two GRAMMYs to his name now — as well as two more nominations at the 2024 GRAMMYs — Guetta flashes a coy smile and says, "I think I've found a few tricks to make it work."

Guetta is one of the inaugural nominees in the new Best Pop Dance Recording Category. He has not one, but two songs in Category: his latest collab with Bebe Rexha, "One In A Million," and his Haddaway-sampling hit with Anne-Marie and Coi Leray, "Baby Don't Hurt Me." 

As the only artist with two nominations in the Category, Guetta's latest GRAMMY nods further solidify his legacy as one of dance music's biggest crossover acts. While he's been making a name for himself since getting his start on the Parisian underground, Guetta broke through to the mainstream U.S. market with his serendipitous collab with Kelly Rowland, "When Love Takes Over," in 2009.

Since then, he's made countless hits for himself and others. He's the in-demand producer behind the Black Eyed Peas' 2009 smash "I Gotta Feeling" who could get Nicki Minaj to sing ("Turn Me On") and Sia to step into the spotlight ("Titanium"), all the while helping to build new talent, such as his frequent collaborator (and current co-nominee) Rexha. 

His latest single is with another pop princess, Kim Petras, a fast-paced dance floor collab titled "When We Were Young" that samples Supertramp's "The Logical Song." Just after making tour stops in South America, Guetta sat down with GRAMMY.com to share the stories behind some of his biggest hits, from his crossover breakthrough with Kelly Rowland to his latest GRAMMY-nominated collab with Bebe Rexha. 

"When Love Takes Over" feat. Kelly Rowland (2009)

Kelly Rowland, I have to give an homage to her because she is the first pop artist that came to me. She was in a club in Cannes where I was playing. All the records I did before that were with this incredible vocalist, Chris Willis. I had some very big dance records, like "Love is Gone" for example. That was really massive in our culture, but I never worked with a big famous pop artist.

So, I'm in Cannes DJing, and I play the instrumental of "When Love Takes Over," and Kelly comes to the DJ booth and asks me, "What is this record?" I said, "It's just a beat I made," and she said, "I really like it. Can I try to write something on it?" 

Crazy, right? I have so much respect for her. I'm grateful to her for life because to go to a DJ that you don't even know, hear a beat and spot that it is a hit? That's big! 

We did this collab, and the record went to No. 1 in the U.K. and charted in 30 countries or something crazy, and this was the first step for me into a big crossover. Right after that, I had "Sexy B—" with Akon, and that was massive and very influential. One of the most influential records I've made, I think. 

"Sexy B—" feat. Akon (2009)

I'm in the U.K. at BBC One radio performing "When Love Takes Over" with Kelly Rowland. Akon is performing after me, and he says "Ah, it's you! You also did 'Love is Gone.' I love those records. Let's do something," so I booked at Metropolis in London that same night. I bring him to the studio, and we did "Sexy B—" that night.

In this industry, it's a lot about "You're only as good as your last hit," so many people basically look at the top 10 say, "Okay, let's work with this guy because it's current." I was never too much like that. I'm just looking for talent, really, and the accidents of life. Because if you look at all my biggest hits, they happen by accident.

Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" (2009)

Dance music is not usually the main leading genre. You have more pop or hip-hop, some moments it was rock, but dance was always more niche. At the same time, it has a huge influence on pop. I've seen an interesting phenomenon, though: Every time there's a major crisis and people are really stressed and suffering, dance music rises.

At the end of the 2008 financial crisis that was so tough on people, I produced "I Gotta Feeling" for Black Eyed Peas, and it was like a revolution at this time. Everyone was like, "What is this?" and then from one day to the other, every radio was playing dance music all day. 

Now, we're in the second time. We've just gotten out of COVID, we have the war in Ukraine and Russia. "I Gotta Feeling" was such a happy song, which is not what I do usually, and again, now, "I'm Good (Blue)" is having the same type of moment. I think dance music has the power to help people forget everything, just live in the moment and feel good. 

"Memories" feat. Kid Cudi (2010)

"Memories" with Kid Cudi is also funny to see how everything is connected — because in the case of "Memories," I'm shooting the video of "I Got A Feeling" with Black Eyed Peas. One of the cameos of the video is Kid Cudi, and I'm also a cameo in the video. I was like, "Oh wow, you're Kid Cudi? I love your work! We should do something together," and boom. We book the studio the day after, and we have "Memories.

"Titanium" feat. Sia (2011)

Titanium was a similar situation. Sia was a very cool and very respected artist, but she was not a big pop artist. Funnily enough, at the time, she decided to stop being an artist and just be a songwriter.

We were working together as a producer and a songwriter for another artist, but when I heard her voice on that record, I was like, "It's impossible. No one is going to be able to sing like this." I literally begged her to stay on the record, and she was like, "Look, I'll do it, but I don't want to do any interviews. I don't want to do a video. I don't want to do tours. I don't want to do any of it." I'm like, "Okay, no problem. Just give me your voice."

After it was released, she became a huge artist. I remember being in the studio with her after "Titanium," and she would receive messages from Rihanna and Beyoncé fighting for her songs. It was really crazy, really incredible. She became one of the most respected artists on the planet. 

"Hey Mama" feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack (2015)

I have a long history with Bebe, and we started to work together with "Hey Mama." It's a funny story because I had the sample, and I had Nicki's rap, and I felt the sample was my chorus. It took me two years to understand that the sample needed to be the post, and I needed a real chorus. Imagine spending two years on a record. I was going crazy!*

I knew it was a hit, but it was not totally there. I realized I needed to push the chorus back, make it a post and play some chords.

When you are in the studio, there's studio A, B, C and D — and the door of Studio D was open. I heard this crazy voice, and I come in the door like, "Wow, who's singing?" That was Bebe! She was not an artist yet, but a songwriter. She was writing with a friend of mine and asked, "Can you guys try something on this hook that makes me suffer so much?" In 15 minutes, they wrote the hook. It was insane.

In the middle of the record being released, she asked to feature on the record because she wanted to start an artist career of her own. We changed the credit, then she became a big artist. 

"I'm Good (Blue)" with Bebe Rexha (2022)

Funnily enough, we made this song four years before the release. I was living in London at the time, and Bebe texted me, "I'm going to be in London. Do you want to do something?"

We were writing in the studio, and just for the vibe, we tried that idea. Honestly, I don't use many samples — maybe only three records in my career — but I was like, "Imagine bringing back that happy vibe, it would be so much fun, and those chords are so good." 

So we did it, and honestly, no one believed in it. Still, as a DJ, I try to only play my own productions, so I made a festival version with that exact hook, and I played it at a festival. A few years later, someone sampled it, used it on TikTok, and it was a huge hit. Bebe texted me like, "Do you know what's happening on TikTok?" 

She showed me and she's like, "You got maximum two weeks to finish the record." So I finished the record! 

Two days before it was released, I played it at a festival in the U.K., and everyone was singing all the words. I could not believe it. The record was not out! Usually it's a struggle to build a record, sending it to DJs and to have the support of radio and streaming platforms. Now, it was already a hit before it was out. That's crazy!

"Baby Don't Hurt Me" with Anne-Marie and Coi Leray (2023)

I did this as a follow-up to "I'm Good (Blue)," digging in the classic dance music records from the '90s and 2000s. To be completely honest, I come from house music, and at that time, I would not play Euro dance records. I would be like, "Oh, this is so cheesy." But with life experience, you learn to respect the melodies. I look at it in a very different way, because I'm probably less snobbish with age.

I think a lot of producers are obsessed with technicalities and get caught on "Oh, I found this special way of side-chaining reverb and panning it." At the end of the day, if you have a melody, you can go up against the best-sounding record in the world and always win. 

Those huge Euro records from that time had massive melodies, and "What is Love?" That record is insane! A lot of my ideas for songs come from my DJ sets, and I was playing a mashup of "What Is Love?" and I could see everyone was screaming as much as when I play "Titanium" or those massive records. 

At the same time, Max Lousada, who's the head of Warner Music Group, hooked me up with Ed Sheeran. He also loved "I'm Good." I have this crazy video of him jumping on stage with me when I'm playing it and going absolutely crazy. I was so honored because this guy is such a genius. Ed was like, "Let's have fun," and then we wrote a few songs. I have a few weapons to put out in the year to come, and one of the songs was "Baby Don't Hurt Me." He wrote the verses. 

Anne-Marie is my friend, and she is very good friends with Ed Sheeran. We'd been talking about making a record, the three of us, so I called her. She's one of the most fun people I know, and most down to Earth. So easy to work with, so I had two verses from her. 

Then one day, another crazy accident! I made a remix for Coi Leray of the song "Players" — I was in L.A., and I felt it was cooler to play it for her in the studio where she was recording her album. So I go to the studio and play the remix, and she goes absolutely crazy. She jumps on the table and starts to dance. It was such a vibe, so positive. 

She's like, "David, why don't you stay with us? We have two more days to finish the album." I'm like, "Of course," and there I am making hip-hop beats. We did a few records, one of them being "Make My Day" with a sample of "Pump the Jam" for her album. And we did another one with a sample of James Brown called "Man's World." I really love that record. 

So I produce those two records with Coi, and I'm like, "Can we do a swap? Can you do a verse on my record?" And that's how she did "Don't Hurt Me." If I had asked the record company, it probably would never have happened. You need to give to receive. 

I didn't go to the studio thinking I'm gonna ask her that. I just did it because I thought she was amazing and I was super happy to help her with the album. I'm sure she's going to be a massive artist, and she jumped on my record. 

"One In A Million" with Bebe Rexha (2023)

[Bebe and I] have this special relationship together. I think she's extremely talented. The job I respect the most in our industry is songwriting, and she's a great songwriter. She can sing, but she can write too. That is a different level of looking up to [someone].

"One in a Million" is a little more my traditional style, with a piano arpeggio and a beautiful song. I loved the record from the first second. It has a little bit of a Coldplay vibe that I really love. A lot of people say it feels a little bit like what I did with Kelly Rowland with "When Love Takes Over." It's not the same chords, but it's a feeling, let's say. 

I'm hoping for the best [at the GRAMMYs]. It would be amazing if we could win, for me but also for her. I really want her to win, because I think she's so talented. She deserves the win. 

How Rising Dance Star Dom Dolla Remixed The Gorillaz & Brought Nelly Furtado Back To The Dance Floor

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Dance Music
(From left) Dom Dolla, David Guetta, Charli XCX, Charlotte de Witte, Eliza Rose

Photos: Barry Brecheisen/WireImage, Karwai Tang/WireImage, Matthew Baker/Getty Images, Pablo Gallardo/Redferns, Kate Green/Getty Images

list

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Dance Music

From nostalgia-tinged bangers and genre-blurring releases made by women, to massive tours and high-tech performances, dance music was expansive as ever in 2023.

GRAMMYs/Dec 29, 2023 - 05:03 pm

As any fan can attest, dance music is a broad church spanning myriad micro-genres, fan communities and city-specific scenes. The genre’s reach was as wide as ever in 2023, stretching from the biggest festival stages to the most intimate clubs, with variations in moods and beats-per-minute to suit all tastes. 

Nostalgia for rave’s ‘90s heyday was everywhere, fueling big-name releases and underground club sets alike. [Surprise supergroups](https://www.grammy.com/news/coachella-2023-weekend-2-recap-skrillex-four-tet-fred-again-gorillaz-bad-bunny-eric-pyrdz-performances-surprises-video) and [long-time collaborators](https://www.grammy.com/news/skrillex-fred-again-friendship-timeline-collaborations-videos) hit big in 2023, while albums from [James Blake](https://www.grammy.com/artists/james-blake/17760), [the Chemical Brothers](https://www.grammy.com/artists/chemical-brothers/7746), Disclosure and Everything But The Girl showed there’s still power in the electronic LP format. 

With festivals and DJ touring schedules back to a pre-COVID pace, dance music also enjoyed a busy year on the road. Across North America, [ILLENIUM](https://www.grammy.com/artists/Illenium/38165), G Jones, ZHU and ODESZA (not to mention Beyoncé’s house music-indebted Renaissance tour) sold out venues across the country. In a genre that can feel impossible to get your arms around, these five trends were undeniable in 2023. 

Everything Old Was New Again

Wherever you looked this year, DJ-producers were reaching back to the racing sounds of trance, rave and Eurodance that dominated dancefloors in the ‘90s and early 2000s. David Guetta and Calvin Harris spent 2023 memorably mining this past — the latter’s "Desire," featuring Sam Smith, could be ripped straight from a decades-old pop-trance compilation. 

Meanwhile, South Korean DJ-producer Peggy Gou released "(It Goes Like) Nanana," a dance-pop earworm with shades of ATB’s late ‘90s hit, "9PM (Till I Come)." Already a hugely popular draw as a DJ, Gou’s time-warping groover became her first Billboard chart entry and ignited buzz for her debut artist album, expected in 2024. 

On the less commercial spectrum, European producers like DJ Heartstring, Narciss and Marlon Hoffstadt continued to contextualize vintage sounds for a new audience. Meanwhile, a cluster of Dutch DJs, most notably Job Jobse, Young Marco and KI/KI, played throwback anthem-fuelled sets on festival stages usually reserved for steely techno, including at Dekmantel and Time Warp. 

For some DJs, looking back to the past meant embracing the fast and furious tempos of hardstyle and hard dance, two subgenres with passionate niche followings but little mainstream crossover. Continuing a trend from 2022, speedier BPMs were very much in vogue, as DJs kept pace with fans demanding a harder, faster workout. 

Women Danced To The Front 

Many of the year’s most invigorating and genre-blurring releases were made by women. Having built a steady career as a producer and singer, Kenya Grace broke out in 2023 with "Strangers," which caught fire on TikTok and converted new fans via a sleek mix of pop, drum & bass and Grace’s hushed vocals. Peggy Gou’s aforementioned "(It Goes Like) Nanana," also captured the TikTok zeitgeist with a widely-viewed video of Gou teasing the single for a dancefloor in Morocco. 

Electronic chameleon [Charli XCX](https://www.grammy.com/artists/charli-xcx/18360) stayed squarely in the limelight, following 2022’s stellar *Crash* with the one-two punch of "In The City" featuring Sam Smith and "Speed Drive"(from *Barbie the Album*, which is nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media alongside *AURORA*, *Weird: The Al Yankovic Story*, *Black Panther: Wakanda Forever- Music From And Inspired By*, and *Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3: Awesome Mix*). Meanwhile, two of the year’s standout albums came from women coloring outside the lines of their best-known projects: the xx vocalist Romy’s *Mid Air* embraced her queerness through euphoric dance-pop, while Aluna (of electronic duo AlunaGeorge) blossomed as a solo artist and activist on her second album, *MYCELiUM*

While dance music’s ranks remained largely white and male in 2023, undeniable albums from the likes of Jayda G, PinkPanthress and Róisín Murphy were a welcome counterbalance. 

UK Bass Got Bombastic

Following the runaway success of Eliza Rose and Interplanetary Criminal’s 2022 UK garage-tinged house anthem "B.O.T.A. (Baddest of Them All)" the previous year, British bass music continued to shine in 2023. 

While still relatively niche in the U.S., the UK garage (UKG) and bassline subgenres that thrived in the Y2K era found a new generation of British converts, thanks to releases like Interplanetary Criminal’s *All Thru The Night* and Conducta’s *In Transit* EP. Elsewhere, acclaimed British singer/songwriter Jorja Smith tapped her UKG roots on the irresistible single "Little Things." 

Welsh duo Overmono weaved garage textures into their accomplished debut album, *Good Lies*, and rounded out the year with a powerful Boiler Room live set from Manchester’s Warehouse Project. The set and album cemented their bona fides as the UK’s next dance festival headliner. 

The many mutations of UK bass music shone bright all year in DJ sets from the likes of Anz, Nia Archives, Jyoty and Joy Anonymous. (The latter’s near-three-hour set with Austrian producer salute and New Jersey-born garage godfather Todd Edwards at Amsterdam Dance Event captured the jubilant mix of house and UKG that was dominant this year.) 

Bringing it full circle, Eliza Rose parlayed the success of "B.O.T.A." into a collaboration with Calvin Harris on this year’s housey "Body Moving," which started with the pair exchanging Instagram DMs. 

Technology Upped The Ante

In a year where artificial intelligence and rapid technological advancement were burning topics, a wave of dance music artists found new ways to embrace the future. 

The possibilities of technology to enhance live performance were on full display in two raved-about Coachella sets. Swedish veteran [Eric Prydz](https://www.grammy.com/artists/eric-prydz/5679) brought his HOLO show to the California festival, deploying cutting-edge tech to create giant holographic images that extend over the crowd. Meanwhile, inside the festival's Sahara Tent, melodic techno duo Tale Of Us completed their transition to EDM crowd-pleasers with a full-scale audiovisual spectacle that explored themes of robot-human connection. (One half of the duo, Matteo Milleri, is also all-in on NFTs.) 

Meanwhile, techno favorite Nicole Moudaber debuted an AV show in which her own movements control a towering digital avatar. The year also saw big-name DJs embracing the metaverse — from Carl Cox playing a set in the Sensorium Galaxy to Swedish House Mafia joining the Roblox platform — in a trend that’s sure to carry into 2024. 

Techno & Techno-House Go Center Stage

Continuing a trend from 2022, big room techno and tech-house muscled onto U.S. festival stages usually reserved for EDM anthems. In particular, tech-house — which in 2023 sounds a world away from the raw UK club records that birthed the subgenre — cemented its place in the mainstream with Fisher and Chris Lake’s back-to-back set at Coachella’s Outdoor Theatre. (Later in the year, the pair shut down Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles for an epic street party.) 

Both coming off a star-making 2022, tech-house mischief-makers John Summit and Dom Dolla leveled up with bigger shows and feverish fan followings. Meanwhile, Belgian sensation Charlotte de Witte became the techno artist booked on the Ultra Miami main stage, scheduled incongruously alongside the likes of Zedd and Afrojack, while in Europe, techno specialists Amelie Lens and Nina Kraviz were given the same honor (and challenge) for a sprawling crowd at Tomorrowland. 

Whether mining the past or accelerating into the future, the dance/electronic genre never stood still this year, setting the stage for a thrilling 2024.  

[2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Pop Music](https://www.grammy.com/news/pop-music-trends-2023-year-in-review-taylor-swift-sza)