In anticipation of his debut album, Alesso has been making waves in music news promoting "Heroes" – the first single from his upcoming album, featuring the bewitching Tove Lo. In collaboration with Def Jam Records, the Swedish producer will be releasing the album early in 2015.
It appears that the formula to success in the dance music industry is anyone's guess these days. With artists like Alesso finding massive international success years before ever releasing anything resembling a studio album, I can't even imagine the success he will find after this album drops. If "Heroes" is merely an indicator of what to expect from the album, we should all expect to be blown away. Alesso claims that he will finally get the chance to showcase who he really is creatively in this album, so you better be paying attention.
As Alesso first stole the spotlight with his early remixes and originals – including collaborations with Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia, Calvin Harris, and Dirty South – he has also developed quite the reputation for delivering stellar sets at some of the world's largest music festivals. Some say that Alesso owes his current level of success to the push that he received from the Swedish House Mafia, who had taken him under their proverbial wing while mentoring him in the ways of Swedish house music early in his career. Although that doesn't appear to have hurt him at all, Alesso has clearly done quite well in filling the void in Swedish dance music that SHM left when they disbanded.
We recently got to catch up with Alesso in between studio sessions. Read below to see what he had to say about balancing the major labels with his creative voice and how he identifies closely with all of his fans.
EARMILK: How did growing up in Sweden shape your interest in dance music and your career?
Alesso: I really grew up listening to it and watching it online. It wasn't nearly as big as it is today. I was YouTube-ing all of the shows and listening to everything, but there wasn't really any dance scene there at the time. But living in Sweden has definitely shaped me in the way I produce and the types of music that I enjoy.
EM: Who are some of the artists that you grew up listening to?
A: Michael Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, you know, those kind of artists.
EM: Did you ever think you would be making music or be the face of dance music like you are today?
A: When I first heard dance music, I was really sure that I was going to work with it in some way. I was so in love with it from the first minute I heard it. It was like an explosion in my heart. I had never heard anything like it before. It was amazing.
EM: What was something trying that you went through at the beginning of your career?
A: There are new challenges everyday in this kind of job. With all of the stress and the pressure you put on yourself, you're constantly trying to fulfill all of these goals you set for yourself. I will also challenge myself when it comes to new projects like my shows, my records, you name it. I guess I face a different challenge everyday, but I just have to remind myself that this is my passion and that I'm doing it for fun, not just for work.
EM: The market for producers is very different now than when you started out, do you have any advice for the new guys starting out?
A: I guess for anything in your life, if you want something bad enough, you have to push every moment. Whether you want to become a DJ or a producer, a songwriter or whatever, it's about pushing yourself all the time. You have to believe in yourself. Don't waste your time on people or things that aren't good for you or that aren't important. You have to focus and just do it, like Nike says (laughs).
That's the best advice I can give because that's what I've always been doing.
EM: You recently released your track "Heroes", what was different about making that track for you? It seems to be the most radio-friendly song you've made.
A: I think it was the magic that Tove Lo and I had in the studio. It just sort of happened. We both were coming from the same page of what we wanted to achieve with the record. It just went super quick and we were very happy with the results. I think it was the first time I've worked with someone else and the results turned out so great so quickly. I think that people can really hear it in the record that we had a great time making it.
It's about how something ordinary can become extraordinary and also that in life, some of the most memorable moments you have are the ones that you share with others. I think it is a song that can inspire others. I think that those are maybe the reasons why people like it.
EM: What can you tell us about the music you've got coming in the near future?
A: I've got my debut album coming out with Def Jam in the first part of 2015. It's all very exciting, because this is my first album. I get to really show who I am through my music. This is a whole new world and I get to musically deliver a little more than I've ever shown before.
It's an honest album, that's for sure. It dives into how music basically saved my life.
EM: You've found international success in a world where every part of the world is listening to a different style of dance music. What do you think is your biggest appeal to all of your fans?
A: I feel so connected with my fans, I really do. I feel like I know them. When I'm doing these shows, I don't feel like I'm the entertainer. I think that they hear the music the same way that I listen to it. I think that is the magic, really.
EM: At this level of success, how do you manage to maintain your own creative vision in your music with that of all the major labels you've worked with?
A: You have to believe in yourself and make the music that you believe in. You have to always be honest with yourself. If you don't like it, then how will anyone else like it?
EM: Any closing remarks for readers?
A: Definitely a huge thank you to all of you that are supporting the record and making me the happiest person in the world!