An Open Letter to Tim Bergling (Avicii)
When looking back on life as a fan Music, there are many instances I can identify as pivotal turning points in my fandom. From “The Marshall Mathers LP” to Nas’ “Ether” the early years my ear buds revolved around the hard production and lyrical masterpieces put out by Hip-Hop icons. I remember walking down the hall my elementary and middle schools blaring Slim Shady through my yellow Sony Walkman, looking like an outcast as kids talked about their after-school activities and recess. Music has always provided an escape from the world and one pull up my headphones tuned out the world around me. Playing and failing at the Cello and Trumpet at a young age, the music stayed with me as I was more an athlete than a musician. One thing is for certain, I lived through melodies more than I socialized with my peers.
I was fairly sheltered from the world Electronic music early on, not due to my parents controlling my music intake, but simply because I hadn't discovered it. I remember a date vaguely as I walked the halls my High School in late 2010. At this point my headphones were in my backpack and I took to some chatter with fellow soccer teammates. As we walked down the hall I heard music playing quietly from one the music rooms. I paused and walked into the room to see the music teacher sitting at her desk listening to some mesmerizing sound I had never heard before. I remember 15-year-old me being so entranced by the sound and thus stirred up my first conversation ever with said teacher. “What is this”, a weird way to introduce yourself to someone but she responded, “It’s interesting right? This is a producer from Europe by the name Tim Berg, it is called “Seek Bromance”.” I turned without a reply and walked out the room, so polite, I know. Later that night I got home and started looking this “Tim Berg” up and played “Seek Bromance” again. At the time everything was Hip-Hop, in the locker room, at parties, everything was Hip-Hop. From Jay-Z to Eminem to throwback Biggy and Tupac, the world was captivated by lyricism and hard production. Though that has never really changed, this Tim Berg was bringing a sound we had never heard before. That night, I burned a CD Tim’s early stuff and carried it with me through the hallways as I became thoroughly taken over by the melodies.
When the name change occurred and “Levels” dropped, I knew something big was coming. How could a guy come out nowhere like this and essentially single-handedly flip the music industry on its head? From Eminem to Avicii, the pre-sport game music changed from lyrically infused bangers to melodically mastered production.
When I got to college is really when EDM started taking f with Tiesto changing his sound, to David Guetta dropping banger after banger and Avicii’s continued dominance the industry. Frat parties and pre-games were taken over by the melodies that I had been exposed to years prior and at first, I was a bit shaken up. I felt as though this was something I had to myself, that the masses had not discovered yet, it was my thing, my escape.
Years later, having seen the man nearly 8 times, I found out Avicii was retiring from touring. I IMMEDIATELY (literally within 5 minutes) booked a flight to Las Vegas without having anyone to go with, knowing where I would stay or if I would be approved for the time f. I hit up a friend and got linked up with a guy in Vegas for access to XS to see the legend perform one last time. Luckily, I identified a few friends that were down to take the plunge. We got to Vegas, one friend missed his flight, we showed up to the club and there was a door hold as we had our connecting flight delayed. Luckily our connection pulled his magic out and got us in front the line and we caught the last 15 minutes Avicii’s set. He closed out the show with “Seek Bromance”. Two days after returning home, he announced he was canceling the rest his Vegas tour dates. My heart was broken for the guy as I knew he was fighting demons that had a grip on his mind, body, and soul. I felt such an emotional connection to this guy that I had never met as he has unknowingly taken over my life as a Music junkie.
I was driving back to work from a Lunch meeting last week and I got a text from a friend saying Avicii had passed away. In honesty, I didn’t think it was real for a second and true story as Hollywood death hoaxes have become so regular, I continued on my way and put on “Bromance” continuing to drive. Seconds later, and a message came through in our EDM Sauce Facebook chat and I pulled over. It was a moment I will never forget much like the moment I first heard the sound that very same track. As a handful more texts came through, I sat there on the side I-91 and looked in my mirror at a face that looked as if I had just lost a childhood friend. I then proceeded to burst into tears as “Bromance” came to an end seeming as though the cords were saying goodbye.
People have their opinions about Electronic music and they’re entitled to that. People have their opinions about you, Tim, that you were heavily depressed, overworked, not into live performing some even saying you had addiction beyond repair. The music industry is a taxing one and my only wish is that the friends you surrounded yourself with pushed you to be the best TIM possible. There can be a Tim Bergling without Avicii, but there cannot be an Avicii without Tim Bergling. I hope you always remained Tim to your peers. Watching your documentary made me sick, brought tears to my eyes and made me contemplate personally trying to reach out to fer you help. Money is a dangerous thing. I hope you found love in your life as Tim and were able to love the Tim that we all saw through the lasers and O2. In your life, you accomplished what millions aspire to do. You changed the world.
If you take anything away from the passing Tim let it be this. Tim was the MAIN REASONS that EDM is what it is today. As a matter fact, he is one the main reasons the Music Industry as a whole is where it is today. Completely consumed by the electronic touch, feel and sound. Turning on the radio and listening to tracks by Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, DJ Khaled, Bruno Mars, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Akon, The Chainsmokers, Zedd, Tiesto really anyone, the influence that this guy brought many years back is simply undeniable. His sound lives on in EVERY hit track playing today whether you agree with that or not it’s a condition this guy’s groundwork. His sound captivated the world and influenced so many the musicians and producers that we are listening to today, even if they don’t directly realize it. Tim, not Avicii is responsible for this. Avicii is a stage name, Tim was the genious.
To your family and loved ones, all that I can say is you are the luckiest people on this earth to have been able to know and love this man. Though he is gone, just know that he changed more lives than you will ever know. He will live forever in our mind, body and soul. His legacy is that an Icon that changed the world with his own two hands.
To Tim, my first and last words to you I know you’re out there, I never met you, I never came within 15 feet you, but, as you look down upon us today just know, to us, you will never “Fade into Darkness”. Rest easy you f***ing legend.
“As long as human beings are alive on this planet, you will forever remain an inspiration.” -Skrillex
Thank you, Tim for forever changing my life and exposing me to this magical world that is Electronic Dance Music.