Everybody loves dancing to the beat of the DJ. Perhaps DJs are the most electrifying breed of musicians to have ever stepped on stage. All they need is a few seconds to get the crowd jumping on their feet and dancing away wildly. A casual listener would tell you that almost all the DJs in the world sound more or less the same. It is true that differentiating and classifying DJs is quite a steep task for people who are not well acquainted with electronic music. At the end of the day, no one actually listens to DJ tracks without dancing to its rhythm. People don’t usually critique the music of DJs like they would assess other genres of music. However with that being said, there is absolutely no denying that certain DJs are far better than others. They are superior in creativity and display far greater exuberance. Also, DJs who are able to break away from the stereotypical confines of electronic music and blend their art with mainstream/commercial music are the ones that are able to connect with the general listeners more, and hence attain greater success. Being a top DJ is not always about dishing out one mix after the other. It’s about creating revolutionary, unheard and edgy music of the highest quality, and then holding on to that quality brass ring for as long as possible. It’s also about touring the world and spreading the seeds of your brilliance to every corner of the globe. It’s about creating waves in the music industry and making your presence felt in every household. When you take all these criteria into consideration, there is perhaps only one DJ in the world who scores a ten out of ten in each and every single one of these fields. You have probably heard his name before. For those of you who haven’t, his name is Hardwell.
Hardwell’s birth name is Robbert van de Corput. He was born in 7 January 1998 in the city of Breda in Netherlands. This was also the place where he was raised. He became attached with the classical piano at a tender age of just six. What’s even more surprising is that he began to the learn the art of DJing even before he was a teenager at the age of 12. It was clear from that moment onwards that this young boy would go on to make disk jockeying an integral part of his life. It was his dream as a young boy to be the greatest DJ of all time. Robbert wasn’t just a day dreamer. He did everything that he could to make sure that we has well prepared to tackle the challenges of the world of DJs. He left no stone unturned in turning his dream into a reality. His inspiration to become a DJ was kindle when he was 11 years old. At that time, he came across a documentary on DJs on Dutch MTV. The documentary highly impressed him and it planted the seeds of motivation in his heart. This may sound astounding to many people, but by the time Robbert had reached his teens, he was signed to his first record label. He started working semi-professionally at 14. Well known clubs across Netherlands were in pursuit of the services of the young, emerging, super-talented DJ. He was at a slight disadvantage when working at these clubs. His parents had to be present at all times since he was way too young to be legally inside the clubs that he was playing at. It was a pretty strange situation, and one may say that the clubs are at fault for exploiting a boy of 14. Then again, if a person is really good at something, then age should not be a barrier. He was child prodigy, and he was fortunate enough to latch on to the profession of Djing at a very young age. His teenage experience of working in clubs pretty much gave him a head start for his career. Other than working as a DJ, he was also striving to expand his knowledge and expertise on music by attending a music oriented school and the Rock Academy. He spent three months at the Rock Academy, and in that duration he was able to impress his mentors to such an extent that they asked him to forget about wasting his time unnecessarily training himself and make a bee line for the big leagues in the music industry. Tiesto, who is one of the most recognizable figures in the world of DJs, is Robbert’s most influential inspiration and his most adored mentor. As he stepped into the stage of the big boys, little Robbert came to be known as Hardwell.
Hardwell made his re-mixing debut in the year 2003. He did so by creating his own version of The Underdog Project’s Summer Jam 2003. There was a gap of 4 years, when Hardwell was the least active in his career. This was basically the period in his life when he was struggling to make a name for himself and to live up to the expectations that others had of him. In 2007, he released another remix. This time, it was of the stadium techno act Scooter. It was in the same year that he collaborated with DJ Greatski on the track “Never Knew Love”. These were mere flashes in the pan as compared to what Hardwell had in store in the years to come. 2009 was perhaps the year when people started turning their head towards this ultra talented music maker. His bootleg of “Show Me Love vs Be” was a huge success. This track was basically a mash-up of two other popular songs by the name of Show Me Love and “Be”. Hardwell employed a great strategy to draw the attention towards him. Just goes to show you that talent alone does not suffice at all times. Success requires a certain degree of smartness, and Hardwell had plenty of that.
To give his music a better platform to shine, Hardwell formed his own music label by the name of Revealed Recordings in the year 2010. Through this record label, he was able to released his highly anticipated annual compilation album called “Hardwell presents Revealed”. This album was basically a collection of the best tracks to have been released by Revealed Recordings in that particular year.
2011 was the year of “Hardwell on Air”. Hardwell decided to spread his talent to the world of radio. “Hardwell on Air” basically served as his own radio show and podcast. As the radio show of a DJ (who aren’t exactly the most popular musicians in the world), “Hardwell on Air” reached unimaginable heights as it was broadcast on various international radio stations. Everybody wanted to listen to Hardwell and his tracks. As for the podcast, it has secured a placed in the top 10 list of podcasts in a number of countries. It was in this year that Hardwell made a rocking entry into the DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJs annual poll. He made his debut at #24. More success was to follow in the years to come.
Two really big things happened in the career of Hardwell in 2012. First, his track, “Spaceman” was released as a solo original. To say that this track was a monumental success would be an understatement. In simple terms, it was his top seller with more bootlegs, remixes and sets than anything else that he had come up with before. The second event that took his career by storm was his performance at the main stage of Tomorrowland. It is the most watched DJ set on Youtube for a year. That alone gives you a clear idea of how amazing his performance was. Courtesy of these two big breaks of 2012, he pushed his ranking up to #6 in the DJ Magazine’s annual poll. Also, he was labelled as an EDM artists to watch by MTV.
2013 and 2014
In 2013, he successfully carried out two huge nationwide tours. The first was named “Hardwell presents Revealed: Canadian Bus Tour”. The second was called “Go Hardwell or Go Home” which took place in several cities in the United States. He also returned to the main stage of the Ultra Music Festival after having fired up the crowd in the previous edition. His performance here surpassed his tally of 21 million Youtube views that he had set at Tomorrowland. On the back the success that he was enjoying in 2014, Hardwell decided to launch a global tour by the name of “I Am Hardwell” world tour. In 2013, he became the youngest DJ ever to reach the highly coveted #1 position in the DJ Magazine’s annual poll. He was only 25 years old at that time. He has been on the throne ever since. His magnificence continued in the year 2014 with feats such as the release of the music video of “Young Again”.