“In my music I like to keep it happy,” says the Norwegian DJ and record producer Kygo, whose upbeat yet chilled-out music has found fans around the globe. “There’s so much going on the world. People need to get away from everything, think about something else. Maybe they’re having a bad day, then they decide to listen to some happy songs – it can change their mood around.”
This philosophy has fueled international stardom for Kygo. He started making electronic music with a MIDI keyboard and the production software Logic Studio when he was a teenager. His breakout track, a remix of the Ed Sheeran song “I See Fire,” has been played more than 50 million times on SoundCloud and YouTube since its release in 2013.
Soon after that breakout success, he racked up more than 1 billion streams on Spotify in just 12 months, making him the fastest to achieve that level of popularity. He also performed at the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics in Rio – the first house music producer to receive that honor.
“I’m mostly inspired by music,” Kygo says. “There might be some elements in a song, or a melody or chord progression that I suddenly get super inspired by. And so it’s mostly other artists and music in general that inspires me.”
In some ways, Kygo’s creative process hasn’t changed much over the years. “The way I produce,” he says, “I have my keyboard, a MacBook, and software on my computer.”
The big shift is that throughout his career, the technology has gotten better and better. “I’ve been producing for seven years. The main thing that’s changed is the computers are better,” he attests. “In the beginning my computer was crashing all the time because the processors weren’t big and quick enough to handle big projects. These days you basically just need a laptop.”
Kygo recently finished a busy tour schedule with dates in Ibiza, Zurich, Norway and Las Vegas. Though he wouldn’t reveal the details, Kygo hints that he’ll be releasing new music soon. Get ready to start streaming.