World-renowned DJ David Guetta turns 50 | Music | DW | 07.11.2017
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Music

World-renowned DJ David Guetta turns 50

His birthday is November 7, but David Guetta has been celebrating with his fans all year round at the biggest electro festivals of the world. Now 50, he certainly doesn't plan to stop partying.

Being a DJ can be a lonely profession, even when you are surrounded by thousands of fans: On stage, David Guetta is accompanied only by a DJ mixer. It gets better for him in the studio, where he brings known and unknown musicians and singers together and produces one hit after the other.

He is one of the longest-working DJs, and even though he is turning 50 on November 7, he can still compete with newcomers such as Felix Jaehn or Martin Garrix. From Berlin to Tokyo, from Ibiza to Miami, he is a regular headliner of the world's most popular electronic dance music festivals, such as "Tomorrowland," "Parookaville" and many more. 

Usually, DJs have to beg music stars to work with them, but it works the other way round with Guetta. Snoop Dogg, Sia, Kelly Rowland, Fergie, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Rihanna — that is just a fragment of Guetta's collaborations featured on his "Guetta Blaster" greatest hits album. 

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Leading the party since the age of 14

Guetta held his first parties in his parents' basement when he was 14. He mixed the music so well that soon he was on everybody's lips in Paris. When he turned 17, he was allowed to play in trendy Parisian clubs. He outgrew them soon, establishing a few of his own. He then rose to global prominence in Pancha, the world-famous club on the Spanish party island of Ibiza where the best DJs go to compete. 

Even though he had already produced several successful songs, the breakthrough came with his album "One Love" in 2009. It included the hit "I Got a Feeling" co-created with Will.i.am from the band Black Eyed Peas. 

The song became number 1 for both the DJ and the group. 

In the top 10 with Guetta

After that stars began to line up to work with the French DJ. Everything Guetta touched reached gold or platinum. He even scored major music awards including two Grammys. 

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He has published six studio albums so far with total sales exceeding eight million copies. But that is not all: his most successful single, "Sexy Bitch," sold more than 6.4 million copies worldwide in 2009, and countless remix albums and compilations have made him one of the most successful DJs in the world.

Not a 'techno DJ'

Although David Guetta's music speaks to millions of fans, he is not particularly popular in the "real" electronic music circles who accuse him of being too mainstream. Some techno music clubs even refuse to play his songs, saying that his "electronic dance music" cannot be taken seriously.

UEFA EURO 2016 David Guetta (Getty Images/C. Rose)

David Guetta at the opening of the UEFA Euro 2016

When Guetta kicked off the European Football Championship in France in 2016, he was even ridiculed by many for the official anthem "This One's For You" he composed, which featured singer Zara Larsson. Many viewers said they would have preferred to see "real musicians" instead of a man with a DJ booth, and memes with photos of Guetta overwritten with "I pressed 'Play'!" went viral. 

'Nothing But The Beat'

A documentary movie "Nothing But The Beat" about Guetta's journey from a club DJ to an international superstar was released in 2011. It showed Guetta's life on stage and in hotel rooms, production studios and clubs.

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"Sometimes I wake up and just don't know where I am," he said in the movie. "But I simply live my daily routine. I work on beats during the day and play at night. I really enjoy my audience who go out at night and completely disconnect from the reality of their hard lives by partying," he added. 

He does not do anything unusual to get into the right mood before a gig. He just likes to romp around for a half an hour before the show and then takes a few minutes to calm down in an empty room.

But he's learned not to relax too much: Once he had to interrupt a tour because he had forgotten his USB stick on which his set was stored. That shouldn't happen again. 

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