Does Avicii Sing? The "Wake Me Up" Artist Has a Big Secret
NBC's iHeartRadio Music Awards has its inaugural ceremony Thursday evening. In the weeks leading up to the freshman awards show, fans of today's hottest music got the chance to use Twitter to narrow down each field of 10 nominees to a group of five finalists. Among those finalists is ubiquitous EDM artist Avicii, nominated twice for his song "Wake Me Up" (for Best EDM Song and Best Lyrics). But there's a bit of confusion swirling around this enigmatic, oddly-monikered artist. Depending on which Avicii song you're listening to, you may think he's a soulful belter (on "Wake Me Up"), a husky country singer (on "Hey Brother") or an Amy Winehouse-esque crooner (on "Addicted To Love"). So what's the deal? Is he some sort of magical vocal chameleon? The answer is actually surprisingly simple: Avicii doesn't sing.
Unlike fellow nominees like Macklemore and Miley Cyrus, 24-year-old Swede Avicii isn't a singer — he got his start as a DJ and remixer, and has moved on to become a full-fledged record producer. That means that every track on his debut album True is written, produced, and mixed by him...but sung by different guest artists. While other similar DJ/producers often credit their guest artists (like "Sweet Nothing feat. Florence Welch," Calvin Harris' nominated song in the Best EDM Song category), Avicii chooses to keep his vocalists uncredited. This decision is considered controversial by some, but it certainly keeps the focus on Avicii's compositions rather than a slew of rotating guests, which in turn helps strengthen his brand.
So who is the voice behind Avicii's nominated song "Wake Me Up"? The vocals are provided by 35-year-old Panamanian-American soul singer Aloe Blacc (whose real name is Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III). His most famous song outside of his collaboration with Avicii is 2010's "I Need A Dollar," which was used as the intro music for the HBO series How To Make It In America. Blacc was also the guest mentor for Adam Levine's team on Season 6 of NBC's The Voice, where he teamed up with finalist Will Champlin to perform "Wake Me Up."
Check out the decidedly strange music video for Avicii and Blacc's collaboration here: