The dance-floor bombs of “Dirty Dutch” house music have helped create a niche for the genre. And leading the line out of one of the world’s most dance-savvy nations is Nick van de Wall, best known as Afrojack. The young Dutch firebrand has taken the house-music scene by the scruff of the neck, moving continents to his beat. Playing as a groundbreaking DJ, record producer, and remixer since 2006, Afrojack followed his early love of house music to discover himself in playing spells in Netherlands and Greece before bulldozing into the mainstream in 2010. His ownership of the Wall Recordings imprint label and a high-profile romance with American socialite Paris Hilton mean Afrojack has made all the right moves in a budding career. The thumping beat will flood through the veins of fans lucky enough to have booked Afrojack tickets for his upcoming concerts.
Afrojack is one of the leading exponents of Dutch house, a minimal structure house subgenre that is distinctive for its tribal drums and high-pitched leads. He also mixes elements of hip hop, techno, and progressive house, a genre reinvigorated after its early 90s boom. Afrojack was born as Nick van de Wall in the Western Netherlands city of Spijkenisse in 1988. He showed a taste for music as a kid, learning to play piano at age five. Listening to virtually all genres, he downloaded the music sequencing program Fruity Loops at age 11. It opened up a new avenue, allowing him to toy with samples and create diverse music. After school, he took up part-time work in bars, discovering the local club music scene. It made quite an impression on him, for at 16 he had his first DJ gig at Las Palmas club. He kept performing and working around Rotterdam, before deciding to explore the international music scene. That took him to Crete, Greece, where the rocking bars were home to his music for five straight months. Cutting his teeth internationally brought newfound steel to his music, and he returned to Netherlands rejuvenated, laying down further tracks. Winning Sidney Samson and Laidback Luke’s backing, he released his debut single “In Your Face” on the independent Digidance label in 2006. The track was a big chart-buster locally, establishing the 18-year-old’s name. He then established his own Wall Recordings (for Beatport and Juno exclusively) record label. He has continued remixing and launching big new tracks since.
“In Your Face” of the In Your Face EP went #60 on the Dutch top 100 and #3 on the Dutch hot dance charts. It was a harbinger of further success the next year as Afrojack became a prolific remixer and producer. Fruity and Don’t Be were his 2007 releases, the latter being his first Wall Recordings release. “Math” and “Drop Down (Do My Dance)” set dance charts ablaze in 2008, the latter’s co-op mix with The Partysquad hitting #20 and winning “Tune of the Week” from all major Dutch radio stations and TMF network. Afrojack also released the Thief, Colour, Claudia, Dinges, and Esther releases in 2008. In 2009, he released the Music is Magic, Polka Dots, and Avoid EPs. In 2010, he hit #86 on the Dutch charts with “A Msterdam” (with The Partysquad) before international fame followed with “Take over Control” with Dutch singer-songwriter Eva Simons. The song topped Hungary, Poland, and US Heatseekers charts, also reaching the top 20 on Australia (#17), Belgium (#7), Netherlands (#12), Scotland (#11), and UK Dance (#3) charts. It received Platinum certification in Australia. Afrojack also collaborated with the likes of David Guetta (“Toyfriend”, “Louder Than Words”) and Pitbull (“Maldito Alcohol”). In 2011, “Selecta” (with Quintino) climbed to #37 and “No Beef” (with Steve Aoki) peaked at #25 in UK, but it was his collaboration with Pitbull, Ne-Yo, and Nayer on “Give Me Everything” that opened floodgates. It went #1 in US, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, and Ireland, going multi-Platinum in five countries and selling 8.2 million copies. He won a Grammy for his “Revolver” remix, and landed a 2012 European Border Breakers Award.
Afrojack has performed live at Mystery Land, Extrema Outdoor, Sensation, and Belgium’s Tomorrowland festivals. His true Dutch house sound is a sure-shot arena winner. Upcoming dates include Atlantic City, Detroit, and Cleveland.
Dutchhouse DJs are revolutionizing the face of club music, and Afrojack leads the pack. With solid hits by his side and his best days ahead of him, there is an air of anticipation among his legions of fans who will flood concerts clutching their Afrojack tickets.
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