DJ on Top
Tracking the rising star of Hardwell, electronic dance music’s No. 1 DJ
The happiness of the world rested in the hands of Hardwell. That’s the scenario that played out on a YouTube video of the DJ performing at the 2013 Ultra Music Festival in Miami, an EDM festival that draws hundreds of thousands of attendees from around the globe every year. The hourlong video, with a staggering 24 million-plus views to date, shows the euphoric state of dancing partiers, all swaying to the beats of Hardwell’s set. Last year would also bring the then 25-year-old another feat of world domination—being named the youngest DJ ever to score the No. 1 spot on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs poll, a title he holds until October.
Born Robbert van de Corput in Breda, Netherlands, Hardwell was just 14 years old when he landed his first record deal, and for the next four years he secured gigs at some of the Netherlands’ top nightclubs, his parents chaperoning his appearances until he was old enough to enter the venues on his own. Reaching the top of the Dutch EDM charts by 2008, Hardwell finally broke through to the rest of Europe and gained international exposure with his 2009 single “Show Me Love vs. Be”—a mashup of singer Robin S’ “Show Me Love” and DJs Steve Angello and Laidback Luke’s hit “Be.” Two years later, Hardwell made his first appearance on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs list, taking the No. 24 spot, and made his first U.S. festival appearance, in Las Vegas at the Electric Daisy Carnival.
Hardwell’s career continues to skyrocket with more than 80 million people viewing online videos of his festival performances; his Facebook page alone has more than 1 million likes. Last year he kicked off his I Am Hardwell world tour, making stops in more than 20 countries and ending the tour in the U.S. with a performance at Madison Square Garden in November.
“It was a dream for me to ever, ever play Madison Square Garden,” Hardwell told Las Vegas Magazine in a June interview while in town to perform at MGM Grand’s Hakkasan Nightclub and Electric Daisy Carnival. “It almost felt like a dream that you could never realize. (It’s) so iconic, it’s one of the venues of the world. I’m nervous thinking about it, but I’m really excited.”
Hakkasan is also the place where Hardwell landed a DJ residency this summer alongside such big-name EDM DJs like fellow countrymen Tiësto, Martin Garrix and Afrojack, as well as Calvin Harris and Steve Aoki. Friday, Aug. 8, marks Hardwell’s return to the popular nightclub, and he’s looking forward to returning to the city.
“Vegas is all about partying. People want to go all the way, and, as a DJ, the thing I need to provide is the music,” he said. “Hakkasan is an amazing club for music, probably one of the best clubs I’ve ever seen in my life.
“The whole environment is perfect for a DJ. It’s always packed, they have an amazing dance floor, the sound system is great. They have one of the biggest LED screens I’ve seen in a club. It’s just amazing space.”
Hardwell has recently branded all his performances with a fun slogan that fits the young talent’s newfound status: Go Hardwell or Go Home. “We party really hard, so if you’re ready for a good party, you should definitely check me out at Hakkasan.” Something tells us you should take the No. 1 DJ’s word for it.
MGM Grand, 10:30 p.m. doors, Aug. 8, cover charge applies. 702.891.3838