Born Tijs Michiel Verwest in the small Dutch city of Breda in 1969, Tiësto went on to become more than just a world-famous electronic musician—he largely created the model for a powerhouse DJ in the 21st century. He got his start in the mid-’80s, when the skeletal sounds of Belgian new beat ruled Holland’s clubs, but it was trance—sleeker and more emotive—that moved him. His first proper DJ mix , 1997’s Magik One (First Flight), showcases his signature style in dreamy synth melodies drawn out above tough but streamlined drum grooves. As trance’s foremost ambassador, he pioneered stadium raving with solo DJ concerts in sports arenas; in 2004, he played for millions at the Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Athens. And his Club Life weekly radio show and mix series, one of trance’s premier global platforms, became synonymous with the genre itself. But you don’t become the world’s No. 1 DJ by sitting still. By 2011’s Club Life: Volume One Las Vegas, Tiësto was following through on a shift that had begun with his 2009 album, Kaleidoscope, a blend of high-energy trance and airy pop melodies that heralded the next big rave revolution: EDM. With 2014’s A Town Called Paradise, he made good on EDM’s anything-goes promise with a collection encompassing soaring toplines, massive drops, and other big-room thrills without turning his back on the aching melodies that made his name. As the decade drew to a close, playful collabs with a new generation of producers who had come up in his wake—The Chainsmokers, Oliver Heldens, DJ Snake, Hardwell—only served to confirm his versatility and cement his legacy.
HOMETOWNBreda, The Netherlands
BORNJanuary 17, 1969