On Saturday, May 30, at 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET, Yahoo Live will live stream the iHeartRadio Pool Party from Las Vegas, featuring David Guetta, Nicki Minaj, Echosmith, Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Chris Brown, and Shaggy. Tune in HERE!
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French DJ/producer David Guetta is responsible for some of the biggest party anthems of the past few years, from the Black Eyed Peas ‘I Gotta Feeling,“ which he produced, to “Where Them Girls At” with Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj. Not surprisingly to anyone who’s seen the energetic Guetta live, he says, “I’m a happy person by nature.”
As an artist, however, Guetta makes music that reflects what is going on in his life at the moment. “To be honest, the thing is I always give what I have in the mood.” And when he released his newest album, Listen, late last year, Guetta wasn’t in the space to be celebrating.
“Then I got through a divorce, so of course the album was not in the exact same mood,” he says. “I can only make music for who I am at a specific moment, and for a while I was a little more adult and more serious. I was going through my divorce and I made a lot of songs that were super-emotional, and I was being real.”
While EDM has become the soundtrack for good times and letting go, Guetta doesn’t believe the music has to be one-dimensional. “I do think it’s very possible to make records that have a real emotion and meaning with dance music,” he says. “Dance music doesn’t have to be only ‘Clap your hands and shake your booty.’”
Then he adds wryly, “But the 'Hey Mama’ vibe does work too.”
That brings us to today, where Guetta has gotten over his personal hardships and is back to celebrating. “Now I’m feeling very happy again and it’s kind of good,” he says. “I have this new record, 'Hey Mama,’ and it’s really back to fun and a journey to a young kind of music with Nicki Minaj. I’m coming back to being myself again.”
“Hey Mama,” which features Minaj and Guetta’s longtime friend and fellow DJ Afrojack, is moving up on the Billboard Hot 100 and tops multiple dance charts, and it’s shaping up to be another massive hit for the DJ. But he knew that was coming when his album was released late last year.
“A lot of DJs started to play 'Hey Mama’ and it became big in the clubs when we didn’t even promote it at all,” he says. “Then in some countries I had to fight radio asking them not to play the record, which is kind of crazy.”
Now, however, Guetta is ready for the world to embrace the track. “Right now I’m kind of changing my DJ style 'cause of 'Hey Mama’ and I’m doing something very different, 'cause I’m doing tempo changes inside my sets and a combination of EDM, house, urban,” he says. “But I would take urban records and create my own version, my own remixes. To me, that is step one of my inspiration: It always comes from my DJing. And then I’m really killing it as a DJ like this, so now I’m starting to make remixes and a little production. And the next step is when I’m gonna finish those beats and start to work with artists. But I’m not there yet 'cause I’m still in the creation of my next music.”
When he does get to the point of more collaborations, look out, as the list of artists socialized with at Coachella 2015 reads like a who’s who of pop music. “I was hanging out with Madonna right before she came onstage with Drake in her trailer, then I bumped into Rihanna, then with Black Eyed Peas, and Usher came to the show,” he says. “[Weekend two] was Beyoncé and Nicki. It’s crazy, where do you see this?”
According to Guetta he gets asked often about “keeping it real” by dance enthusiasts and the EDM press. However, to him keeping it real means evolving. “I can’t do always the same thing all my life. It’s driving me crazy,” he says. “As much I love EDM, it was a little too stuck in a format, and for me it doesn’t matter what type of music I don’t like when it’s too formulaic. I started to make house music because I felt what was on the radio was too formulaic, and then our music became so big and I started a crusade to make our music as respected and supported as hip-hop or roc. And it happened. It became kind of the new format of pop music. But now it’s getting stuck in a format, and I don’t like this. That’s why I’m trying to look for a different sound.”