This DJ's Music Video Has Been Viewed Over Two Billion Times on YouTube
Two billion of anything is mind-boggling, but that and then some is how many people have viewed Alan Walker’s song “Faded” on YouTube. Released in 2015, the song is on the list of the top 25 most viewed songs ever on the video platform, which is remarkable considering the sheer number of content uploaded on the site.
Only 21 years old, Walker has racked up multiple accolades throughout his still-young career. He has supported major acts like Rihanna, Justin Bieber and fellow DJ Martin Garrix and has headlined his own tours around the world. Yet, despite producing songs since 2012, Walker has only recently come out with his debut album called Different World.
During a stop in Taiwan, Walker chatted with Esquire Philippines about his beginnings in the music business, his new environmental advocacy anthem “Different World” and possibly coming to the Philippines.
Esquire Philippines: Humor me on this, I just want you to tell me where you are now exactly and could you describe for us what you could see outside your window?
Alan Walker: [Laughs] Right now, I’m in Taipei in Taiwan. There aren’t really any windows right here in this room right now but if I look out from the hotel window, then I would see a beautiful city.
When you were growing up, did you ever want to be something else besides going into music? I mean, did you have any other kinds of ambition outside of music?
Yes, I never had any like a leaning or reason to like become a DJ or musician or producer. I was just a young, experimental kid in a bedroom [doing] programming, graphic designing, and music production. Music production seemed to stick really well. I really wanted to go to the military at the same time as my music blew up. I had no idea it would happen. Other than that, I was really considering applying for a job at a nearby grocery store.
Oh wow, that’s awesome. I guess things took a different turn.
They definitely did.
I want to ask about your album, Different World. I mean, obviously, you’ve released a bunch of other music over the past few years. I want to ask why it took so long to gather everything and finally release your debut album.
The thing with the market nowadays is that the market is so streaming-based. It’s very hard to collect enough interest around all the songs you’re bringing out when you bring out, for example, 15 songs. Because nowadays users tend to skip more than they listen. That’s one scary thing about the streaming platforms nowadays. I felt like after three or four years now, I’ve kind of established a powerful fanbase concerning my music. And I’ve felt that this is the right time to finally put something like an album because I’ve always been a person who’s always kind of thought that I couldn’t put out an album nowadays because I don’t think it will be streamed—like no one will end up in the bottom songs pretty much except for the hardcore fans.
Now I want to ask about the single, "Different World." You’ve also talked extensively about the single recently but how long have you been—would you consider yourself an advocate of the environment and how long have you been an advocate?
Well, it’s not for that long. But I have pretty much experience from my younger years when I was part of like an environmental group, I would say, in my hometown Bergen in Norway. It’s kind of like that throughout the years. I’m kind of more interested in this subject of the song. I just want to do this for the single to be just like a role model, kind of, not necessarily a leader, but kind of like an inspiration in order to make a change, do something small to contribute to something bigger or have a bigger impact.
I also want to touch on your release of the song through this app, TikTok. How long have you been aware of this app. Can you take us through how the decision was made to work with the company and release the song through the app?
Well, TikTok is a very big company and a heavily used music application. Therefore, it would be a good collaboration and also a very good way for us to both promote the song and also spread a message of the single that we all wanted to spread, which is more on the awareness regarding the pollution of our planet earth. I’ve been aware of TikTok pretty much since musical.ly changed to TikTok and before that.
Are you a fan of other artists? And if you had the time and the opportunity, which artist would you follow around and watch them on tour?
I’m a very big fan of Armin van Buuren. He was actually the artist that I listened to the most on Spotify last year, so that’s big. Yeah, I would love to just go to his shows and have a good time or yeah, tour along with him. Other than that, I’m a very big fan of composer Hans Zimmer. It’s also good if I have a variation of things I listen to as well.
Lastly, I just want to ask if there’s any chance that you can make your way here to the Philippines? I know you have a lot of fans here.
That’s like one of the top five places I wanna go, right?
Oh wow. Really?
Yeah and I don’t know why I haven’t been there yet. More than love to come there one day.