2015 was a hoot for Zedd fans as he dropped his long-awaited sophomore album, ‘True Colours’, and tore up the atlas with a seemingly never-ending world tour.
Naturally after such a prolific year, 2016 was always going to be a little less dramatic for the 27-year-old pop-dance pin-up who began playing the piano long before he could grow any facial hair. But while we haven’t been treated to quite so many of his widescreen electronic productions, it certainly has been another exceptional year for the Russian-German Grammy-winner.
Performance-wise, he’s been selective with his appearances, only headlining major festivals such as Coachella, EDC and Ultra. He also spent his summer performing at Avicii’s self-titled weekly parties at Ushuaia Ibiza, the glamorous Encore and Las Vegas pop megafest iHeartRadio live with long-term cohort Ariana Grande among other high profile shows.
What’s really kept Zedd in the spotlight this year, however, are two of his three ultra-high profile releases. Celebrated by millions of chocolate-lovers and gamers around the world respectively, both ‘Candyman’ and ‘Ignite’ remind us of Zedd’s strong currency as both have been conceptualised and presented as major commercial tie-ins.
‘Candyman’, with Aloe Blacc, was a sugar-sweet pop soul cover of the Willy Wonka classic for M&Ms. Released in the summer, it caused Diplo to spark an ironic day-long Twitter beef about selling out. Meanwhile, last month’s ‘Ignite’ saw Zedd engage his well-publicised love for gaming with the official theme for League Of Legends World Championship. And if that’s not enough commercial chat for one Top 100 DJ profile, he’s also released an official FIFA Jersey.
Most importantly for fans who just love the music, his summer banger ‘Adrenaline’ is essential to note. A club-focused cut sprung with electro energy, high-tension synths and a leg-sweeping breakbeat drop, it’s a firm reminder of where he came from… And why he remains a very popular DJ. DAVE JENKINS