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He won DJmag's Top 100 DJs poll three times in the early noughties (2002-4), but if anything, Tijs Verwest aka Tiësto is bigger than ever now.
"The whole year has been one amazing highlight, everything has been going great," Tiësto tells DJmag when we finally catch up with him just before deadline. "Being able to end my College Invasion Tour in Los Angeles playing the largest single DJ show ever in the US was really something unbelievable for me, that's going to really be memorable for the rest of my career."

Even though it wasn't his biggest gig ever (he's kinda been used to playing stadiums over the past decade), his gig at the 26,000-capacity Home Depot Stadium in LA was a big deal in American music terms. Along with Guetta and the Swedes, he's crossed over into the US mainstream thanks to his enormous pulling power and hits such as 'C'Mon (Catch 'Em By Surprise)' with Diplo and Busta Rhymes in 2011. Does he feel like he's the originator of stadium DJ gigs?
"For me it isn't really about competition, DJs like Swedish House Mafia and David Guetta are doing great things and I'm loving watching electronic music grow so fast around the world," he says. "Right now I'm just focused on putting the best show together for my fans and giving them a night that they'll never forget."

The College Invasion tour was responding to what college students were asking for, he says. "There have been so many requests from college students on my social media sites asking me to come play for them; how could I say no?!" he says.
The website kept US students up-to-date with the tour - but what would a 'Tiësto University' teach? "Tiësto University gives students the education on how to live the 'Club Life'," he replies. "The only requirement for admission is that people have amazing energy and [are] ready to go crazy!"

Tijs mixed 'Club Life - Las Vegas' this year, released on his own new label Musical Freedom. "The 'Club Life' compilation is about a way of life," he says. "It's a statement of what you stand for. Going clubbing, listening to club music everywhere anytime, and lots of sexy vocal tracks and great grooves are what it's all about."
He's held down a residency in Vegas all year (as well as Ibiza), and speaks enthusiastically about the way it's been unlocked to electronic music recently.
"Las Vegas is always an amazing city to play in, and it's like a second home to me," the Dutchman says. "My residency at the Hard Rock Hotel's club The Joint this year has been incredible. Every night has been special. Two years ago, every club in Vegas was hip-hop; now they're all house!"

Tiësto is all about musical freedom these days; he doesn't seem to have suffered from leaving trance behind at all. In fact, his exit from the trance scene seems to have precipitated a rush to the exit door, with other DJs falling over themselves to describe their sound now as being 'melodic dance'. His increasingly eclectic sets now take in house, electro, trouse, progressive, and even a bit of drum & bass if he plays his new collabora-tion with High Contrast & Underworld, 'The First Note Is Silent', currently blowing up on radio airwaves everywhere.

He's also just remixed dubstepper Joker. "I'm into a lot of different sounds these days - dubstep being one of them," he says. "Who knows what kind of music I'll be making or playing next, but I'm very open right now to playing around with new sounds that I haven't used before."
His last 'Kaleidoscope' album was where he explored other styles of dance music aside from trance, and it's expected that his next artist album - scheduled for a 2012 release - will be even more diverse. "I'm head-ing down to Latin America for a few gigs next, and after that I'll be back in the studio working on my new album for 2012."
Let's hear it for this bonafide dance music phenomenon!