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Poll 2023: David Guetta
David Guetta

From: Paris, France

DJ style: Future Rave

Best known for: F*** Me I’m Famous!

David Guetta is good, yeah, he’s feeling alright. Well, more than alright if we’re being honest, because 2023 marks the year this chart-topping producer reclaims the number one spot — the fourth time he’s headed up the poll. The French artist assures us that the thrill of victory isn’t lost on him.

“It's incredible! It's wonderful!” he says of clinching the coveted ranking, before elaborating on his emotions. “It's great because I feel like every time I’m on the top of the Top 100, it's for a different reason. You know, the two previous times were probably thanks to Future Rave,” he says of the concept he launched in 2020 alongside Danish producer, MORTEN. “This time is probably thanks to ‘I'm Good’ and those big crossover records. I love that I can express different feelings in different ways.”

Indeed, Guetta boasts an expansive career, the success of which can be attributed as much to his studio talents as his versatility. A master of straddling scenes, Guetta’s decades-spanning reign as the king of dance music has seen him float between the radio-realms and the underground’s outskirts with relative ease. A DJ from age 14, he eventually established himself as a house producer with an alternative skew, amassing fans in his native Paris before garnering attention across the globe.

Guetta achieved international success in 2001 with the release of the soaring dancefloor stunner ‘A Little More Love’, and since then, the Spotify top-streaming artist has masterfully juggled the role of pop megastar without losing touch with his roots. In 2011, he launched his Jack Back project to spotlight the more progressive sounds that fuelled his come-up, and nowadays, a similar energy injects his aforementioned Future Rave records and party concept, which he’s continued to fine-tune since its Covid-era inception.

“It’s been nice to almost, let’s say, go back to my foundations and talk to only DJs, rather than to be on the radio, or make music just for streams,” he says of diving deeper into the project over the past 12 months — an effort which included bringing Future Rave to Hï Ibiza on Friday nights. “It was just music for the community only, and that gave me a lot of happiness and satisfaction. And also, I think it had a big influence on the scene.”

Recently, Guetta’s shown he’s not afraid to slather surefire hits (take, for example, his collaborative rework of La Bouche’s ‘Be My Lover’ alongside HYPATON) with darker textures. It’s very plausible that seeing those tracks bang at the world’s top-rated nightclub may have inspired fellow EDM stars to take similar risks.

Those who preferred the lighter side of Guetta’s extensive discography found plenty of effervescence at his other Ibiza residency, F*** Me I’m Famous (FMIF), which is also the name of his popular compilation series that served as a springboard for rising house artists in the early noughties. The inaugural FMIF event popped off in 2001, and remains a popular destination for daytime revellers who prefer their electro-pop flavours under the island sun. For its 22nd season, FMIF descended upon Ushuaïa Ibiza on Mondays. Balancing two residencies came naturally for Guetta, and he attests audiences embraced the dichotomy, too.

“What I really love about Ibiza is that people just follow me, it’s like they trust me,” he says of the crowds who flock to his sun-drenched and after-dark performances. “I can start with a massive song and take them into a tunnel of Future Rave and melodic techno and then come back to the huge feelgood record — and they just go for it.”

In addition to a packed schedule of shows and festival appearances, which included stop-offs at Ultra Miami, Romania’s UNTOLD and Sziget in Budapest, Hungary, Guetta also scored his 11th Grammy nomination (he has two previous wins to his name) for ‘I’m Good’ — his pop anthem alongside Brooklyn-bred songstress, Bebe Rexha. The tune, which borrows its melody from Eiffel 65’s 1998 classic, ‘I’m Blue’, went onto soundtrack parties across the continents.

Gazing back at Guetta’s accolades and accomplishments tells the story of an artist who’s managed to make the most of his strengths, and grow more dynamic with every decade. And he’s managed to do it with an air of optimism that shines bright in his artistic output.

“It makes me as happy to be, let's say, culturally relevant as it does to have a big, massive global hit. They're both important,” he says with pride. “So, for me to have the freedom to make house records with Jack Back, to make festival records that are techno and trance-influenced like Future Rave, and to be able to do a record like ‘I’m Good’ and have that kind of freedom to express myself — it's incredible. It’s incredible!”

Years ago, this experience may have been unique. However, the tides seem to be turning, and that’s another reason why Guetta feels so enthusiastic about the direction that the electronic music scene is headed. “When it comes to dance music, to be able to appreciate different styles, I think it's so important and I feel like it's happening more than ever,” he says with palpable excitement in his voice. “I think we’re going through a fantastic musical time right now.”

And it seems Guetta is the perfect ambassador for the movement. DJ Mag readers cast their vote for someone who has long blurred genre lines and united people on the dancefloor. After around 40 years of doing just that, you’d think our subject would take a break, but no — he tells us he’s committed to quite the opposite.

“I can say that I'm working like crazy, making music to thank the people that support me,” he offers of what’s on the menu for the future. “I don't take this lightly, when I'm voted number one. I'm very grateful and it gives me fuel to keep working hard and trying to push the envelope and push the culture.”

Hero of 2023: “Fred again.. brought something fresh and exciting to the scene, not just because of the quality of his music, but also because he's performing in a different way. I also think James Hype is doing something really good — he was the resident every Friday at midnight in the Club Room [in Hï Ibiza], and I know everyone was really amazed. It was him and Meduza, and I know it’s not easy to play at the same time as me, but people were really, really happy with them.”

Fave tune of 2023: “&ME, Black Coffee ‘The Rapture Pt. III’.”

Best DJ set you’ve seen in 2023: “Fred again... To see an electronic music artist performing in a different way using different techniques is really exciting, and also his music is very good.”

What was the most exciting tech development of 2023? “The fact that we can now be more independent and write our own vocals, but also have them performed by AI — that's pretty life changing as a producer!”

Rising star DJ/producer of 2023: “HYPATON. I discovered him on Instagram, he had these audio clips, not even finished songs, but he was using those big Euro-dance vocals, and playing Future Rave melodies on the top. And I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is really musical’. We started to work together, and ended up putting a record out together — ‘Be My Lover’.”

What gives you hope for 2024? “When it comes to the music scene, I think it's an absolutely incredible time. I was always quite open, musically, and I feel like I'm not the only one anymore.”