Kygo and the Rise of Tropical House

Kygo and the Rise of Tropical House
Artists Genre Music

Electronic Dance Music started making it’s way back into popularity in the early 2010’s. Dj’s like Avicii, David Guetta, and Swedish House Mafia had become part of mainstream music. In 2013 a new genre of electronic dance music was discovered. Thanks to Kyrre Gorve-ll-Dahll, also known as Kygo, tropical house became globally popularized. Tropical house is known for its happy, melodic beats that are created from the sounds of steel drums, pan flutes, marimba and other tropical instruments.

Kygo was born and raised in Bergen Norway where his love for music developed at a young age. He began playing piano at the age of 4 and by high school would spend hours a day practicing. To this day the piano is where he finds his inspiration and melody for his music. He started to produce after being inspired by Avicii’s music and wanting to create something different than the typical progressive house sound. While studying finance and business at Edinburgh University he began remixing tracks and gaining popularity on Soundcloud. Some of his early remixes include “Limit to Your Love” by James Blake and “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. What put him on the radar was in 2013 his remix of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” As his career began to take off, he decided to quit school and focus on music full time. Quickly after that, with the help of his manager, Miles Shear, he began to blow up.

Kygo ConcertHe performed his first show in Paris where he was surprised at the turnout and reaction of the crowd. After this, he began selling out shows based solely on his remixes on Soundcloud. By 2014 he signed a record deal with Sony and released his first single ‘Firestone’. Kygo began releasing singles that eventually became his first album, ‘Cloud Nine’ which topped charts in Europe and the US, and went multi-platinum in Norway. Since then he has released a second album, ‘Kid’s in Love’, and plans to release ‘Golden Hour’ in the near future. Kygo was the fastest artists to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify and achieved it in only 12 months. Over his career he has had over 8.5 billion streams, over 47 million equivalents, and 2.2 billion total video views. He also has worked with incredible artists that would be categorized in many different genres. Some of these artists include John Newman, OneRepublic, Gucci Mane, Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, and even a never-released single from Whitney Houston.

Kygo is now a world-renowned producer, songwriter, DJ, and music marvel. His music made such an impact on the industry. He was the missing piece of what people in the EDM scene were looking for. Tropical house had become a new era of discovery that everyone could relate to. He coined this new style that was inviting, sexy, smooth, and just made you feel good. The notion of beautiful, happy, young people relaxing in the sun fit perfectly in what Kygo wanted from his music. While he didn’t intentionally create tropical music, everyone started referring to it as that because it gives off its own vibe. Kygo wanted to make music with happy vibes and make people feel good and he accomplished just that.

Today, Kygo has over 34 million listeners on Spotify, ranking 32nd in the world. He continues to surprise the industry with one hit after another. As another famous Dj, Steve Aoki put it, “he created his own sound, built his own culture, almost his own movement.”

Contributed by Lizzy Heller a writer from The Clive Davis Institute x Billboard MUSIC INDUSTRY ESSENTIALS program.