How DJ Alan Walker went from YouTube to multi-platinum –

Walker originally produced music as DJ Walkzz
Walker originally produced music as DJ Walkzz

Rikkard Haggbom

When DJ Alan Walker plays live, he conceals his face. “It’s to create unity ? we can achieve amazing things,” he says. “Just put on a mask and you become a Walker.”

To become the Walker – the 19-year-old has gone platinum in 12 countries and was nominated for a 2017 Brit Award – required more than an outfit; he also needed a break. Walker found his through video games. Born in Northampton and raised in Norway, Walker had been immersed in that world since playing Bomberman as a child. So when he started creating electronic music in his bedroom and gained a little confidence, he pitched his track “Fade” to NoCopyright-Sounds, a British label set up to make audio available, royalty-free, for use in online gaming videos. Soon, other genres began to adopt it, too. “I’ve heard the song in workout, cooking and make-up videos,” he says.

Recognising Walker’s ubiquity, Sony Music signed him in 2015 and remastered “Fade”. The song has since been viewed more than 990 million times on YouTube, and became one of the 50 most-streamed tracks on Spotify.

Walker has since released three further singles. But he is still a dedicated player; when ?we talk, he has been up until 4am on a seven-hour Battlefield 1 session.

He’s currently on a world tour and has an album planned. But he isn’t forgetting his roots. When his song “Routine” was released in December 2016, the YouTube video had a strapline: “This track is for you Gamers,” it read. “Play it loud.” Charlie Burton

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