Music star Avicii (genuine name Tim Bergling), whose tributes kept on pouring in from around the globe following his passing on Friday, routinely posted via web-based networking media stages, and there are two outstanding circumstances he expounded on Kenya.
In one occurrence, Avicii – a Swedish genius who increased worldwide popularity with his electronic move music (EDM) – requested that Kenyans remark on his new gathering of tunes.
That was in April 2013, when he was riding high with melodies, for example, Levels that had won him a Grammy designation.
“Hey Kenya! What do you think about the new album songs? I would love to hear your thoughts specifically!” the DJ-cum-singer posted on his Facebook account. “Hope to see you soon!”
The post led to speculation that the Swedish artiste would visit Kenya. But until his death in Oman on Friday, he had not done so.
The other time when he mentioned Kenya was in April 2015. This time round, he was responding to rumours that he had bought a house in Malindi.
“I did not buy a house in Kenya (even though I heard it’s beautiful there). It was apparently a (pretty lame) April Fool’s joke,” he tweeted.
A number of news outlets had been tricked into carrying the news of Avicii’s interest in buying a house in Kenya “that boasts eight bedrooms on a 25-acre plot with magnificent sea views along the Kenyan coast”.
Due to his hits like Hey Brother and Wake Me Up that enjoyed generous airplay on Kenyan radio stations, the news of the DJ’s death sent Kenyans into mourning.
Kiss FM presenter Shaffie Weru was among those mourned the DJ. “The music world will miss your talent,” he tweeted.
Rapper King Kaka also posted a cryptic tribute. “‘Avicii my friend tuishie (let’s go to) Ibiza. RIP.” he stated. Hip-hop sensation Juliani also paid tribute to the DJ.
“We all think we are special. The day we accept we are as human as everybody else, is the day we will truly be alive. RIP Avicii,” he wrote. EDM Kenya, an organisation dedicated to promoting the genre which Avicii was passionate about, posted a thankful tribute.
“EDM Kenya would like to thank Avicii for the great music he made that we enjoyed and danced to. It is sad that he had to leave so soon, but his music shall live forever and will always be close to our hearts,” they stated on Facebook.
Avicii’s death at the age of 28 shocked many, and even though a spokeswoman did not specify the cause, his struggle with pancreatitis since he was 21 was heavily linked to his demise.
In a 2013 interview with Time magazine, he said he had been drinking a lot, to the point where he got an attack. “I was drinking way too much, partying in general way too much. Then I got a pancreatitis attack (at 21), which is very rare. So that forced me to do a 180 and stop drinking,” he said, noting that life as a celebrity meant he had to party a lot.
In 2014, he had his gallbladder and appendix removed, according to the New York Times. In 2016, he quit his international tours out of ill-health.
But despite his quitting, he remained headstrong.
“I quit performing live and many of you thought that was it. But the end of live never meant the end of Avicii or my music. Instead, I went back to the place where it all made sense – the studio,” says a message on his website.
Electronic dance music is characterised by a repetitive beat and synthesised tracks. Its makers intend to have it played in dance environments.
Avicii’s electronic-beat songs won fans and topped charts across Kenya. For instance, the song Lonely Together that he did with Rita Ora was among the top 30 hits on Kiss FM by December last year.
Even Kenyan rapper Khaligraph Jones idolises Avicii as he mentioned the fallen singer in his 2016 single Mazishi: “Mpaka ile siku hizi ngoma zitashika kama za Avicii, I swear mtajua huyu nigger ni nani.”
DJ Protégé (real name Yoram Mwangi), a disc jockey at Capital FM, told the Sunday Nation that Avicii’s sudden death was shocking.
“He was a pillar towards introducing EDM and dance music not only to the world but also to Kenya especially where the music was not initially as popular. He was a great influence towards my love for the music and helped me break barriers in my career. I’ll truly miss him,” said DJ Protégé.
His sentiments represent many Kenyan youth’s feelings about the fallen star, whose song Wake Me Up became the United Kingdom’s fastest selling single in 2012 and topped charts in more than 20 countries.
Avicii’s soaring popularity, catalysed by his breakthrough 2011 hit Levels, earned him top dollar.
In 2015, Forbes ranked him sixth in the list of highest paid DJs, estimating his annual earnings at $19 million (Sh1.9 billion). Two years earlier, he was ninth in the Forbes list of the highest paid entertainers under 30, estimating his earnings at $28 million.