During Hardwell’s keynote speech at Amsterdam’s TNW conference the former Top 100 DJs winner explained how he became a superstar DJ.

The Dutch producer was famously mentored by fellow superstar DJ and producer Tiesto early on in his career — but that only tells half the story of his success.

He was inspired into music at an early age after watching a documentary on trance legends Tiesto and Armin van Buuren and from that moment on he knew he wanted to be a DJ.

He then began producing music at the age of 12 after taking piano lessons from age 6. He got his first record deal at 14 after one of his remixes was heard on national radio in Holland.

Embracing the internet was a major part of his success and he cites illegal bootleg remixes as an important part of his success — but once he was signed to a label making bootleg remixes was no longer an option so he turned his attention to a compilation series, Eclectic Beats.

Hardwell reckons he was the first artist to use like gates and pay with tweets to grow his fan base with his free bootleg remixes which fans could download for free if they liked or followed him.

Before he had even toured abroad, Hardwell admits he had played a staggering 1,000 gigs in Holland.

Check out his insightful keynote speech below.




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