Aloe Blacc Says He Still Feels Avicii's Presence After His Death
Back in 2013, Aloe Blacc scored his first number one in Australia (and 21 other countries) thanks to Swedish DJ and producer Avicii's hit, "Wake Me Up".
One of the world's highest-grossing live music acts, Avicii -- born Tim Bergling -- was 28 when he took his own life in Muscat, Oman in April last year.
The soul singer now features on "SOS", the haunting lead single from Avicii's first posthumous album, Tim, to be released next month.
Creating "SOS" -- which was completed after Avicii's death -- was "very emotional", Aloe told 10 daily.
"The lyrics and the intention behind [the song] are very strong.
I feel like Tim was really trying to give himself and others who struggle with mental illness and addiction the courage and the words to ask for help," Aloe said.
Avicii reportedly left notes for his team naming Aloe as the track's preferred vocalist, and Aloe said he felt Avicii's spirit "the entire recording process".
"I did an interview at Westlake Studios recently, where I felt he was present. I chose the location because it's where we first met.
About 15 minutes into the interview -- when they finally asked about "SOS" -- the door between the control room and recording live room slammed shut.
"The interviewer said it was creepy, but I thought it was a nice sign of Tim's presence throughout this entire process of bringing his music to the world."
Aloe paid homage to Avicii by performing "Wake Me Up" at Coachella last month, an experience he said was "bittersweet".
"My introduction to the dance music world was through Tim. It was overwhelming to hear tens of thousands of people singing our song along with me in tribute," he said.
In an open letter released one week after his death Avicii's family stated, "Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in".
Battling drug and alcohol addiction alongside physical and mental health issues for many years, Aloe said Avicii "felt the pressure to continue to make everyone else happy".
At the height of his popularity, in just one year (2014) Avicii made $28 million according to Forbes, making him the third-highest paid global DJ that year.
"The biggest pressure is the idea of success," Aloe said.
"It's a construct forced upon us at a young age and we think we have to earn more money and be more famous to achieve it.
"What's worse is you are constantly trying to avoid becoming a failure by not keeping your status growing. It's all a psychological game."
In the family's statement, they said Avicii "really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer.”
According to the World Health Organisation, close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year -- one person every 40 seconds. It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally.
Ridicule and shame surrounding mental health issues is "harmful to folks who are already weakened by their fragile condition," Aloe said.
"We have to allow people the chance to ask for help without being shunned, and offer more services that get people the assistance they need.
Schools should have counselors, parents should be mindful of their children's development, and friends should check in with friends."
Avicii's family has started The Tim Bergling Foundation in his memory to foster mental health support and promote suicide prevention.
“Tim wanted to make a difference,” the family stated.
Starting a foundation in his name is our way to honour his memory and continue to act in his spirit.”
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
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