We’ve been counting down our top artists of 2011 all week, and we’re really starting to get down to the wire. Today we’ll reveal another five of our top picks, but we’re holding back on the highest honors for tomorrow. In case you want to check out how we got here, don’t forget to look back at our posts from throughout the week and see our rankings thus far. We know you’re dying to see who we’ve slotted in our super-exclusive top 10, so keep reading to find out.
10. Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris is undoubtedly one of the most versatile DJs on this list. The Scottish producer was once known for his soft disco sound and keyboard synths on tracks like “Century,” “I’m Not Alone,” and “Flashback.” But this year, as electro-house gained more popularity than ever, Adam Richard Wiles (that’s Calvin’s real name) completely changed up his style and released one of the biggest anthems of the year: “Awooga.” The anthemic electro-house tune was an unexpected production from Calvin Harris, but that’s not to say it’s not incredible. The track was highly supported by EDM icons, and almost 100% of the time played as one of the biggest tracks in any DJ’s set. Just for all the haters/idiots out there who still doubted Calvin Harris, his later original productions: “Bounce,” “”Feel So Close,” and “We Found Love” were all attention grabbing tracks that were remixed by the likes of Michael Woods, Sandro Silva, Chuckie, and R3hab (among others). Besides his special gift for producing, Calvin Harris is also a tremendous DJ. His track selection is full of energy, his mixing is optimal, and his fan base is enormous. Don’t believe us? Check out our reviews of Calvin Harris at Lavo NYC and Electric Zoo 2011.
9. Fedde Le Grand
It wasn’t quantity that placed Fedde Le Grand so high up on the list but the immense quality of his productions this past year. Right before Ultra 2011 Fedde released his first video teaser of “Autosave” featuring Patric La Funk off his own label, Flamingo Recordings. Launching him even more ahead of the game was his rework of “So Much Love,” his tech-house masterpiece “Metrum,” and last but definitely not least his breathtaking remix to Coldplay’s “Paradise.” Practically every track Fedde Le Grand put out this year held a #1 spot on Beatport for at least a few weeks, leading us to believe that 2011 was by far Fedde’s biggest year in EDM. His strong influence and mentoring capabilities helped Fedde sign monstrous tracks like Deniz Koyu’s “Tung!” and “Hertz,” and co-produce on Sultan & Ned Shepard’s “Running” and Nicky Romero’s “Rockin High.” Topping it all off, Fedde stands with the best DJs in the world when it comes to live performances. The superstar knows how to conform to any crowd and never plays anything close to what his previous set sounded like — just see our experience at Sensation White. Can Fedde Le Grand take a top 10 spot in 2012?
8. Sebastian Ingrosso
Sebastian Ingrosso is the first member of the Swedish House Mafia on our list. First off, just the fact that this guy is a member of the Swedish House Mafia — who’s had one of the biggest years in EDM history — gives Ingrosso a deserving spot at #8. We are sure Ingrosso’s productional skills had something to do with “Save The World,” “Antidote,” and the remix to Coldplay’s “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall,” but the guy is responsible for creating “One.” (Watch Take One if you don’t believe us.) Although individually Ingrosso hasn’t come out with nearly as many tracks as his counterparts, he was a co-producer on “Calling,” which is arguably one of the biggest tracks of 2011. At Electric Zoo, “Calling” sounded off at almost every stage we visited from nearly every DJ there. (EDX even played it twice!) Above all, Ingrosso and his label Refune Recordings are responsible for delivering the EDM world the biggest breakthrough artist of 2011: Alesso. Ingrosso to Alesso is like Dr. Dre to Eminem. Ingrosso accomplished signing Alesso’s ground breaking Dynamite EP, “Raise Your Head,” and also many other notable tracks from Style Of Eye, Arno Cost, and Swanky Tunes.
Sonny John Moore is one of the biggest revolutionaries the EDM world has witnessed in 2011. Beginning 2011 with a bang, Skrillex began his Mothership Tour, visiting 50 cities in only three months and easily selling all of them out. Adding to his immense showmanship, Mr. Moore showcased his new “Skrillex Cell” that consists of an avatar on a giant screen behind him and uses 3D motion tracking tech to produce a truly mind-blowing liveshow. From spectacularly remixing Benassi’s “Cinema” to producing the main theme for Mortal Combat’s video game (“Reptile’s Theme,”) Skrillex has conquered a vast amount of territory this past year. Extremely noteworthy is Skrillex’s five Grammy nominations, which made him the leading EDM nominee ahead of moguls such as David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Afrojack, Deadmau5, and Avicii. Adding to Skrillex’s success is his OWSLA record label, which signed some of the biggest electro-house/dubstep tracks of the year: think “Shave It,” “Unison,” and “Spitfire.” Skrillex has ended 2011 with a mean remix to “Levels,” and we all can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in 2012.
There should be no argument that Afrojack (aka Nick van de Wall) is one of the most engaging, humorous, energetic, and wild DJs on this list. Besides his extraordinary showmanship behind the decks, Afrojack’s productional talents are responsible for some of the most prolific and distinguished music in the game. After having a monstrous 2010 with “Take Over Control” charting at #1 in many countries and later in the USA, “Give Me Everything” featuring Pitbull, Ne-Yo, & Nayer, has put Afrojack’s name back up at #1 in 2011. Following the footsteps of his mentor David Guetta, Afrojack’s “Pon de Floor” became so popular that his instrumentals contributed to a Beyonce single in the form of “Run The World (Girls).” (We know Major Lazer got all the credit, but Nick did co-produce it.) Afrojack’s unimaginable talents have helped him release distinguished and mind-boggling tracks such as “Lionheart,” “Selecta,” “Prutataaa,” “Doing It Right,” and “No Beef.” Wall Recordings has boomed more than ever this year signing awesome talent like Apster, Quintino, R3hab, Nicky Romero, Moguai, Spencer & Hill, Swanky Tunes, and more. In 2011 Afrojack’s domination led him to a residency in XS nightclub at the Wynn/Encore Resorts in Vegas, which is the best hotel/nightclub in the heart of the new EDM capital of the world. Last year Nick won his first Grammy at the age of 23 alongside David Guetta. This year, it will be interesting to see if the superstar can win another one for remixing Leona Lewis’s controversial “Collide.”