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About a week ago, MTV posted an article called “EDM Rookies to Watch in 2012.” The piece was essentially MTV’s forecast for the future, and it created quite the stir — not only within our company, but among fans the world over. Notable names included Alesso, Arty, Deniz Koyu, Hardwell, Knife Party, Nicky Romero, R3hab, Tommy Trash, and Zedd. Before we can move on, we need to get to the bottom of a few things.
First, it’s important to acknowledge what the word “rookie” actually means. In sports, you’re a “rookie” during your first year as a professional athlete. It doesn’t matter how much you play or how much attention you receive — if you are on a team’s final roster and it’s your first year in the game, you are considered a rookie.
It is more difficult, however, to distinguish this “first year” when talking about artists. What really is your “rookie” year? Is it the year that you first started producing? Is it the year you got signed to a label and released your first official track? Or is it the year that you started garnering attention from the biggest EDM fans? As you can see, there are some pretty big gray areas here, but hopefully we can hash it out.
Dancing Astronaut‘s definition of “EDM rookie:” An artist who is currently experiencing a shift from relative obscurity into public EDM consciousness; specifically refers to the first calendar year in which fans begin to talk about an artist like s/he is the “real deal.”
There are many different factors that determine what being in the “EDM consciousness” actually means. Beatport presence, support from the industry, and bookings all go a long way in promoting an artist’s brand. Having a respectable number of fans and followers on various social media platforms doesn’t hurt, either.
MTV’s Akshay Bhansali and Adam Stewart do a great job of identifying 2012’s “rookie” group. Obviously, there are going to be disagreements about whether some of the names should be considered rookies. For example, can you be considered a ‘rookie to watch out’ for if you appear in DJMag‘s Top 25 (referring to Hardwell and Arty)? At a certain point, you’ve already broken out, and if you a fan base that votes you high in the DJ Mag rankings, you’re already in pretty prestigious territory. Rankings aren’t the only thing that matters. Nicky Romero came out with “Flash” in 2010, and it’s still his biggest track to date. If one of the most recognized tracks of the year was released in 2010, how can 2012 be your rookie year? To bring back the sports analogies, that’s like saying your career only starts when you make the playoffs or the all-star team for the first time.
The difference here is that MTV’s readership differs greatly from ours. MTV caters to the wider world of pop culture, while we cater to EDM fanatics. You (the reader) scour the internet for the best music, avidly looking out for new artists and track releases. We’d be willing to bet that you have in-depth knowledge of every artist listed on that MTV article. So the question arises: Who are 2012’s EDM Rookies? Our top 5 is listed below:
5. Marcus Maison & Will Dragen
This duo recently switched their name to Maison and Dragen and have been coming out with quite a few gems recently. Their last track “Rio De Janeiro” is pure gold and just yesterday their remix of “Talking To Myself” dropped on Armada. They have the sensitive progressive style mastered and they’ve been diving into a bit of the harder stuff recently. We hope their marketing catches up to their skills behind the computer, because these guys have a ton of talent.
4. Michael Brun
Hardwell’s Revealed Recordings recently signed this youngster from Davidson College. Michael’s “Dawn” was released with an edit done by the label owner himself. It is always nice to see one of our Stargazers doing well right after getting some exposure on DA and Michael will continue cooking up some great stuff in his studio. If you have the time check out “Dancing” – a song this good should not have flown under the radar.
3. Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman
“Call My Name” is an absolute heater and did incredibly well for this duo. However, nothing topped their remix of Dinka’s “Reach For Me” which was played by Tiesto in many of his sets. How much better does it get when one of the all-time legends in the game is dropping your track? EMI/Virgin has realized the talent to be had here and are releasing their latest track “Roll The Dice” on February 9th.
2. Johan Wedel
John Wedel has come out with some big tunes in the past. His remix of “Dangerous” alongside Deniz Koyu was one of the biggest tracks of the year (and voted in our top 10). In normal circumstances Johan may not have been eligible to qualify as a rookie, but he some how got lost for all the work he put into making “Dangerous.” Looking into the future, Fedde Le Grand, Deniz Koyu, and Johan also have a track on the way that will undoubtedly be huge. We are not only banking on the fact that Johan’s fame will rise immediately after the release, but that he can build from there as well.
1. Pierce Fulton
This is another case of Stargazer gone viral. Pierce released his “Pardon My French” EP and his life has only taken off since then. He opened for Tiesto during his Las Vegas residency at XS Nightclub, and has gained the support from Above & Beyond and many others. Not only is Pierce destined to take over the tech and progressive world, he has built quite the team around him to do so. Creating the next EDM superstar is very much a collaborative process: Pierce has his brother Griff and the entire Control Management team spearheading the way for him to cause destruction to a dance floor near you.