Tijs Michiel Verwest, OON (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈtɛi̯s miˈxil vərˈʋɛst]; born 17 January 1969), known as Tiësto (pronounced [tiɛsto]), is a Dutch musician, DJ and record producer of electronic dance music. Although he has used many aliases in the past, he is best known for his work as DJ Tiësto. On his latest productions, however, he has dropped the “DJ” label and is now known simply as “Tiësto”, an alias which is a twist of his childhood nickname.
In 1997, he founded the label Black Hole Recordings with Arny Bink, where he released the Magik and In Search of Sunrise CD series. Tiësto met producer Dennis Waakop Reijers in 1998, and the two have worked together extensively since then. Reijers is credited as producer, writer, composer, or arranger on many of Tiësto’s releases. Then, in 1999 and 2000 he collaborated with Ferry Corsten to create Gouryella. His 2000 remix of Delerium’s “Silence” featuring Sarah McLachlan exposed him to more mainstream audiences. In 2001, he released his first solo album In My Memory which gave him several major hits that launched his career. He was named “World’s No.1 DJ” 3 consecutive times by DJ Magazine from 2002 through 2004.
Just after releasing his second studio album Just Be in 2004 at the Summer Olympics, he performed live at the opening ceremony in Athens, Greece, becoming the first DJ to play live on stage at an Olympics. Tracks he made especially for the Olympics were mixed together and released as the mix compilation Parade of the Athletes later that year. In April 2007 Tiësto launched both his radio show Tiësto’s Club Life on Radio 538 in the Netherlands and released his third studio album titled Elements of Life. The album reached number one on the Dutch album chart as well on “Billboard Top Electronic Albums” in the U.S. and received a nomination for a Grammy Award in 2008. Tiësto released his fourth studio album called Kaleidoscope in October 2009.
1 Life and musical career
1.1 Early life and career
1.2 In My Memory era (2001–2004)
1.3 Just Be era (2004–2007)
1.4 Elements of Life era (2007–2009)
1.5 Kaleidoscope era (2009–present)
3 Personal life
6 See also
8 External links
Life and musical career
Early life and career
Tijs Michiel Verwest was born in Breda, North Brabant, Netherlands on January 17, 1969. He had an interest in music since the age of twelve. When he was fourteen he decided to dedicate more time to it and began DJing professionally at school parties. He then moved on to become a resident DJ between 1985 and 1994 at several clubs in the Netherlands after his manager and friend Wilfred encouraged him. However, it was at The Spock, a small club in Breda, where he was able to fine-tune his own style by playing in a separate room from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. on weekends. In the beginning of his career, as a DJ he played mostly New Beat and acid house.
In 1994, he began releasing material on Noculan Records’ sub-labels Chemo and Coolman. During these years, he produced hardcore/gabber tracks under aliases such as Da Joker and DJ Limited. He was later discovered by the general manager of Rotterdam-based Basic Beat Recordings. In late 1994, he signed to Basic Beat where he met Arny Bink, Tiësto released records on the sub-label Trashcan, founded by Arny, and later created the Guardian Angel sub-label with Arny in which they introduced the popular Forbidden Paradise series. Meanwhile from 1995 to 1996 he released four extended plays on Bonzai Jumps and XTC, sub-labels of Lightning Records. In 1997, Tiësto joined his friend Yves Vandichel on his sub-label, DJ Yves, a division of the now defunct Human Resource label XSV Music. In the fall of 1997, both Arny and Tiësto decided to leave Basic Beat and create their own parent label, now known as Black Hole Recordings, Trashcan was discontinued and Guardian Angel continued releasing music until 2002. Through Black Hole, Tiësto released the Magik series and also created two major sub-labels in 1998; In Trance We Trust and SongBird.
From 1998 to 1999, Tiësto released music on Planetary Consciousness where he met A&R Hardy Heller and invited him to release some records on Black Hole. Tiësto later included the In Search of Sunrise series on SongBird. In 1999, Tiësto joined forces with fellow Dutch deejay Ferry Corsten to create the trance based duo of Gouryella. He also collaborated with Benno de Goeij from 1998 to 2000 under the name Kamaya Painters. Since November 1999, he performed monthly as a resident at Gatecrasher in Sheffield, one of the most popular clubs in England. In 1999 he also played in a 12-hour set, being his longest lasting concert in Amsterdam.
Late in 2000, Tiësto decided to concentrate on his personal work and left Corsten by himself to write and produce Gouryella’s next single with John Ewbank, the record company was demanding more tracks and neither Tiësto or Ferry could work together at the time. Tiësto introduced Armin van Buuren, Johan Gielen and Ferry Corsten to the mainstream with his first compilations and the In Trance We Trust series. Summerbreeze became Tiësto’s debut DJ mix album in the US with the help of a contract signed to Nettwerk. Summerbreeze featured his remix of Delerium’s “Silence”, which spent four weeks in the UK’s Top Ten chart and reached number three in the Billboard dance chart. In Search of Sunrise 2 was released in 2000. Tiësto decided to create a sub-label, known as Magik Muzik. The label began releasing Tiësto’s own releases, but it has also released tracks for the Filterheadz, Oliver Lieb, Mark Norman, Mojado, Phynn and Jes Brieden. The label became a trademark that stands for high quality electronic dance music which was due to the release of Tiësto’s classic dance anthem “Flight 643” in 2001.
In My Memory era (2001–2004)
Tiësto’s fame started to rise in the early 2000s after his set at the first ID&T Innercity party (Live at Innercity: Amsterdam RAI), and the release of In My Memory, his first solo album released in 2001 which contained 10 singles and 5 major hits; The singles from the album were: “Lethal Industry” which was actually produced in 1999 and had only 3 copies released at that time, the track was officially released in 2001 which was remixed by Richard Durand in 2006 along with “Flight 643” which was another leading single that was later adapted with vocals by Suzanne Palmer and released as “643 (Love’s on Fire)”. Other tracks were “Obsession” in which Tiësto worked alongside Junkie XL, the instrumental tracks “Dallas 4PM” and “Suburban Train” with “Urban Train” as its B-Side which contained some vocals. The last singles to be released were “In My Memory” which is the title track for the album as it only received high ratings in the United States and the opening track “Magik Journey” which opened Tiësto in Concert (2003). On February 2, 2002 Tiësto played nine consecutive hours during the second edition of the Dutch Dimension festival. On February 27 he was awarded a Zilveren (‘Silver’) Harp music award. The same year he also received a Lucky Strike Dance Award in the category Best DJ Trance/Progressive. In August he became part of Moby’s Area2 Tour. For eighteen days he travelled through the United States with artists such as Moby himself, but also David Bowie and Busta Rhymes. In January 2003, Tiësto received the annual Dutch Popprijs (‘Pop Award’) during the Noorderslag festival. After touring with Moby, Tiësto remixed two songs from him, “We Are All Made of Stars” and “Extreme Ways” in the same year, having “We Are All Made of Stars” reach number 13 in the Hot Dance Club Play. In 2002 he released his first In Search of Sunrise mix to feature a place on its name, In Search of Sunrise 3: Panama. On March 28, 2003; Tiësto, Dieselboy, Bad Boy Bill, and Noel Sanger joined the PlayStation2 Dual Play tour. Tiësto and Noel’s appearance began on April 13 and ended on June 6.
His fame continued to skyrocket in the early 2000s, following his six-hour “Tiësto Solo” sets which he performed without other DJs or opening acts. This idea, of one DJ playing alone to a large crowd, was brought to its pinnacle when Tiësto was the first DJ to hold a solo concert in a stadium; on May 10, 2003, he performed for over 25,000 people in Arnhem’s GelreDome. This concert was later called Tiësto in Concert, the event was an enormous success. He repeated the same type of concert the following year during two consecutive nights in late October. In addition to holding these two concerts for 35,000 of his fans, he held another concert for a crowd of 20,000 in Hasselt, Belgium the following week. DVDs of both his May 10, 2003 and October 30, 2004 concerts have been released, having the other DVD titled Tiësto in Concert 2. The DVD’s show the journey from the first idea to the main event, it features live performances by Andain, Dinand Woesthoff, and Jan Johnston. The event includes live music and dancers performing at different times throughout the set. The theme of the event is a mystical, musical journey around the world based on the theme of Magik. It consists of 200+ minutes of performances with a second disc with special features, It includes a behind-the-scenes looking at The Making Of the event, the music video for his song “Traffic” and TV Commercials for the event. The second DVD has performances from Aqualung and violin player DJ Mason, Micha Klein and the Bulgarian Children of Orpheus choir. During this period, he was crowned as “No. 1. DJ in the World” by DJ Magazine (UK) in 2002, 2003, and 2004.
Just Be era (2004–2007)
In 2004, he released his second artist album Just Be, which featured his first single “Traffic” which is the first non-vocal track to reach number one spot in the Dutch national charts for 23 years. The track “Sweet Misery” was originally written for Evanescence but it did not meet the deadline for the release of their album. In support to his Just Be album, he played at Breda, Eindhoven, Utrecht, and Amsterdam; these stops were later named Just Be: Train Tour. On May 20, 2004 he was appointed Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
The Olympic Flame at the 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremony
The Athens Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (ATHOC) asked Tiësto to perform at the Olympic Games, making him the first DJ to play live on stage at an Olympic Games at the 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Athens, where he played for 90 minutes. Tiësto flew to Athens in January 2004 to have a meeting with the ATHOC. His Tiësto in Concert DVD caught their attention, after which he was asked to write more tracks based on his opening tune “Adagio for Strings” which could fit in with the Olympic spirit and combine the classical with the modern age; They also requested that he play his own produced music. The first rehearsal was on Saturday August, 7, for an empty stadium; the second rehearsal was on Sunday August 8 with 35,000 volunteers, a lot of the people recognised some tracks like “Traffic” and “Adagio for Strings”. The last rehearsal included almost 60,000 people in the stadium which was on Tuesday August 10, there were some technical problems, the mixer broke down, the monitors dropped out a couple of times and the music in the stadium was not continuously on the right volume.
During the parade on Friday, August 13, 2004, all participating nations introduced their athletes—10,500 in total There were 80,000 spectators, only 75,000 knowing about dance music. During the course of his performance the Dutch athletes started dancing in front of the DJ booth and had to be moved on by officials. The performance included new tracks produced especially for the Opening Ceremony and songs that were created to complement the spirit and theme of the ceremony. A condensed studio-recorded album of the songs played on the Olympic set was later released, including new songs specially composed for the occasion, entitled Parade of the Athletes in October 2004. In the liner notes, he noted the IOC requested that the music not contain any lyrics as they could be inadvertently misinterpreted.
In late 2004, he began his touring across Latin America, with his release of In Search of Sunrise 3: Panama in which he gained influence from the sun and sand in summer 2002. The tour continued in 2005, and Tiësto performed live at Brazil, Argentina, Panama, Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia. Following the tours, In Search of Sunrise 4: Latin America was released in 2005, featuring a second CD for the first time in the In Search of Sunrise series.
In 2005, his Perfect Remixes Vol. 3 compilation was released through Warlock Records, containing ten tracks which were created during the beginning of his career, between those is Junkie XL, Mauro Picotto and The Roc Project. On August 20, 2005, Verwest took Tiësto in Concert to the US when he played to 16,000 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena with Cirque du Soleil dancers. For the second year in a row he performed live at a New Year’s Eve/New Year’s concert in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Orleans Arena to a sell-out crowd. Despite his four-city US tour being postponed due to the hurricane damage in New Orleans and Miami, playing such cities further expanded and cemented his popularity among mainstream audiences. This was surpassed later in summer 2007 when some 250,000 danced on Ipanema Beach, Brazil, becoming the second largest concert in history. BPM magazine has an annual poll in the US which is unveiled in the WMC, in 2005 Tiësto took the No. 1 spot. The influences of Los Angeles remained with him and would later influence his In Search of Sunrise compilation.
Tiësto at Lush! in Portrush, Northern Ireland on March 5, 2005
A wax sculpture of Tiësto was placed behind a turntable at Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam where visitors can mix Tiësto’s music together. In the fall of 2005 he went on a very successful tour across Central and Eastern Europe where he played once in each country to crowds of 10,000 to 15,000 fans. Stops were made in Ukraine, Slovakia, Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia, Poland and South Africa. The United States tour that was part of Tiësto in Concert was dwarfed by his appearance at Sensation White in 2006 where he performed to over 45,000 people in the world’s biggest dance event in Amsterdam, Holland.
In Search of Sunrise 5: Los Angeles was released in 2006 which was certified Gold in Canada for sales over 50,000 copies. It also charted, peaking at number 34 in Canada and number 59 in Austria. The compilation was launched in the Winter Music Conference at Mansion in South Beach Miami to support his release, Tiësto went on his In Search of Sunrise 5 Asia Tour for more than three weeks.
In September 2006, Tiësto was admitted to hospital after experiencing pain in his chest. He was diagnosed with pericarditis and subsequently had to cancel a number of shows. With the diagnosis, he was invited to support Dance4Life to help teens who are not aware of the risks of HIV/AIDS. He was chosen as the official ambassador for the Dance4Life foundation in May 2006, and released the song “Dance4Life” with Maxi Jazz to help spread the awareness of HIV/AIDS.
On April 6, 2007 Tiësto began presenting a new weekly two-hour radio show called Tiësto’s Club Life on Dutch radio station Radio 538. It is syndicated worldwide and later released as a Podcast.
Elements of Life era (2007–2009)
Tiësto performing on his Elements of Life World Tour in Amsterdam on March 16, 2007
On April 16, 2007, Tiësto released his third studio album Elements of Life, the album moved 73,000 units in its April release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. During the production of the album Tiësto in several cases sent a demo with the music to certain artists, and they replied back with the lyrics and vocals and other duration times. In the case of Christian Burns from BBMak, Tiësto met him through MySpace and got in contact with him and the production of the single “In the Dark”. The album consists of rock, trance and experimental music, which shows the style Tiësto has grown throughout the years since his previous albums which contained lyrics, In My Memory and Just Be. Producer Brian Transeau collaborated with Tiësto in three tracks, he composed “Bright Morningstar” and “Sweet Things”, he also performed the vocals in the single “Break My Fall”. Together, they produced more tracks which were not released in the album, Tiësto has mentioned they would work again during the coming summer. In December 2007 it was announced that the album was nominated for a Grammy Award, in the category “Best Electronic/Dance Album.” The album also received gold certifications in Belgium, Hungary, Netherlands, and Romania. A special release party was held at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam on November 3, 2007 for In Search of Sunrise 6: Ibiza.
His last three full-length releases broke the 70,000 mark, and the 2003 2CD compilation Nyana recently hit 87,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In support of the album, he embarked on his Elements of Life World Tour which had shows across the world. Tiësto’s performance at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark on November 10, 2007 was also sold out. The Copenhagen: Elements of Life World Tour DVD was released in a party which was held on February 29, 2008 in London at the IndigO2 club.
Tiësto announced his residence at Privilege, officially recognised by the Guinness World Records as being the largest club in the world. He played in Ibiza every Monday, from July 7 until September 22. The gigs consisted of sets in the style of his In Search of Sunrise series. In 2007, he had released In Search of Sunrise 6: Ibiza which was inspired by the island. The residencies also featured the performance of guest deejays, all selected by Tiësto, such as Chris Lake, Andy Duguid, Mat Zo, Cosmic Gate, Alex Kunnari and Sander van Doorn as well as exclusive appearances by Fonzerelli and Airbase.
Tiësto at the O2 Arena in London on August 8, 2008
On April 28, Tiësto released Elements of Life: Remixed, a recompilation of the Elements of Life album with all songs being replaced by remixed versions. In mid-2008, Tiësto announced his In Search of Sunrise: Summer Tour 2008, which will be presented by Armani Exchange on May in support of his upcoming In Search of Sunrise 7: Asia compilation and the previously released In Search of Sunrise 6: Ibiza. On August 8, 2008, Tiësto became the first DJ to perform at the famous O2 Arena in London as part of his In Search of Sunrise 7 summer tour, the event was sold out with a capacity of 20,000 people. Earlier that day, Tiësto had performed in-store at Armani Exchange on Regent Street in central London.
Tiësto performing on Queen’s Day on April 30, 2009 at Museumplein in Amsterdam
A sole production was prepared for Tiësto from June 8 to September 21 for his return at club Privilege for the second year in a row on Monday nights, after a successful year as a resident in 2008. During his time at Privilege he previewed tracks from his upcoming artist album. InTheBooth, the official members-only fansite of Tiësto launched July 17, 2009. On July 31, he was the first DJ to perform for 25,000 people at an exclusive outdoor concert in Victoria Park, London.
Kaleidoscope era (2009–present)
On October 6, 2009, Tiësto released his fourth studio album Kaleidoscope, which featured artists such as Priscilla Ahn, Calvin Harris, Tegan & Sara and Nelly Furtado. Unlike his earlier albums, which were all mostly trance, Kaleidoscope explores other electronic genres, and is considered Tiesto’s most experimental album. The first single “I Will Be Here” featuring Sneaky Sound System being released in July 2009. In its first week, the album reached the Top 10 chart on iTunes.
To release the album he has set up a new record label called Musical Freedom after parting ways with Black Hole Recordings. Tiësto felt that his music was evolving in a new direction and his focus as an artist was moving away from what Black Hole was set up to support. His new tour, sharing the name of his new album, called Kaleidoscope World Tour commenced in late September.
Tiësto contributed songs to both DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2 video games and is a playable character in the second game. He contributed two exclusive mixes to the second game, and used content from DJ Hero 2 to create the official video for his single ‘Speed Rail’ – the world’s first music video to be created entirely using in-game footage.
Tiësto has produced a trance-flavoured song on Memphis rap duo Three 6 Mafia’s upcoming album Laws of Power called “Feel It,” which features Flo Rida and Sean Kingston.
On March 16, 2010, Tiësto released his greatest hits album called Magikal Journey: The Hits Collection 1998-2008, a two disc album focusing on his most famous songs and remixes of his songs.
On April 7, 2010, Tiësto announced that he would start a new compilation series called A New Dawn with his own label Musical Freedom. In his interview Tiësto furthermore confirmed that he would no longer have any more involvement with Black Hole Recordings.
On August 31, 2010, Kaleidoscope: Remixed was released, a remix album of his album Kaleidoscope.
On December 11, 2010, Tiësto was one of the headlining acts at ZoukOut 2010, which was held in Singapore at Siloso Beach, Sentosa Island.
On April 4, 2011, his mix compilation Club Life: Volume One Las Vegas was released. 
On June 13, 2011, his studio album Kiss from the Past was released under his alias Allure.
On January 6, 2005, Tiësto performed in an outdoor fundraiser in De Dam, Amsterdam. The event was free, and many famous Dutch artists like Dinand Woesthoff, BLØF, Acda & De Munnik, Di-rect, Berget Lewis, Xander de Buisonjé and Trijntje Oosterhuis were involved in it to provide financial aid to the people who suffered from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Southern and Southeastern Asia. All profits made of all TV commercials and live broadcast were given to the organisations collecting the relief funds.
In April 2006, Tiësto was named the official worldwide ambassador for the Dance4Life foundation promoting awareness of HIV/AIDS, as the foundation’s ambassador he has helped the organisation with fundraising along with recording the track “Dance4life” that he recorded with Maxi Jazz from Faithless. The foundation consists on a better way of living with safe sex in exchange of entertainment to the young crowd. The song was a huge success, peaking for five weeks in number 3 and eleven consecutive weeks in the Top 10 of the Dutch Singles Chart, it also reached number 5 in Belgium, number 6 in Finland and also charting in the UK and Germany. With the successful release of Elements of Life, Tiësto and fashion designer Giorgio Armani collaborated together on a limited edition Tiësto T-shirt available at Armani Exchange stores. His single “Sweet Things” comes with the shirt including an exclusive “A|X Remix” by Tom Cloud which shows the great influence Tiësto has in fashion culture. The charity raised over US$300,000. On November 29, 2008 artists like Tiësto himself, Sied van Riel, Leon Bolier, Joop, and MC Gunner presented a concert at The Sand, Amsterdam promoted by Dance4Life, the sales from the event will go to the foundation to support next year’s Schools4Life project.
Until early 2006, Tiësto was in a relationship with Dutch model Monique Spronk. On January 10, 2008, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf announced that Tiësto and his girlfriend Stacey Blokzijl were going to get married on October 10, 2008 in Cartagena, Colombia. He proposed to her in December 2007 while they were visiting Mauritius. Tiësto cancelled his wedding for October 10, because he claimed to have a busy schedule and too little time for the preparations. During Christmas 2008, Blokzijl broke off the engagement due to the constant delays to their wedding.
Main article: Tiësto discography