Norwegian-British Alan Walker is one of the most lucrative artists in Norway today. He has created his own unique gaming-inspired, future dystopian universe. He uses drones and solar storms and his followers call themselves Walkers. Now, the masked YouTuber has released a new album “World of Walkers.
Alan Olav Walker was born in 1997, with Norwegian mother and British dad. From the very beginning Alan was interested in computers, and in particular programming and designing. In 2012, Walker was listening to a song by Italian DJ David Whistle (also known as DJ Ness) and reached out to him to find out how he produced his music. Also inspired by film composers like Hans Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky, he started producing music on his laptop and started his career under the name DJ Walkzz.
Related: World Music From Norway
Learning music through YouTube tutorials
Alan was new to music, so he started learning music through YouTube tutorials; eventually, he started uploading his music on SoundCloud and YouTube and improved his music based on listener feedback. After 2 years, in 2014, when he was 17 years old, he released his new song “Fade”. However, the song didn’t get popular until it was re-released by NCS (No Copywrite Sounds) the following year, and this time it became the most popular video on NCS. “Faded” was certified platinum in 14 countries and his following songs attracted millions of views. The single also left him with a BRIT awards nomination for Song of the Year, as well as a Norwegian Grammy win in the same category. Now, he used his designing experience to create his own logo.
Evil tongues spread the rumor that the high numbers were only due to Walker choosing to publish the music free of charge, that the song could be used for free, and thus spread on a much larger scale than it would otherwise do. Walker replied that he only wanted to make something people liked to listen to.
Finishing his first trilogy
In 2016, he performed his first live in Norway’s winter x game; till this time, he had released many songs, and again in 2016, he released a new song, Sing Me to Sleep, featuring female vocalist Iselin Solheim, the same vocalist as in “Faded”. The song topped iTunes charts in 7 countries. Its music video on YouTube has over 570 million views, and it also reached 250 million plays on Spotify.
Another single titled “Alone” was also released same year, incorporating uncredited Swedish singer Noonie Bao. The music video on YouTube has over 1 billion views and the track also gained over 390 million plays on Spotify. The song was described as “the final piece of a trilogy consisting of ‘Faded’, ‘Sing Me To Sleep’ and ‘Alone'” by Gunnar Greeve, Walker’s manager and co-writer for the single.
After building a massive social-following and releasing a string of successful singles like Alone and Darkside, collaborating with artists like Ava Max, Noah Cyrus, Sia, Bruno Mars and Coldplay, the chart-topping debut album Different World arrived in late 2018, amassing over 3,2 billion streams on Spotify.
The most subscribed channel in Norway
At the beginning of 2017, Walker’s YouTube channel became the most subscribed channel registered in Norway, after passing about 4.5 million subscribers, and had the most views among Norwegian YouTubers at around 7.7 billion views as of 25 January 2020. Between February and April, he toured around America, including attending the Euphoria Festival in Texas. In 2019, Alan’s music video ”Diamond Heart” received a nomination for Best Cinematography at the Berlin Music Video Awards. His music video for ”Heading Home” featuring Ruben appears on the festival’s 2021 Silver Screenings selection list.
A traveling artist
Alan has played over 600 headlining shows and festivals to date, including Coachella and Tomorrowland, in addition to selling out his worldwide arena tours Aviation Tour. He has between 200 and 300 travel days a year, which has triggered Pandion membership with SAS / Star Alliance. The level is above the official memberships, and there is no information on what triggers it. Alan Walker does not know either.
Walker has almost secured himself a permanent position on the top 100 list on Spotify since he broke through, together with another Norwegian artist, Kygo, also from Bergen.
With over 115 million followers across his social platforms, 89.7 billion YouTube views, and a staggering 50 billion audio and video streams, the young artist from Bergen seems to have a bright future ahead of him.
The Immensely Popular Masked Norwegian YouTuber, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): From Walker’s Aviation Tour.