He has worked with Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, LMFAO, Flo Rida, Fergie, and Jennifer Hudson. His music fills dance floors all over the world. And after 30 years of mixing beats, French house music producer David Guetta finally nabbed the #1 spot on America’s Top 40, for the first time in his career. His wildly popular track “Without You” is clearly his biggest hit to date, aided by the superstar power of Usher and a pop sound that even radio DJs can’t resist.
American radio has been slow to the dance party, often shying away from airing dance tracks and remixes. Whether it is the extended length of most dance songs or the fear that they won’t be received well when there’s no strobe light or a drink in their listeners’ hands, success for house music on popular radio has been rare.
The same resistance isn’t felt the world over, as evidenced by David Guetta’s international success. He has reached #1 in the UK three times and has sold over 15 million singles worldwide. While he has only had one song reach the Top 5 in the US — “Sexy Bitch” featuring Akon — his status as the hottest DJ in the world is clearly well earned.
One might think that collaborations with Rihanna, Nicki Minaj or Fergie would guarantee massive commercial hits, but only “Without You” managed to overcome the usual obstacles to mainstream radio success in the United States. Usher is embraced in both the pop and R&B worlds, and many of his tracks are club-thumping dance tracks, with or without Mr. Guetta. Add in a lyric theme of yearning for love that seems necessary for any song to succeed on the radio these days and a feel-good video that looks more like a Coke commercial than a club anthem, and that comprises the winning formula for the track.
The success of the French DJ continues to rely on collaboration with diverse and successful artists. Helping his music to break out of the clubs, his current album “Nothing But the Beat” relies on the talents of everyone from Taio Cruz to to Sia. Irony is not lost on an album called “Nothing But the Beat” that features the vocal stylings of 17 different singers, from all genres of music. The roster includes Chris Brown, will.i.am, and Jessie J, to name a few.
Whether or not these pairings will result in the same massive success as “Without You” is impossible to predict, but the path has clearly been paved for American radio to finally embrace house music, and all that David Guetta has to offer.