Alan Olav Walker (born 24 August 1997) is a British-Norwegian music producer and DJ primarily known for the critically acclaimed single “Faded” (2015), which was certified platinum in 14 countries. He has also made several songs including “Sing Me to Sleep“, “Alone“, “Darkside“, and “On My Way“, all of which attracted millions of views on YouTube.
In early 2017, Walker’s channel emerged as the most subscribed YouTube channel registered in Norway, with 6 million subscribers. As of March 2023, his channel is still most subscribed in Norway, achieving 43 million subscribers on 11 March 2023. He also has the most views of any Norwegian creator, with approximately 12.1 billion views as of 21 January 2023.
Alan Olav Walker was born on 24 August 1997 in Northampton, England, to Anglo-Scottish British Philip Alan Walker, and his Norwegian wife Hilde Omdal Walker. As a result, by his international parental inheritance, he was granted dual citizenship from both the United Kingdom and Norway.
He grew up with two siblings, an elder sister named Camilla, who was also born in England; and a younger brother named Andreas, who was born in Norway. At the age of two, he and his family moved to Bergen. Walker later found interest in computers, a hobby which has driven him deeper to computing graphical design, and musical programming. He initially had no musical background, but was able to teach himself by watching YouTube tutorials based on musical production.
You may identify him by his trademark mask and hoodie, yet behind the mysterious character is the Norwegian artist, DJ and producer Alan Walker. With more than 20 billion audio and video streams worldwide, and almost 60 million followers across social media, it is safe to say that the 22-year old has already put a lasting imprint on the music scene since he first made his mark a few years ago. Following the release of his debut album “Different World” in December 2018, Walker is about to reach a whole new level in his career. Born in Northampton, England to a Norwegian mother and British father, Walker moved with his family to Bergen, Norway, at the age of two. Being a true post-millennial child, he grew up surrounded by technology and became fascinated by programming, gaming and graphic design. Inspired by EDM pioneers as well as his natural love for film scores, Walker quickly converged his inspiration and musical influences when he first started to experiment with music production. He shared his creations with the world, making use of the tools of the digital age, with early tracks gaining traction and millions of plays on YouTube and SoundCloud. Through innovative and forward-thinking formats such as online label NoCopyrightSounds, his music was exposed to fans across the globe. One of these tracks was later re-released as the commercial debut “Faded” at the end of 2015. The single quickly spread like wildfire and has since earned multi-platinum certifications around the world, and billions of plays across streaming services. A string of popular singles has followed, including “Alone”, “All Falls Down” and “Diamond Heart”. Through his successful run of releases, Walker has also collaborated with and remixed music from Noah Cyrus, A$AP Rocky, Steve Aoki, Sia, Bruno Mars, Avicii, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Kygo, Charli XCX, Julia Michaels and more. Today, Alan Walker is one of the most in-demand and sought-after artists in the scene, and continuously one of the 100 most popular artists on Spotify. He has had an impressive run of more than 600 headliner and festival shows, including Coachella, Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, Lollapalooza and more. He recently wrapped up a successful Different World Tour in North America. In addition, he has supported global superstars such as Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Kygo. And despite his short career span to date, some of his awards and nominations include 2x Norwegian Grammy, 3x MTV EMA, BRIT Awards, Billboard 21 under 21, and the #17 spot on DJ MAG Top 100. But beyond the impressive accolades and staggering numbers, what makes Walker special is his ability to engage fans around the world with his creations. The community of “Walker’s” find a sense of refuge, belonging and unity amongst each other, all sharing a common fascination for Walker’s melancholic and emotional music, as well as distinct, refreshing and mysterious creative universe. And with the entire world as his playground and the majority of his career still ahead of him, it’s impossible to predict what the future holds for the young artist who has slowly become the voice of his generation.
2012–2016: Career beginnings and breakthrough
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. He was inspired by EDM producers K-391 and Ahrix, and by film composers like Hans Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky. He started producing his music on his laptop using FL Studio. In July 2012, with the help and feedback from his fans online, he began pursuing his music production career and slowly began posting his music to YouTube and SoundCloud. Starting as a bedroom producer, he was better known as DJ Walkzz before signing a record deal and releasing his debut single in 2014.
Walker released the track “Fade” on 17 August 2014. The track gained attention after its re-release via the record label NoCopyrightSounds on 19 November 2014. Walker stated that the creation of the track was inspired by K-391 and Ahrix, whose tracks were also picked up by the record label. The track has over 400 million views on YouTube. 115 million plays on Spotify, and 41 million streams on SoundCloud. The tracks “Spectre” and “Force” followed in 2015.
Walker signed with MER Musikk under Sony Music Sweden and released his next single, “Faded“, a remastered vocal version of “Fade”. It was released on 8 December 2015 and featured uncredited Naustdal pop singer Iselin Solheim. The single topped the year-end charts in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden, iTunes charts in 33 countries, as well as entering top 10 in Spotify Global Chart. The music video on YouTube has over 3.4 billion views and 26 million likes, placing it among the top 10 most-liked YouTube videos. It has over 1.7 billion plays on Spotify, and is also one of the Top 10 Most Shazamed tracks of 2016. The single also received official remixes from Tiësto, Dash Berlin, and Hardwell. He later released an acoustic “restrung” version of the song, with all the EDM elements taken out
Walker quit high school in January to pursue his music career. On 27 February, Walker made his performance debut at the Winter X Games in Oslo, where he performed 15 tracks including the song “Faded” together with Iselin Solheim. By March, Walker had produced 30 to 40 songs in total, but “Faded” marks his first single with Sony Music Sweden, and the first to achieve such global success. On 7 April, Walker teamed up with Zara Larsson at the Echo Awards in Germany. Together they performed each other’s songs “Faded” and “Never Forget You“. Four weeks previously, he achieved the first place on NRJ Euro Hot 30 for the first time, which only has been achieved by one other Norwegian artist, Kygo.
The single “Sing Me to Sleep” was released on 3 June, 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 on 2 December of that same year, incoperating uncredited Swedish singer Noonie Bao. The music video on YouTube has over 1 billion views, 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.
On 21 and 22 December, Walker held the concert “Alan Walker is Heading Home” in his hometown Bergen at USF Verftet, where he performed 16 songs and tracks together with Angelina Jordan, Marius Samuelsen, Alexandra Rotan, Yosef Wolde-Mariam, and Tove Styrke as singers. The concert was officially live-streamed on YouTube. He premiered several unreleased tracks, including a restrung version of “Sing Me to Sleep”, as well as “Heading Home”, the latter of which was first performed during his debut at Winter X Games. The song “The Spectre”, a remastered version of his earlier track “Spectre”, was also performed during the concert.
On 23 December, Walker released the video for the single “Routine”, which premiered on his concert in Bergen two days earlier and on some concerts on the “Walker Tour”. The track was made in collaboration with David Whistle. Its music video on YouTube has over 58 million views, and 47 million plays on Spotify.
2017–present: Different World, World of Walker and other projects
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.
On 26 November 2021, Alan Walker released his second studio album titled “World of Walker”, which consists of 15 tracks, primarily made in electropop and EDM. In 2022, he announced his new Walkerverse world tour, alongside his upcoming album of the same name that will be released in two parts. The first part was released on June 17, 2022, which consists of five tracks: a remix of “Adventure Time”, originally written and produced by Philter, “Somebody Like U” with Au/Ra, “Blue” with Ina Wroldsen, and previously-released songs “The Drum” featuring uncredited vocals by Kristin Carpenter and “Hello World” with Torine. The second part, “Walkerverse, Pt. 2” as of yet contains five songs: “Extremes” with Trevor Daniel, “Shut Up” with UPSAHL, “Catch me if you can” with Sorana, “Lovesick” with Sophie Simmons, and “Ritual”.
In late 2021, Walker’s contract with NoCopyrightSounds expired, meaning that his releases on the label (namely Fade, Spectre and Force) were taken off of NoCopyrightSounds’ catalogue and from streaming platforms. The songs would then be redistributed in July of 2022, as part of his deal with Corite.
In 2023, Walker signed with the Swedish website Corite, which allows fans to invest in a music project. Walker has already raised over $100,000 from fans for his next musical product. Walker already has two songs on the platform, the first called Origins and the second, a project with The Walkers, called Unity.
Walker was originally known as “DJ Walkzz” or “Walkzz” when he started out. He ended up using his real name, Alan Walker, as his artist name after signing up with a record label. He designed his logo in 2013, a symbol consisting of intertwined letters “A” and “W” which are the initials of his name. He uses a hoodie and face mask when he performs on stage. When asked why he uses a mask during an interview with Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, he stated that “It is to keep a low profile while maintaining the mental image they have given me. I think it’s pretty cool. A little twist that makes people ask themselves questions about who really is the person behind Alan Walker.” On an episode of his Unmasked series, he stated that “The mask is more of a sign and a symbol of unity and being alike each other, rather than me being different.”
Alan Walker has generally been well-received by critics. His music has been praised for its creative production, unique style, and melodic sound. Critics have also noted the strong emotional impact of his music. However, many have criticized Alan Walker’s music for being too repetitive and lacking in lyrical content. Other critics have been divided on his use of vocal samples, with some praising it for adding an extra layer of emotion to his music while others have argued that it detracts from the overall appeal of the music. Additionally, Walker received criticism from a “walkthrough” video on the production of his song “Alone“, via the YouTube channel Future Music Magazine. Due to his co-producer Mood Melodies‘s extensive involvement in the production of the song, the video was met with backlash from many of Walker’s fans, who considered Mood Melodies as his “ghost-producer“.
Julie Bergan replacement
In 2022, Alan Walker created a song titled “Ritual” which had been played numerous times on his performances before release on November 2022, the same date as he released “Walkerverse. pt. II”, an EP the song originally was part of. The song ended up being released as a single due to issues. Julie Bergan, a Norwegian singer-songwriter Walker collaborated with, before was allegedly part of the song’s creation as she accompanied Walker as a singer for the song noticeably on performances. The song featuring her voice was frequently used in teasers for the second part of the Walkerverse album, but they were ultimately unused in the final song.
Upon release, many fans were critical of the new singer and deemed her vocals inferior to Bergan’s. Bergan’s manager Cecile Torp-Holte stated that there was no agreement between her and MER on using Bergan’s vocals. According to Torp-Holte, six concerts were planned in the US where Bergan was to perform with Walker, including a performance of “Ritual” as part of a larger agreement. She also said that the song’s original release date was October 28, and the negotiations on sharing rights collapsed shortly before.
- Different World (2018)
- World of Walker (2021)
- Walker Tour (2016–2018)
- The World of Walker Tour (2018)
- Different World Tour (2018–2019)
- Aviation Tour (2019)
- Walkerverse: The Tour (2022–2023)
|November 23, 2018||Stockholm, Sweden||Nobelberget|
|November 24, 2018||Gothenburg, Sweden||Pustervik|
|November 30, 2018||Berlin, Germany||Columbiahalle|
|December 1, 2018||Poznan, Poland||Hala NR 2 MTP|
|December 3, 2018||Munich, Germany||Zenith|
|December 4, 2018||Paris, France||Olympia|
|December 6, 2018||Amsterdam, Netherlands||Paradiso|
|December 7, 2018||Luxembourg City, Luxembourg||Rockhal|
|December 8, 2018||Cologne, Germany||Paladium|
|December 13, 2018||London, United Kingdom||The Roundhouse|
|December 14, 2018||Manchester, United Kingdom||Albert Hall|
|December 15, 2018||Belfast, United Kingdom||Limelight 1|
|February 2, 2019||Seattle, Washington State||Showbox SoDo|
|February 3, 2019||Vancouver, British Columbia||Commodore Ballroom|
|February 5, 2019||Portland, Oregon||Roseland Theatre|
|February 6, 2019||Eugene, Oregon||McDonald Theatre|
|February 7, 2019||Oakland, Washington State||Fox Theatre|
|February 8, 2019|
|February 9, 2019||Los Angeles, California||Belasco Theatre|
|February 10, 2019||Pomona, California||Fox Theatre|
|February 12, 2019||Tucson, Arizona||Rialto|
|February 14, 2019||Houston, Texas||Stereo Love|
|February 15, 2019||Austin, Texas||Emo’s|
|February 16, 2019||Dallas, Texas||Crush: Southside Ballroom (Festival)|
|February 17, 2019||New Orleans, Louisiana||Metropolitan|
|February 18, 2019||Atlanta, Georgia||Buckhead Theatre|
|February 19, 2019||Raleigh, North Carolina||The Ritz|
|February 20, 2019||Charlotte, North Carolina||The Fillmore|
|February 21, 2019||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Theatre Of Living Arts|
|February 22, 2019||Brooklyn, New York||Great Hall At Avant Gardner|
|October 27, 2019||Chengdu, China||Huaxi LIVE·528 M Space|
|October 29, 2019||Shanghai, China||Mercedes-Benz Arena|
|November 2, 2019||Foshan, China||GBA International Sports & Cultural Center|
|November 9, 2019||Oslo, Norway||Spektrum Arena|
|December 6, 2019||Bengaluru, India||Ozone Urbana|
|December 7, 2019||Mumbai, India||Mahalaxmi Racecourse|
|December 8, 2019||Delhi, India||Backyard Sports Club|
|September 28, 2022||Manchester, United Kingdom||MANCHESTER ACADEMY|
|September 28, 2022||London, United Kingdom||O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON|
|October 1, 2022||Merksem, Belgium||LOTTO ARENA|
|October 6, 2022||Hamburg, Germany||SPORTHALLE HAMBURG|
|October 7, 2022||Düsseldorf, Germany||MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC HALLE|
|October 8, 2022||Krakow, Poland||TAURON ARENA|
|October 12, 2022||Vienna, Austria||ST MARX HALLEN|
|October 14, 2022||Zürich, Switzerland||HALLE 622|
|October 15, 2022||Milan, Italy||FABRIQUE|
|October 19, 2022||Amsterdam, The Netherlands||AFAS LIVE|
|October 20, 2022||Paris, France||ZENITH|
|October 21, 2022||Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg||ROCKHAL|
|October 22, 2022||Frankfurt, Germany||JAHRHUNDERHALLE|
|November 3, 2022||Dallas, Texas||SOUTH SIDE BALLROOM|
|November 4, 2022||Austin, Texas||CONCOURSE|
|November 5, 2022||Houston, Texas||BAYOU MUSIC CENTER|
|November 8, 2022||Atlanta, Georgia||BUCKHEAD THEATER|
|November 9, 2022||Washington, D.C.||ECHOSTAGE|
|November 11, 2022||Brooklyn, New York||GREAT HALL|
|November 15, 2022||Boston, Massachusetts||HOUSE OF BLUES|
|November 16, 2022||Montreal, Canada||MTELUS|
|November 17, 2022||Montreal, Canada||MTELUS|
|November 18, 2022||Toronto, Canada||REBEL|
|November 19, 2022||Chicago, USA||RADIUS|
|November 25, 2022||Vancouver, BC, Canada||HARBOUR EVENT & CONVENTION CENTRE|
|November 26, 2022||Portland, Oregon||ROSELAND THEATER|
|November 29, 2022||Denver, Colorado||MISSION BALLROOM|
|December 2, 2022||Los Angeles, California||HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM|
|December 3, 2022||San Francisco, California||BILL GRAHAM CIVIC AUDITORIUM|
|January 6, 2023||Hong Kong||ASIA-WORLD EXPO|
- Rihanna – Anti World Tour (2016)
- Justin Bieber – Purpose World Tour (2017)
- Martin Garrix – Thursdays at Ushuaïa
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Alan Walker
Walker was nominated for a wide variety of accolades. He won most of them including Årets Musikk Music of the Year from Gullsnutten; Best Norwegian Act at MTV Europe Music Awards, European Border Breakers Award and Public Choice Award from EBBA Awards ’17; Best New Talent at WDM Radio Awards and Swiss Music Awards; Eksportprisen ’16, The Export Prize ’16 at Spellemannprisen and Music Norway; Best Norwegian Act from MTV Europe Music Awards; Best Breakthrough Artist as awarded by International Dance Music Awards; Best Norwegian Act by MTV Europe Music Awards; as well as Årets Spellemann Spellemann of the Year from Spellemannprisen ’18. His song, “Faded” was awarded The Cannes Lions Award at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Best International Hit from Eska Music Awards, and Spellemannprisen ’16’s Årets Låt Song of the Year, and the Best Western Artist of the Year. At the NRJ Music Awards Norge, the song “Sing Me to Sleep” won the Årets Norske Låt Norwegian Song of the Year.
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