Dutch wunderkind Martin Garrix, who has collaborated with everyone from Usher to Christina Aguilera, climbed to the top of DJ Mag’s annual top 100 DJs poll last year, making history as the youngest person to snag the honor. But perhaps more impressive? When the 21-year-old hit the road with Justin Bieber — manager Scooter Braun reps them both — earlier this year, he managed to win over the shriek-inducing pop star’s famously rabid, fiercely loyal fans.
“I think everyone’s going to stare at me and wait until Bieber goes on, but then the first show in Perth, Australia, the place absolutely exploded. It was a really cool experience. They have so much energy,” he says of his experience with the infamous “Beliebers.”
Today, Garrix is releasing a new single with Troye Sivan called “There for You,” which he premiered with Sivan at the second weekend of Coachella last month. He has already achieved more than most twice his age, including launching his own record label, STMPD RCRDS, and scoring three MTV Europe Music Awards. But he still has a long wish list, including working with Pharrell Williams and launching a clothing brand with his signature “+x” logo.
“It would definitely be cool to have something like that one day,” he says. Until then, he opts for “really dope” designer streetwear from favorites like Virgil Abloh of Off-White. “I just like cool s–t. [Abloh] just does whatever he wants musically and clothing-wise.”
Garrix has also served as the face for several Adidas campaigns, including its new Footlocker EU Teorado line.
The precocious musician, who grew up in the suburbs of Amsterdam, started experimenting with sounds on his computer at the age of 10. “I used to put my guitar melodies into the computer and then one moment I fell in love with electronic music,” says Garrix, who watched tutorials online to learn the tricks of the trade. “I think mostly just doing something accidentally and then being, like, ‘Oh, this sounds sick,’” he explains of his process during the early days. Soon, he begged his parents to let him switch schools so he could hone his skills with the pros.
“I said, ‘Mom, Dad, I love making music. Can I please go to this producer school?’ And they said, ‘If you’re happy, we’re happy,” he recalls. He now lives five minutes away from his parents and often comes home for dinner when he’s in town.
That same year, in 2013, he released “Animals,” which topped the pop charts — uncommon for an instrumental song — and then attended Ultra Music Festival in Miami as a fan. “Fatboy Slim played a song of mine on the main stage while I was in the crowd, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” recalls Garrix, who booked the main stage in 2014, before closing out the electronic music fest in 2015. “It was very crazy. Everything that’s happening right now feels very unreal,” Garrix admits.
Despite a packed schedule, including gigs in the U.S. and Europe and two summer residencies in Ibiza, the modelizer is certainly enjoying the spoils of success. A few recent highlights from his globetrotting life include jet skiing in Sweden with Bieber, canoodling with model Charelle Schriek in the Maldives, and kicking it poolside with his entourage at elaborate Coachella-adjacent digs, with Airbnb picking up the tab, taking fest swag to a whole new level.
“I had to give up some things in my childhood to live this life, but there’s been so many amazing moments,” he says. “It’s all about the people you surround yourself with, and I have an amazing group of people around me. It makes all the craziness a little bit more normal, and also it’s magic because I get to share all these experiences.”