09/29/2016 10:41 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Felix Jaehn Discusses Germany, Playing the Violin and "Cheerleader"


Photo Credit: Jens Koch

Felix Jaehn is making a huge splash on the electronic music scene. The 22-year-old DJ established himself in 2015 when he remixed OMI's "Cheerleader." The song dominated radio stations all across the world. With the upcoming release of his music video for Chris Lake's remix of his hit "Bonfire" featuring ALMA set to drop on Friday, I recently got the chance to talk to the young DJ about his rise to the top. When reflecting back on his younger years, Jaehn told me, "Life was great for me. I love Europe. I love the United States as well. Growing up in Germany was really good. I had a happy childhood. I still live there right now and I love it." He loves it so much that he makes sure to visit his homeland as often as he can. In an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post, he said, "I'm home every other week at least for a day to change my clothes and repack my bags. Then I go wherever I have to again. Touring is getting more and more global. It's really exciting to go to Australia, Panama, India and to the United States quite frequently." Life is getting more hectic for the DJ but he feels at ease. When he does have a little bit of downtime, he usually finds himself occupied. With a big smile, Jaehn said, "I end up working anyway usually because work is so much fun. It doesn't feel like it is work for me. I get to produce music, check my emails and engage with my fans on social media. I'm really, really thankful." Jaehn's appreciation for his support system and upbringing showed every time he spoke.

The gifted DJ had an interesting passion when he was a child--he loved to play the violin. With a shy smirk, Felix Jaehn said, "I guess it kind of started when I was a kid. I played violin for a few years. I really wanted to do it. My parents wanted to convince me to play the drums or the guitar instead. They were like, 'C'mon kid why do you want to play the violin? Just play the guitar. It's the more obvious choice!' For some reason I just loved the sound of the strings. At that time I was only 6 years old. It was a really early decision. I quit when I was 14 years old because I also played soccer and tennis and I couldn't do everything at the same time. You only have 24 hours in a day, and you can't have a soccer match and play at the orchestra at the same time...It just doesn't work out. So I stuck to sports." Jaehn's athletic endeavors did not last too long however. He continued, "When I was a teenager, around 16 years old, I lived in New Zealand for 3 months and I started going to a lot of birthday parties during the weekends. I just figured out I always wanted to be in charge of the music. Everyone was sitting around drinking beer and I would go, 'I want to put on this song right now. It would be perfect for the vibe.' I was the annoying kid plugging my phone into the stereo. Someone has to do it. From there, I kind of kept developing. So I got my equipment and fog machine and then I started doing birthday parties for friends. I started playing student nights. I did all of that when I was 16 or 17 years old. I finished high school when I was 17. I decided I wanted to keep pushing for that so I moved to London for a year to study music production and music business. I lived in London and it inspired me. I played the Ministry Of Sound and Pacha which are historic nightclubs. It was a really great year." From playing very intimate birthday parties for friends to performing at some of the most legendary venues on the planet, Jaehn's dedication to keep improving never faltered.


Photo Credit: Jens Koch

When asked what it took to get to his level, Jaehn shook his head, "I started writing and producing my own music. I would then upload it to SoundCloud. I started to grow my own little fanbase on the internet. I sent out over 300 emails per day to bloggers just to desperately hope that someone would hear my music. From there, it went step by step and got bigger and bigger." He believes that other people can also make it in the music business today. He said, "The great thing about these days is that I feel like people have all the tools to do it themselves. You can upload your music to SoundCloud. You can design your artwork or just buy a stock photo that looks nice and fits the vibe of the song. And then you can send out emails to bloggers and eventually it will get heard. That's how it could work." Without missing a beat--he followed up by saying, "You just need to really want it." When recalling special memories in his journey, Jaehn told me, "There were many tiny moments. I could say the first student night at a club was one of those moments. If I didn't play back then I probably wouldn't be a DJ today. Opening at the Ministry Of Sound in London was one of those big moments as well. Releasing my first vinyl is another example. Signing the big record deals. Having the first big chart 'Cheerleader' take the world by storm. There were no more doubts after that." After making sure to acknowledge his past, Jaehn went into detail about how OMI's "Cheerleader" established him as one of the hottest acts in the music industry.

"The song was sent to me by the record company. They went 'Hey Felix, this song doesn't go anywhere. We feel like we need a remix right now because the original was a reggae song. It was a big hit in Jamaica but it didn't connect with the rest of the world.' I went 'Wow, Ultra is a big fucking label. Let's give it a shot.' The song had a really great, positive vibe. So I said 'please send over the a cappella' and I just started working on it," Felix Jaehn said. He followed up with a victorious smile, "It just felt right. I released it. Nothing happened for the first few months. Suddenly it picked up on Spotify. It had its own dynamic and you couldn't stop it even if you wanted it to. It is worldwide. That's the crazy thing. A kid from Germany having a number one hit. I still can't believe it."

Believe it. Felix Jaehn is here to stay. To get you in the mood for the music video launch this Friday, check out Chris Lake's remix of Felix Jaehn's "Bonfire" below. You can also follow Felix on his social media platforms at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud.