A husky-voiced soul ballad from Holland’s answer to John Legend and a twee folk-pop ditty from a little-known French-Israeli duo wouldn’t appear the most obvious candidates to become the two biggest dance anthems of 2014. But thanks to their sun-kissed remixes from German producer/DJ Robin Schulz, Mr. Probz’s “Waves” and Lilly Wood & The Prick’s “Prayer In C” have virtually defined this summer’s soundtrack.
The 27-year-old producer’s formula is admittedly pretty simple: take an existing acoustic and melancholic track and slap some bongo taps and blissful house beats over it to produce a Balearic anthem suitable for both the sundown and the sunrise. But with both of the aforementioned tracks topping the charts across Europe, as well as currently making waves on the U.S. Hot 100, it’s one which he has undeniably perfected.
A virtual unknown outside his native Osnabruck just twelve months ago, Schulz first became inspired to pick up the turntables by his father, a regular club DJ in the 80s, as well as the German dance music of Sven Vath and Booka Shade and the U.S. house of Armand Van Helden, Roger Sanchez and Todd Terry.
Aged just 17, Robin Schulz began hosting his own club night, Electroschnipsel (electro snippets) in his hometown, and after co-founding the Lausbuben Records label with Daniel Bruns and Christopher Noble, decided to start making records as well as spinning them. Initially focusing on the minimalistic sounds of the tech-house scene, Schulz later switched to a more melodic song-oriented approach, a move which would transform him from local star to global chart-topper.
In 2013, Schulz uploaded his subtle reworkings of tracks by Mr. Probz and Lilly Wood & The Prick to Soundcloud, and after watching them rack up millions of plays—far more than each of the originals had managed—he was contacted by both artists to arrange the official release of his works. “Waves” and “Prayer In C” topped over two dozen charts between them, but with the forthcoming release of his debut album, Robin Schulz is keen to prove that his own material is just as strong.
Indeed, alongside interpretations of Coldplay’s “A Sky Full Of Stars,” Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” and Lykke Li’s “No Rest For The Wicked,” the upcoming Prayer also features brand new collaborations with teenage singer-songwriter Jasmine Thompson and fellow Osnabruck DJ/producer Dansir, as well as several original compositions which have been knocking around online since his mainstream breakthrough (“Wrong,” “Warm Minds”).
Robin Schulz’s domination of the commercial dance scene, therefore, looks set to continue far beyond the end of the Ibiza calendar.