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Matthias Paul (pronounced maˈtiːas ˈpaʊ̯l), better known by his stage name Paul van Dyk (pronounced fan ˈdʏk; born 16 December 1971 in Eisenhüttenstadt, East Germany) is a German Grammy Award-winning electronic dance music DJ, musician and record producer. One of the first true superstar DJs, Paul van Dyk was the first artist to receive a Grammy nomination in the newly added category of Best Dance/Electronic album for his 2003 release Reflections. He was named the World's No. 1 DJ in both 2005 and 2006, something only few DJs have ever achieved. He was the first ever DJ to be named No. 1 by Mixmag in 2005. By 2008, he had sold over 3 million albums worldwide.
A trance producer starting in the early 1990s, Paul quickly achieved popularity with his remix of "Love Stimulation" by Humate on the record label MFS in 1993 and with his hit single "For an Angel" but, in recent times, he no longer likes to describe his music as trance, but rather simply as electronic music.
Paul van Dyk is currently the radio host of "Vonyc Sessions with Paul" on Dash Radio.
Early life and musical beginning:
Paul van Dyk grew up in East Berlin in a single parent household; his father left him and his mother when he was four years old. While living there, he worked as a broadcast technician and began training to become a carpenter. Paul van Dyk claims his musical education came from radio. Because where he grew up there were no record stores at which to buy music, he kept in touch with the world beyond the Berlin Wall by secretly listening to the popular but forbidden Western radio stations RIAS (Radio in the American Sector) and SFB and mixtapes occasionally smuggled into the country and copied among school friends.
Shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, van Dyk and his mother were given permission to leave East Germany and moved to Hamburg to live with his aunt. In 1990, van Dyk moved back to Berlin. His first appearance as a DJ was in the Tresor in March 1991. After several more dates, he was given the chance to perform at Andre'Hoche's (1991-1993) Dubmission parties in the Turbine club, together with the young resident DJ Kid Paul. The shows were called Paul vs. Paul. With Cosmic Baby, he collaborated as The Visions of Shiva. Their single "Perfect Day" was released by the Berlin independent label MFS (Masterminded For Success) Records, run by English ex-patriat producer Mark Reeder and manager Torsten Jurk.
In February 1993, van Dyk and Kid Paul hosted an installment of the weekly three-hour "HR3 Clubnight" radio show, performing for a nationwide audience on German radio. The second and final Visions of Shiva single "How Much Can You Take?" was released, and van Dyk and Cosmic went their separate musical ways. By late summer, Paul released his first DJ-mix compilation "X-Mix-1 - the MFS Trip" and remixed Humate's trance hymn "Love Stimulation".
In 1994, Paul van Dyk released The Green Valley EP, Pump This Party and Emergency 911. Meanwhile, MFS acquired many remixes for Paul. Paul's close friendship with artists such as New Order gave Paul the opportunity to mix the track "Spooky" from the Republic album. He recorded his debut LP 45 RPM with Johnny Klimek and VOOV.
Seven Ways established Paul van Dyk as a trance pioneer and was Paul van Dyk's first real success in Britain. Seven Ways was voted the No. 1 album by readers of DJ Magazine.
In early 1997, Paul van Dyk began collaborating with U.S. music producer BT. Together, they produced tracks such as "Flaming June", "Forbidden Fruit" and "Namistai". The singles "Forbidden Fruit" and "Beautiful Place" did not cause a great impact at first but, with the release of Seven Ways and "Words" appearing at the height of the British superclub phenomenon, van Dyk's own material began to attract attention. "By the time they realised I was a German, it was too late!" van Dyk said. Van Dyk also remixed a well known early-90s track, Age of Love, in 1997.
In 1998, 45 RPM was re-released in the UK and in the US. To mark the event, and in homage to the defunct E-Werk, Paul released a remix of "For An Angel". Van Dyk took up a residency at Sheffield's Gatecrasher and declared himself anti-drugs, which led to home-made "No E, Pure PvD" T-shirts, also a sly note to journalists that his surname contained no "E". In 1998, Paul remixed British trance duo Binary Finary's famous "1998" single, which was a successful version that took Binary Finary to the top of the German Dance charts.
In mid-1998, Van Dyk left MFS Records and took a controlling share in the new label Vandit Records. In 2000, Paul flexed his skills with his melodic, dancefloor-friendly Out There and Back, which included the hit single "Tell Me Why (The Riddle)", a collaboration with Saint Etienne. It also included the European hit We Are Alive, a remixed version of the Jennifer Brown song Alive. His first mix album The Politics of Dancing (2001) was followed by a world tour and a DVD release Global (2003) and the Mexican film "Zurdo", for which van Dyk composed the soundtrack and won a Mexican Oscar for his work.
Reflections (2003) derived from van Dyk's trips to India, was a more melancholy affair, and includes the single "Nothing But You", a collaboration with Hemstock & Jennings. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Electronic Album. The mix album The Politics of Dancing 2 (2005) was preceded by a single "The Other Side," featuring Wayne Jackson; a song dedicated to the victims, and their families, of the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that struck Thailand on 26 December 2004. His original productions from Reflections have been synced into major motion pictures such as Into the Blue, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, television's Entertainment Tonight and MTV Cribs, and international ad campaigns for Motorola, HBO, Land Rover, Ski Vail and most recently for Jeep.
2007-2010: In Between:
Paul van Dyk released his fifth studio album, In Between, worldwide on 14 August 2007. The album, which he created over a three-year period, debuted at number No. 115 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the Billboard's Top Electronic Albums and No. 1 on the Top Heatseekers. The album also reached No. 16 on the Mexican Albums Chart and No. 5 on the Mexican International Chart. The album was released accompanied by a special edition limited to two thousand copies which included a mixed version of the full album, along with an eight-track bonus CD and an eight-page photo anthology.
The album was produced primarily by Paul van Dyk himself, and features a wide range of collaborators including David Byrne of Talking Heads, Jessica Sutta of the Pussycat Dolls, Ashley Tomberlin from Luminary, Alex M.O.R.P.H, Lo Fi Sugar, Rea Garvey of Reamonn, Ryan Merchant and Wayne Jackson. It also features a vocal sample from Ben Lost from Probspot's "Blows My Mind" on the song "Another Sunday". In June 2007, Paul van Dyk embarked on the worldwide "In Between Tour" to promote the album.
His work with EA Games has resulted in multiple releases featuring his music on Mirror's Edge and Grand Slam Tennis out in 2009. Paul van Dyk has also remixed the song "Poor Choice of Words" from the film The Dark Knight, written by Hans Zimmer. The song was released on the film's soundtrack, and helped the album win a Grammy Award that Paul van Dyk shares with his collaborators. He has also remixed Depeche Mode's "Martyr", Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around... Comes Around" and Britney Spears' "Gimme More".
In May 2008, Van Dyk set up a remix competition with digital download network Beatport, inviting aspiring producers to remix his single 'Far Away' which appeared on his album In Between.
On 9 November 2009, Van Dyk performed alongside Northern Ireland vocalist Johnny McDaid at the Berlin Wall 20th Anniversary Memorial. They recorded and performed a song for the event called 'We Are One'.; He organised a dance music event at the O2 World Berlin called 'We Are One Festival' named after the song he collaborated with Johnny McDaid on for the Berlin Wall Anniversary. Some artists who performed included Armin van Buuren, Underworld and Blueman Group.
In 2010, it was revealed that his record label Vandit would be merging with Armin van Buuren's Armada Music.
The sixth studio album by Paul van Dyk, titled Evolution was released on 3 April 2012. The track "Eternity" was made in collaboration with Adam Young, known for Owl City.Evolution also features producers Arty, Austin Leeds, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Tyler Michaud, and Ummet Ozcan. The album features vocals from Johnny McDaid of Fieldwork, Sarah Howells and various other artists.
Since 2001, Paul van Dyk has taken an interest in politics. His creation of The Politics of Dancing compilation was inspired by electronic dance music's universal acclaim by different people around the world. "Palestinians are dancing with Israelis. Lebanese people are dancing with Israelis - without war, without anything in their minds other than treating each other respectfully", said van Dyk in 2006. He also has called EDM "...a political and diplomatic tool that could be used." Having grown up with little freedom, his musical career has helped him voice his opinions about politics. He opposes the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. He describes himself as anti-war and has advertised this while performing, by wearing a shirt reading "Make peace, not war".
He has helped fight poverty by supporting social programs to help disadvantaged people in India, New York, and Berlin. He also participated in Rock the Vote in 2004 and 2008; he and Bono being the only non-American artists to join the campaign encouraging young people to vote.