Felix Jaehn has already made musical waves in 2019 after teaming up with The Vamps and Alok on catchy new track All The Lies. But there’s a lot more to this German DJ/producer, Felix last year went global with his remix of OMI’s Cheerleader seeing him hit the top spot in 55 countries. With his debut album I released last year featuring a plethora of collaborations and remixes featuring everyone from Alma to Tim Schou, he features as the co-writer on many of these tracks. We chatted to Felix about teaming up with Alok and The Vamps, playing incredible live shows and what the rest of the year holds.
Hi Felix, how are you today?
I’m good thank you very much. I’m in London right now, it’s sunny. It’s a beautiful day so it’s all good.
Can you sum yourself up in five words?
Male, DJ, German, Happy, Grateful.
Well isn’t that a great summary! Recently you teamed up with The Vamps on All The Lies, can you tell us more about how that came about?
The song came about because of me wanting to do a collaboration and a song with Alok who is another DJ who also featured on the record. He’s from Brazil and I was on tour in Rio and I met him and really loved his sound. We clicked and then I told my label we needed to do something together but for like years we didn’t find the right song. I was sending him songs and he was sending me songs, we just never found the right one. Then I heard the song All The Lies that Brad from The Vamps had written and my publisher sent it to me and asked how I liked the song, immediately I was like ‘wow this is amazing’; the melody, the lyrics, the vocals sounded perfect. Alok felt the same way so we reached out and asked could we do it together for a different version. So we produced it up and everybody loved it and here we are!
Have you had a chance to hang out with The Vamps guys yet after working on the track with them?
I’m actually there right now! I’m literally in the room next door and they’re rehearsing for their tour whilst I’m doing this phoner. They’re about to go on a UK tour, so they’re rehearsing and I was like I gotta check it out one day when they rehearse All The Lies as I want to see it.
What has been your favourite collaboration so far?
Wow, I can think of many. I really liked working with Alma we had a song together called Bonfire and it was amazing and I think another one on top of my list is Jasmine Thompson. We did Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better) together in 2015 and she’s just like such an amazing person when you think that she was only fourteen years old she was always so positive and happy and had so much energy. She was already so great as a singer technically, it was a real pleasure to work with her.
Who else would you love to collaborate with?
There are a couple of people. On the DJ side, I’m actually doing another track with Steve Aoki at the moment. We collaborated together before. Vocally there are many, many I’d like to work with. I really like Calum Scott at the moment actually, I didn’t know his music until like three months ago and I feel really like I’ve been living under a rock. We reached out to him and I’m not sure if anything’s going to happen but I think that would be an amazing collaboration.
We think it would be too! We have to talk to you about your Cheerleader remix which went absolutely global. Did you ever expect it to ever go as big as it did?
I don’t think you can expect anything like that, to be honest. It’s already over a billion on YouTube and was number one in 55 countries. It’s just mental and I don’t think anyone making music expects a hit like that but I’m so grateful it did because obviously it opened up many doors for me and I did shows in over thirty countries I think it is now. It definitely wouldn’t have been possible without Cheerleader.
Talking about shows leads me nicely on to my next question, what would be the most memorable show you’ve performed at?
This is a really, really hard one for sure. There have been a couple of shows that really stand out. One that I always remember in Monterrey in Mexico at a festival called Pal Norte, it’s like a big multi-genre festival. I think 50 Cent was headlining that year and I played in the early afternoon. It was my first time ever in Monterrey and I wasn’t expecting it to be as great as I didn’t know if anyone was going to know me or like me or whatever. I was playing mainstage so at the start of my set I came up and looked at the crowd and I literally saw 50,000 people standing there in front of me. The sun was shining, I had the mountains in the background and it was just awesome. They were like from the very first song, they were going crazy and they were having the time of their lives. I think this one I just remember the response so much because I didn’t expect it to be good and everybody surprised me. I think those are my favourite shows. Like not sure what was going to happen but it was actually one of the best gigs ever.
Honestly, it sounds incredible from the visuals you’ve given us!
I also arrived kind of last minute at the festival so I didn’t have much time to look around before the show so when I walked out on stage I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I look up and then suddenly there’s a sea of people, it was crazy.
What led you to go down the producing/DJ route of music?
Passion. I’d say really it was my hobby and it still is. When I was growing up at the age of like fifteen/sixteen I started to make playlists or DJ at birthday parties of friends and I always wanted to be in charge of the music. I always cared about the records, not talking or getting drunk or whatever I was always listening to the music that was playing. I couldn’t go to a nightclub without thinking about the music that was playing. I always wanted to be that guy that was in charge or leading people in the live music scene. It was just a really natural instinct and hobby that luckily I was able to turn in to my job.
Do you have any tips for anyone who’s thinking of going into a similar part of the music industry to you?
I think the key piece of advice would be to just use the internet as a tool like I think it’s amazing these days that we have a platform and we can upload our own stuff alongside others. Have your own social media, upload to Soundcloud or Spotify or YouTube or wherever and send it to blogs, share it and spread the word. You can really make a difference on your own then people will see that you’re doing it with right intentions and for the right reasons, if you really love doing it you’ll always find the time to push more, get better at it and put in the hours. I think if you love doing something you’re going to get good at it and if you’re good at doing something you’re going to find a way to make it your profession, sooner or later. I think in the end to sum it all up just like follow your dreams and do what you love.
Last year you released your debut album I, can you choose your favourite lyric from one of the tracks?
Erm; ‘hard to get, don’t want to say it, you are ready, am I ready?’ From Don’t Say Love which was actually one of the first songs I’ve ever co-written. It was about me not feeling ready for love, I was afraid of saying I love you because I wasn’t sure who to love.
You’ve been really open about your sexuality, were there any times you were worried about speaking out and being so open with your life?
Not really if I’m honest it was more like how do I want to approach it and how do I want to say it rather than should I say it. Obviously, after the first few years of me putting out records, I hadn’t been out yet but that was just because I was so young and I was out to my family but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about in public and should it all be a topic of me being an artist. But after doing interviews and travelling the world, I have to be open about everything if I want to live a free and happy life because I don’t want to be sat in interviews talking about love and not giving people the full picture. It just doesn’t work, I felt like I was hiding something and that was stressing me out. I just feel like nobody should have to hide who they are for any reason.
We absolutely love and thank you for sharing such an important part of your life.
When you were younger what was the lie you used to tell the most?
Probably it was something about me fighting over food with my brothers, I was probably like ‘oh no I didn’t take anything’. I grew up with two brothers and we were really lucky to grow up healthy and in a nice place in Germany, we didn’t have any worries in the world. Children always fight over food, when they want more and more. I was always trying to find ways of getting more than my other brothers
Last but not least what’s on the cards for the rest of the year for you?
I think every artist would say music. I’ve been writing a lot of songs for the last year and they’re going to get a lot more personal in all the lyrics now. I’m really excited to finally share all the music I’ve been working on for so long. I’ve been putting out music constantly but sometimes it took me up to half a year to release a single and I feel like from now onwards I just want to put out a track every month. I just want to share more music as I have about fifty songs sitting on my laptop just waiting to be released, so I hope we can release them all as soon as possible.
So, in summary, a busy year with lots of new music and touring?
There’s going to be a load of touring, I have shows confirmed all around the world. Tokyo, the US, all over Europe and I think it’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be a good year!
Thank you for your time Felix and enjoy watching The Vamps rehearse!
I will do, how could you not!