- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Afrojack is among the world’s most popular DJs and has collaborated with some of the biggest names in pop music.
- He said that the biggest lesson he learned from his collaborations is celebrity cannot become an excuse for becoming self-important.
- He believes that the egotism that can come with celebrity can ruin important business relationships.
Over the last decade Dutch DJ Nick van de Wall, better known by his stage name Afrojack, has become one of the world’s most popular electronic musicians. He’s collaborated with celebrity artists like Sia, Chris Brown, Pitbull, and Nicki Minaj, and a team-up with David Guetta won them a Grammy.
In that time, he’s certainly become savvier about both the creative and business sides of the collaborative process, but the biggest lesson he’s taken from these experiences comes down to relationships.
“So what I learned the most by working with celebrities and very famous artists is not just be humble but make them feel humbled; take care of them, take care of their people,” he said in an episode of Business Insider’s podcast “This Is Success.”
He gave two hypothetical examples of an interaction, drawn from his own experiences:
“So I ended up in the studio with a great artist. He meets everyone. He says hello to everyone. He says hello to me. We’re all cool. We have the greatest sessions ever. Make great music.
“Someone else comes in, he’s like, ‘Hey, yo … what’s up man? So nice to meet you. So let’s get this thing cooking.’ Doesn’t say hi to my cameraman. Doesn’t say hi to my manager, doesn’t say hi to my publicist. I’m already like, ‘Do I want to be affiliated with a person like this?’ But not just me thinking this. Everyone in the room is thinking this.”
Afrojack is also the head of his own record label, as well as the CEO of the talent agency LDH Europe, and he said that he would much rather work with someone he respects and get a moderate return on a project than work with an egotistical and selfish partner and get a massive r eturn. The former is more sustainable.
“So if you look from that perspective, no one’s wanting to work with the guy who’s an a–hole – or not necessarily be an a–hole, but has the ego, or thinks he has to live up to certain expectations,” he said.
In show business, Afrojack noted, it can be easy to not recognize the power brokers behind the celebrities, and people starting at the bottom can end up on top the next day, but that shouldn’t be the primary reason you treat a powerful person’s team members with respect. For Afrojack, becoming egotistical is the first step to destroying your success, leading to foolish decisions and tarnished relationships.
“So don’t just be nice to the people that ‘matter,'” he said.
Subscribe to “This Is Success” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen. You can find the full Afrojack episode below.