Born on December 25, 1976 in Leiden, Holland, van Buuren became interested in music at an early age (his father was an avid record buyer). A close friend introduced him to the world of dance music, and the Dutch DJ and remixer Ben Liebrand quickly became his main inspiration. It led van Buuren to investigate the roots of the electronic music he was becoming fond of, and numerous Jarre and Schulze CDs were acquired. Computers and turntables were also purchased, and creating his own music became a priority.
In 1995, van Buuren attended Leiden University, and a local student club provided the venue for his first DJ gigs. The same year he was fortunate enough to have some demos included on compilations, and when the money came in, it was rolled back into producing 12"s. Cyber Records released his first hit, "Blue Fear," in 1995, and by 1999 his "Communication" was successful enough to get him signed to AM:PM. He also formed his own label, Armind, in 1999 and met Dave Lewis, the man responsible for jump-starting the careers of DJ Tiësto and Ferry Corsten. A collaboration with Tiësto yielded his biggest hit yet on Armind, "Eternity," and marathon five-hour sets brought him more attention. High-profile remixes of Madison Avenue's "Don't Call Me Baby" and Wamdue Project's "King of My Castle" followed, and numerous mix CDs were released on United Recordings.
By 2002 he'd placed number five in DJ Magazine's Top 100 and was hosting his own weekly show on the Dutch ID&T radio station. By the end of 2003 he found time to set the worldwide record for longest DJ set (12 and a half hours at a club in The Hague), finish his law degree, and release his first non-mix CD, 76. Shivers followed in 2005, with Imagine arriving in 2008. The latter effort hit number one in the Netherlands and also marked his first appearance on the Billboard 200, spawning the hits "Going Wrong" and "In and Out of Love."
Debuting at number three on the Dutch charts, 2010's Mirage featured singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor along with fellow producers BT and Ferry Corsten. Van Buuren returned in 2013 -- after numerous mix albums, including his annual additions to the A State of Trance series -- with his fifth studio album, Intense, his highest-charting U.S. release to date. Buoyed by a 2014 Grammy nomination for the set's hit single, "This Is What It Feels Like" with Trevor Guthrie, the album was expanded in 2015 as Intense: The Most Intense Edition, a collection that turned the original LP into a four-CD/one-DVD box featuring remixes and recordings of live gigs. His collaboration with Cosmic Gate, "Embargo," landed that same year. The track would appear on van Buuren's sixth studio album, the Dutch chart-topping Embrace, which also featured Gavin DeGraw, Hardwell, and Mr. Probz.
Over the course of the following years, he continued his yearly State of Trance series, climbing to his 14th installment, State of Trance 2017, and adding to his Ibiza series with A State of Trance Ibiza 2018. That same year, he released the EP Blah Blah Blah and followed in 2019 with Trilogy. That same year also saw him release his seventh studio album, Balance. The 28-track set included collaborations with the likes of Rudimental, Above Beyond, and BT, to name but a few. It landed at number one on the U.K. dance charts and cracked the Top 20 of the Billboard Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. He then collaborated on a handful of non-album tracks in 2020, including "Leka" with Super8 and Tab, "Punisher" with Fatum, and "I Need You to Know" with Nicky Romero and Ifimay. ~ David Jeffries & Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi
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