Since 2012, The Chainsmokers have been one of the leading acts in EDM, winning multiple awards. What was their first song?
The Chainsmokers’ first single was “Erase”, a collaboration with Priyanka Chopra. Their first major success came with their third single “#SELFIE”, which debuted in the top spot on several charts, including the Billboard Hot 100. The duo has gone on to win a Grammy and two American Music Awards.
For more on The Chainsmokers and their rise to music superstardom, read on.
The Chainsmokers are Alexander “Alex” Pall and Andrew “Drew” Taggart but this was not always the case. Initially, the tandem was Pall and DJ Rhett Bixler but Taggart replaced Bixler at some point in 2012.
Both Pall and Alpert were college students, with Pall studying art history and music business at New York University while Taggart attended Syracuse University and interned at Interscope Records.
Taggart was interested in becoming a DJ and had released some of his music on Soundcloud. Somebody close to Pall’s management informed Taggart that Pall was looking for a new partner after Bixler’s departure, so he moved to New York to meet him.
The two were introduced by Pall’s manager, Adam Alpert, and began working together. At first, The Chainsmokers refined their skills by remixing indie music but soon began creating original tracks.
In 2019, Forbes ranked The Chainsmokers as the highest-paid DJs in the world, ending a six-year streak of Calvin Harris holding the top spot.
The Chainsmokers’ first single was “Erase”, which featured actress and singer Priyanka Chopra on vocals. Despite the song not charting, collaborating with an international superstar such as Chopra was a significant boost to the Chainsmokers’ profile.
As of August 2020, “Erase” has 923,000 plays on Soundcloud, their main outlet at the time.
Years later, the duo performed in Delhi and Mumbai as part of their “Road to Ultra” tour and referenced their earlier work with Chopra. They mentioned that they would like to work with her again, even teasing that they would one day like to appear in a Bollywood movie with her in addition to recording music.
Selfie and Beyond
The Chainsmokers’ first real success came in 2014 when they released “#SELFIE”. The track charted on all the major charts, including reaching number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.
It did even better in other countries, reaching number 3 in Australia and Norway and number 2 in Sweden. “#SELFIE” is certified platinum by the RIAA.
Even greater success would come in 2016 when The Chainsmokers released “Closer”, featuring Halsey, which reached number one in the US and several other countries. “Closer” marked the first time the duo had topped any of the major singles charts.
“Memories… Do Not Open”, the duo’s debut studio album, was released on April 7, 2017, and debuted in the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart, going on to be certified platinum by the RIAA.
Despite the album’s commercial success, the critical response was frostier. “Memories…” has the unfortunate distinction of being the lowest-rated album of 2017 on Metacritic, though it does share its 43/100 average with Beach Boys co-founder Mike Love’s album “Unleash the Love”.
Criticism aside, The Chainsmokers received two Grammy nominations in 2017, one for Best New Artist and another for Best Dance Recording, which they won. They won the American Music Award for Favorite Electronic/Dance Music Artist twice in a row in 2016 and 2017.
Their second studio album, “Sick Boy”, was released in 2018 and received a similarly mixed response from critics, though it did not achieve the same level of commercial success as their debut, peaking at number 53 on the Billboard 200.
“Sick Boy” did top the US Dance chart, however, continuing The Chainsmokers’ claim to being one of the top EDM acts in the world.