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"Wake Me Up" Singer Tells the Story Behind the Hit Avicii Song

Image courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor (via ABC News Radio)

" Wake Me Up " is a worldwide smash.  While it's credited to Avicii , the Swedish producer and DJ, he's not the one singing on the track.  The vocals are provided by Aloe Blacc , an American singer, rapper and musician who's been releasing albums in a variety of genres since 1995.

Aloe stepped into the spotlight on Monday night when he was the featured performer on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, and backstage at the show, he told ABC News Radio that his hookup with Avicii came about in a very unexpected way: through two members of two different alternative rock bands.

"I first got hooked up with Avicii through Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park , who suggested that I sing on Avicii's album," Aloe explains. It seems the two had never met, but had a mutual friend. "So of course, I sent an email to him and said, 'Thank you for suggesting this!'"

After that, Aloe says, Avicii called him up. "[He] said, 'I'm over at Mike Einziger 's house from Incubus , would you like to write a song?' So I headed down and we went to the studio and wrote 'Wake Me Up,'" Aloe recalls.  "We did it in like four hours."

"Wake Me Up" has a unique sound because it's acoustic and organic sounding, but it's also a dance song.  And Aloe says that combination was Avicii's idea.

"I think Avicii had in mind something that was a little bit more, you know, rootsy and bluegrass," he tells ABC News Radio. "So it comes down to a feeling of sorta country with, of course, Avicii's world, which is dance, and he put the drums behind it and made it real big."

As for why "Wake Me Up" has become a hit around the world, Aloe says it's not so much because of the song's sound, but because of its lyrics, which appeal to folks of all ages.

"I feel like the lyrics are very nostalgic," says Aloe. "If you're older, it makes you feel like back when you were...[in] middle school. If you're young, it makes you feel like it's time for you to break out of your shell and live life. So I think it just hits everybody in their own interpretive way."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio