When the Grammys announced the nominees for Best Dance Recording, the list included expected titans like Avicii, Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia and Skrillex. Then there was Al Walser, whose “I Can’t Live Without You” also snagged a nomination, catching many fans by surprise. In an interview with MTV, the DJ-producer shed some light on his career and how he ended up alongside big-time EDM stars. “I’ve been in this game for decades. . . . I traveled the world as a DJ, as a singer, as a songwriter, as a producer. Believe me, I’ve worn all hats,” said Walser, who first found suceess in the late Nineties with European pop-rap group Fun Factory.
Even though Walser has songs available on iTunes, he hosts a weekly Top-20 show broadcast on the radio and online in several countries and has written the book Musicians Make It Big: An Insider Reveals the Secret Path to Break in Today’s Music Industry, his lack of traditional radio, social media and Internet video presence has left many EDM fans wondering how he picked up the nomination. “It comes down to two things: great music that you stand for, and that you think is really good and worthy. And drive,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the drive, and just talent, our charts would be filled with gospel singers. And they are not.”
Walser is well connected in Grammy circles: he’s a voter, and he’s active on Grammy365, a social networking site for the awards. He also solicits opinions from people he’s networked with while working on songs, which means many Grammy voters know who he is.
“Thousands of people have been part of the process of my songs,” he said. “I didn’t know whether they were going to like it, but I knew they were part of the process. So probably when it came to ballot time they were very familiar with my name. There’s nothing wrong with [that]. There’s absolutely no way that you could somehow trick . . . and that’s just outrageous, and people better be careful when they say that because it’s totally unfounded. It really is. There’s 50,000 people that vote. It’s not a popularity contest, and it is what it is.”