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What is tropical house music? Its history, artists & tracks

Updated: Jan 22

What is Tropical House Music?

Tropical house music is a subgenre of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) characterized by its relaxed and laid-back vibe. It is named after the Tropical or Exotic atmosphere that its production elements usually evoke. The genre typically features smooth melodies and moderate tempos (ranging from 100 to 120 bpm). Another key aspect of this genre is its fusion of electronic production techniques with influences from tropical and Caribbean music. Notable elements include the use of instruments such as steel drums and marimbas, as well as vocal samples with a light and airy feel. The genre is often associated with summer vibes and is well-suited for beach parties, festivals, and other outdoor settings.

Who made Tropical House Music? When?

The history of tropical house music can be traced back to the early 2010s, with its emergence marked by the efforts of several key artists who helped shape and popularize the genre. The early influences, before 2010, of Tropical House music come from artists experimenting the incorporation of tropical and Caribbean sounds into electronic music. However, the term "tropical house" wasn't widely used at this point. Todd Terje for instance, worked on a fusion of electronic and tropical elements on tracks like "Inspector Norse" and “Standbar”.

The Norwegian producer Kygo is often credited as one of the pioneers who brought tropical house to the forefront. In 2014 and 2015, Kygo gained significant attention for his remixes of popular tracks, including Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing," infused with a distinct tropical vibe. These remixes helped establish the genre's signature sound. Other people such as Australian DJ and producer Thomas Jack also played a crucial role in popularizing tropical house. His tropical and melodic sets, along with the "Tropical House" playlist series he curated, helped create a platform for the genre. Other early pioneers, such as Matoma, Bakermat, and Klingande, contributed to the genre's growth during this period.

The years 2015 and 2016 marked the peak of tropical house's popularity. Kygo, in particular, achieved mainstream success with hits like "Firestone" and "Stole the Show." Both of these tracks reached 1 Billion streams across Streaming Platforms! Other artists, including Justin Bieber, embraced the tropical house sound in their music, further solidifying its presence in popular culture. As the genre gained popularity, artists began to experiment blending tropical house elements with other genres, leading to the diversification of the sound. Tropical house influences also permeated into pop, dance, and mainstream electronic music.

While the initial peak of tropical house may have subsided, its influence is still felt in contemporary music. Elements of the genre continue to appear in various electronic and pop tracks, showcasing its lasting impact on the broader music landscape.

In simpler terms, the story of tropical house is all about how different individuals shaped their own music, influenced a whole generation and popularized the remix culture. This is how the genre's unique and catchy style connected with so many people and still influences the current Electronic Dance Music scene.

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