Artist Spotlight: Above and Beyond
In the world of electronic dance music, few artists are as well-known, loved, or even revered as Above & Beyond, a vocal trance group originating in the UK. As a whole, trance music has always been associated with lyrical melodies, ethereal vocals, and a general atmosphere of acceptance among its fans. Above & Beyond exemplifies these qualities; their gorgeous vocals and lush synth anthems attract numerous fans who hail their music as life-changing. To give a quick explanation, trance music is one of the oldest genres of electronic dance music. It emerged primarily during the 90's, and has had a strong following for the past 2 decades. It generally features uplifting melodic lines, full and orchestral synths, a strong danceable beat, and often female vocals. Above & Beyond specializes in vocal trance, but has also been known to release instrumental or remix tracks as well.
The first two members of A&B, Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamäki, met while at the University of Westminster and founded the Anjunabeats record label together to release their music. Tony McGuinness joined them shortly after, and the trio took on their current name, Above & Beyond, based on a motivational fitness slogan. After remixing the song “Home” by Chakra in 2001, the group started to remix a number of pop songs and even received recognition from Madonna for their remix of “What It Feels Like For A Girl”. Since then, they've released 3 studio albums and signed tons of talented trance artists to their critically-acclaimed label, Anjunabeats. They've headlined countless music festivals, and are considered to be at the forefront of trance music, along with artists such as Armin Van Buuren.
Besides their music, I think that Above & Beyond has a truly unique and valuable fanbase. Every song they release evokes many emotions, and their lyrics's themes include happiness, loneliness, and even environmental change. Given the emotionally poignant nature of each song as well as danceable, uplifting melodies, the strong connection between this artist and their fans is understandable. PLUR, the acronym for raver values of “peace, love, unity and respect” also shines through in A&B's music, and fans develop a connection to one another as well as the artist. I haven't seen Above & Beyond live yet but I plan to go as soon as humanly possible!
Here are some of my favorite Above & Beyond songs!