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Porter Weston Robinson (born July 15, 1992) is an American DJ, record producer and musician from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He has released multiple number one singles across different electronic genres. His debut full-length studio album, Worlds, was released on August 12, 2014. In 2017, Robinson began releasing music as Virtual Self, with his self-titled EP Virtual Self released on October 25, 2017.
He was named 7th in the Billboard 21 under 21 list, topped InTheMix's 25 under 25 list, and reached 5th place in DJ Times' 2013 ranking for America's Best DJ. Three of Robinson's records topped Beatport's overall chart before the time he was 21. Robinson has been included on DJ Mags Top 100 DJ's list for seven consecutive years.
On March 20, 2015, he was named MTVU Artist of the Year. In 2017, he was nominated for two Electronic Music Awards for Single of the Year and Live Act of the Year with Madeon. He is currently ranked at number 96 on DJ Mags Top 100 DJs list for 2017.
Early years and "Say My Name"
Entirely self-taught, Robinson began producing at the age of 12. While posting his early music on online forums he met future collaborator Madeon, who was using the aliases "Daemon" and "Wayne Mont". From 2005 to 2010, under the alias "Ekowraith", he released "hands up" music via YAWA Recordings. Robinson then began producing music that he called "complextro", adding classically inspired melodies and complicated fills to his music.
Starting to release music under his own name in 2010, Robinson released a variety of original singles on Glamara Records and Big Fish Recordings. One of his most notable releases was "Say My Name", which reached number one on Beatport, launching Robinson into the mainstream dance music world. Eighteen at the time, Robinson started achieving international notice, catching the eye of dubstep producer Skrillex.
Robinson's early influences include video gaming music, in particular, Dance Dance Revolution. He is a major fan of anime and Japanese culture, and incorporates these elements into his music. He has stated that he originally attempted to emulate the music that he heard in Japanese games, which stemmed to producing, and then to performing as a DJ.
In 2011, he signed a one-EP deal with OWSLA, then a new label operated by Skrillex, to release the eleven-track Spitfire. As the first release on OWSLA, it topped iTunes Dance chart and Beatport's overall chart, crashing the latter's servers upon release.
Robinson released a single, "Language", on April 10, 2012 through Big Beat Records in North America, and Ministry of Sound everywhere else. The song was relatively different in its production than the "complextro" sound that Robinson had become known for, favoring a more melodic sound and a dream-like piano lead. The song rose to the number one overall chart position on Beatport as well as the iTunes Dance chart. The single was premiered initially via a live BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix on January 27. The music video, directed by Jodeb, was released via Ministry of Sound's YouTube channel on August 1, 2012. The song was also included as the menu music for the 2012 video game Forza Horizon. Throughout the rest of 2012, Robinson embarked on his "Language Tour", supported by artists Mat Zo and The M Machine.
He co-wrote Zedd's US top 10 hit "Clarity", as well as singing backing vocals. The track was originally going to be released as a collaboration between the two artists called "Poseidon" alongside a joint tour, but Robinson backed down and withdrew his name because he did not want to release a pop single while he was "trying to do something that wasn't shooting for the radio" with his debut album.
On December 17, 2012, a collaborative single with Mat Zo entitled "Easy" was pre-released exclusively on Beatport by Ministry of Sound, and spent two entire weeks as the number one overall song on the Beatport Top 100 chart. The full official release occurred in spring 2013, and was accompanied by an animated music video.
Robinson has been commissioned for official remixes by artists including Avicii and Lady Gaga.
2014-16: Worlds and "Shelter"
Robinson performing in 2013 on his "Language" tour
During Robinson's "Language Tour", he continually began to grow tired of the current dance music scene, centered around formulaic songs with timed builds and beat drops, designed to excite people at festivals and clubs. Robinson stated, "The more I forced myself to work within those DJ-friendly limits, the more I resented the genre." He then spent the next year or so working on a new album and live show, of which he stated, "...when I do change the style of my show into the live thing I'm going to do later this year, I want the shift in focus to be clear."
Porter's debut studio album Worlds was released through Astralwerks and Virgin EMI on August 12, 2014. The album focused more on melodies to invoke a sense of nostalgia, juxtaposing the percussive bass driven tracks he had released previously. Robinson collaborated with multiple vocalists and musical groups including Urban Cone, Lemaitre, Breanne Düren, and Amy Millan. He made his official vocal debut on the single "Sad Machine". The Vocaloid software voice, Avanna, was also used as a vocalist for this single. Robinson then embarked on the Worlds tour, a new live show that involved him singing, playing synthesizers, and triggering samples. The tour headlined popular music festivals, including Ultra Music Festival, EDC, and Coachella.
On January 31, 2016, Robinson announced on his Twitter account that he was producing new material after being "stuck" for a year and a half. On August 11, he released "Shelter", a collaboration with fellow musician and friend Hugo Leclercq, better known by his stage name Madeon. An animated music video was released for "Shelter" on October 18, animated by A-1 Pictures and jointly produced by Robinson, A-1 Pictures, and Crunchyroll. Robinson and Leclercq then embarked on a nearly year-long joint international tour dubbed the "Shelter Live Tour", where the two performed live shows onstage together, with supporting acts from Danger, Robotaki, and San Holo.
2017-present: Virtual Self
Robinson performing as Virtual Self in Brooklyn, New York on December 8, 2017
On October 25, 2017, Robinson released a new single titled "EON BREAK" under the alias Virtual Self, announced via his Twitter page. A music video was also released on Robinson's YouTube channel, containing abstract 3-Dimensional art and cryptic messages seemingly focusing on the words "angel", "virtual", "void", and "utopia".
Virtual Self released a second single on November 8, 2017, titled "Ghost Voices". A music video for "Ghost Voices" was released on February 28, 2018 via Robinson's YouTube channel.
Virtual Self held a debut live performance on December 8, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York City.
Robinson is the second of four boys in his family. His older brother, Nick, is a former video producer at video game website Polygon. His younger brothers are named Robert and Mark. Mark and his father, Nick, review Oreos on a YouTube channel called "Oreo Graveyard".
Robinson has stated that he did not release or produce any new music in 2015 due to suffering from depression.
Robinson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and currently resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He was accepted into UNC, where both of his parents are alumni, but did not himself attend due to his newly launched music career.