Catching Up With Hakkasan Resident (and Birthday Boy) Tiësto

The megastar is ready to celebrate with a blowout weekend at MGM Grand.

You’ve heard the person who—getting older—says, “This year I just want to do something chill for my birthday.”

That’s not Tiësto.

The headliner turns 49 this month but is nowhere close to “acting his age,” whatever that means. Hakkasan Group will celebrate with fireworks, and in addition to headlining at MGM Grand’s Hakkasan nightclub on January 11 and 13, Tiësto’s going to post up in the hotel lobby over the weekend, where he’ll spin a few tracks, pose for more than a few selfies and treat guests to surprises. Wait, shouldn’t we be the ones bringing gifts?

Tiësto, who recently had his Hakkasan Group residency extended through 2020, became something of a global ambassador for our city in the wake of the October 1 attack. He took a minute to reflect on his role before sharing his 2018 plans with us.

What was your favorite Las Vegas memory of 2017?

I have many fun memories of playing Hakkasan and Wet Republic this year, but my favorite moment of 2017 was seeing hundreds and hundreds of Vegas residents lined up to give blood for the victims of the shooting. After such a terrible tragedy, I was reminded of how special Las Vegas truly is and how people of this city are willing to do anything for each other. It was an honor to be part of Hakkasan Group’s benefit concert at Omnia with so many DJs. We raised over a million dollars for the victims, and it was a night I’ll never forget.

Joe Janet

Tiësto birthday celebration | Photo Joe Janet

In 2018 you’ll be dropping a collab with Gucci Mane. Can you talk about how that came together, and what you’ve learned about teaming with other artists over the years?

My track “BOOM” is already a massive club hit, and I figured that it still had some room to grow with the right feature. I’ve always liked Gucci’s flow and music, so I approached him and he was down! This particular collaboration came together organically. What I’ve learned about teaming up with other artists is that everyone’s ear is different and everyone has their unique approach to working with a track. I know my sound very well, which can make collaborations difficult because I’m not willing to compromise my style. But, when my collaborations work, they really work. This track is an example of that.

What’s helped you stay on top of your game for as long as you’ve been making music?

My music has grown and changed as I have, but it always feels very organic to who I am. Being true to myself helps me stay on top of the game. I’m always looking for ways to improve myself, but my No. 1 priority is to make sure that everyone leaves satisfied after a Tiësto show.

Tiësto gets the keys to the strip | Photo by Aaron Garcia

Your birthday has become an annual extended celebration in Las Vegas. What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received?

The best birthday present I’ve ever received was the key to the Vegas Strip! The celebration with UNLV’S marching band, getting to meet the mayor—it was an amazing day.

How do you top that?

I’m not sure what tops that. Every year, I spend my birthday weekend in Vegas, and every year, it’s so special. This year we’ve got some incredible things planned, including fireworks, of course.

You recently became engaged. Would you DJ your own wedding?

Absolutely not! [Laughs.] I would hire a DJ who can actually play a good mix of music because the best weddings have great music. Our wedding will have an insane mix of people, so we’ll need a DJ who can play everything from old country songs to hip-hop to house music.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Looking back on my career so far, I honestly don’t think I would change a single thing. It has all been a process. My advice to DJs just starting out would be to enjoy what you do, focus on the sounds you like, work hard and be positive.

Tiësto’s birthday celebration begins January 11. Tickets can be purchased on the Hakkasan website.