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Martin Garrix is no longer the wide-eyed 16-year-old boy entering the EDM arena with nothing but big dreams and loaded ambition. Once a kid inspired by watching fellow Dutchman Tiesto perform at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Garrix is now a 22-year-old evolving performer, with three consecutive No 1 spots on DJ Mag’s annual list.

The ‘Ocean’, ‘In the Name of Love’ and ‘So Far Away’ DJ returns to the UAE this weekend for a set at Bao Festival on November 30. The two-day EDM event kicks off on November 29 at Meydan Dubai, welcoming Garrix, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Afrojack, Don Diablo, Nervo, R3hab, Alok, Salvatore Ganacci, Brooks, Dante Klein, Marcus Santoro and DJ Licious.

Ahead of the gig, Garrix tells Gulf News tabloid! how he feels about his early music and what inspires him to keep moving.

Q: Firstly, congratulations — you’ve been named the No 1 DJ for the third time in a row in DJ Mag. Have you gotten used to topping the list, or is it still a thrill?

A: Thanks! I don’t think I will ever get used to this. I am super grateful for all the things I get to see and experience and also for my amazing fans. They are the ones that make this possible for me and that voted me to the No 1 spot again.

Q: Tell us about your recent collaboration with Khalid, ‘Ocean’. (Garrix’s highest-charting hit to date.) How did it come about?

A: About a year ago, Khalid tweeted me a quote [from] a fan that asked for a collaboration between the two of us. I always really liked Khalid’s voice, so when I saw this, I got enthusiastic right away and tweeted, ‘Let’s do it.’ That’s how it all started! Working with him on ‘Ocean’ was such a great experience, he’s an amazing artist.

Q: How do you decide who you collaborate with — and who are the artists still on your wish list?

A: I’m all about the energy of another artist. If I don’t connect with someone, I’m not able to make music with them, either. It’s super important to me. I would love to work with Pharrell one day, I think that could be something interesting. I like to work with people that think outside of the box. I think it’s cool to work with someone from a complete different genre and try to find a way to balance in the middle.

Q: How much do you feel you’ve changed as a producer since you first began?

A: Of course, I got better at producing, but I’m still learning every day. I like to try new things and improve myself. When I listen to old productions, I think, ‘Really?’ But it’s all a part of the process.

Q: What’s been the most emotional or impactful moment of your career so far?

A: It’s really difficult to pick one, because I’ve been in a rollercoaster the last couple of years. I’ve had so many impactful moments that I really couldn’t choose just one.

Q: You recently dropped the track ‘Waiting for Tomorrow’ with Mike Shinoda. It was a long time in a making. Why did you decide to finish it now?

A: Releasing tracks can be complicated sometimes, but I’m super happy we finally released it. I’ve been playing it in my sets for a long time now and I’m really glad everyone can now listen to the track everywhere.

Q: What’s one milestone that you’d still like to achieve?

Taking my solo show to arenas all over the world!

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The details

Tickets to Bao Festival are now on sale, starting from Dh395.