Tijs Michiel Verwest was born in Breda, Netherlands on 17 January 1969. He began to cultivate a passion for music from the age of twelve. At age fourteen, he intensified his commitment to the art, and began DJing professionally at school parties. Between 1985 and 1994, Tiësto began a residency at several clubs in the Netherlands at the behest of his manager. At the Spock, a small club in Breda, he fine-tuned his own live style by performing from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. on weekends. In the beginning of his career as a DJ he mostly played new beat and acid house.
In late 1994, Tiësto signed to Basic Beat where he met Arny Bink, Tiësto released records on the sub-label Trashcan, founded by Arny, and later created the Guardian Angel sub-label with Arny in which they introduced the popular Forbidden Paradise series. From 1995-96 he released four extended plays on Bonzai Jumps and XTC, sub-labels of Lightning Records. In 1997, he joined his friend Yves Vandichel on his sub-label, DJ Yves, a division of the now defunct Human Resource label XSV Music. In the fall of 1997, Bink and Tiësto decided to leave Basic Beat and create their own parent label, Black Hole Recordings, Trashcan was discontinued and Guardian Angel continued releasing music until 2002. Through Black Hole, Tiësto released the Magik series and also created two major sub-labels; SongBird and In Trance We Trust. From 1998-99, he released music on Planetary Consciousness where he met A&R Hardy Heller and invited him to release some records on Black Hole.
In 1997, he founded the label Black Hole Recordings with Arny Bink, where he released the Magik and In Search of Sunrise CD series. Tiësto met Producer Dennis Waakop Reijers in 1998; the two have worked together extensively since then.
From 1998 to 2000, Tiësto collaborated with Ferry Corsten under the name Gouryella. His 2000 remix of Delerium's "Silence" featuring Sarah McLachlan exposed him to more mainstream audiences. In 2001, he released his first solo album, In My Memory, which gave him several major hits that launched his career. He was voted World No. 1 DJ by DJ Magazine in its annual Top 100 DJs readership poll consecutively for three years from 2002 to 2004.
In 1998, Tiësto joined forces with fellow Dutch deejay Ferry Corsten to create the trance based duo of Gouryella. The first Gouryella track, also called Gouryella, was released in May 1999 and became a huge hit scoring various chart positions around the world, including a top fifteen position in the UK Singles Chart. Tiësto showcased this track in Magik Three: Far from Earth as well as in his set at the first ID&T Innercity party (Live at Innercity: Amsterdam RAI), his first major breakthrough. The next single, entitled "Walhalla", also made it on the charts worldwide, peaking at No. 27 in the UK Singles Chart. Released via Ferry's Tsunami, both singles went on to be certified Gold on record sales. During these years, Tiësto also collaborated with Benno de Goeij of Rank 1 under the name Kamaya Painters. In November 1999, he released the first installment of the In Search of Sunrise series. Since then, he performed monthly as a resident at Gatecrasher in Sheffield, and played a 12-hour set, his longest, in Amsterdam. On December 31, 1999, he performed at Trance Energy 2000, a special party held by ID&T for the turn of the millennium.
Together with Armin van Buuren, Tiësto created two projects in 2000; Alibi – "Eternity", which was released on Armind, and Major League – "Wonder Where You Are?", which came out on Black Hole. After the release of "Tenshi" in September 2000, Tiësto decided to concentrate on his solo work and left Ferry Corsten to take on the Gouryella project solely as his own. Through his first compilations and the "In Trance We Trust" series, he ended up introducing Armin van Buuren and Johan Gielen to the mainstream. Summerbreeze marked Tiësto's U.S. debut, a mix album that showcased his remix of Delerium's "Silence", which spent four weeks in the UK's Top Ten chart and reached number three in the Billboard dance chart. In Search of Sunrise 2 was released in November 2000.
In 2001, Tiësto created a new sub-label, Magik Muzik, and released his first solo album, In My Memory, which contained 5 major hits; "Lethal Industry", which was actually produced in 1999 and had only 3 copies released at that time, the track was officially released in 2001 which was remixed by Richard Durand in 2006 along with "Flight 643" which was another leading single that was later adapted with vocals by Suzanne Palmer and released as "643 (Love's on Fire)". Other tracks were "Obsession" in which Tiësto worked alongside Junkie XL, the instrumental tracks "Dallas 4PM" and "Suburban Train" with "Urban Train" as its vocal version. The last singles to be released were "In My Memory" which is the title track for the album as it only received high ratings in the United States and the opening track "Magik Journey" which opened Tiësto in Concert (2003). On 2 February 2002, Tiësto played nine consecutive hours during the second edition of the Dutch Dimension festival.
His fame continued to increase for then known he has in the early 2000s, following his six-hour "Tiësto Solo" sets which he performed without other DJs or opening acts. This idea, of one DJ playing alone to a large crowd was new. Tiësto was the first DJ to hold a solo concert in a stadium; on 10 May 2003, he performed for 25,000 people in Arnhem's GelreDome, later called Tiësto in Concert. He repeated the same type of concert the following year during two consecutive nights in late October. In addition to holding these two concerts for 35,000 of his fans, he held another concert for a crowd of 20,000 in Hasselt, Belgium the following week. DVDs of both his 10 May 2003 and 30 October 2004 concerts have been released, having the other DVD titled Tiësto in Concert 2. The DVDs show the journey from the first idea to the main event, featuring live performances by Andain, Dinand Woesthoff, and Jan Johnston. The event includes live music and Dancers performing at different times throughout the set.
During the course of his performance at the Olympics, the Dutch athletes started dancing in front of the DJ booth and had to be moved on by officials. The performance included new tracks produced especially for the Opening Ceremony and songs that were created to complement the spirit and theme of the ceremony. A condensed studio-recorded album of the songs played on the Olympic set was later released, including new songs specially composed for the occasion, entitled Parade of the Athletes in October 2004. In the liner notes, he noted the IOC requested that the music not contain any lyrics as they could be inadvertently misinterpreted. In late 2004, he began his touring across Latin America, with his release of In Search of Sunrise 3: Panama in which he gained influence from the sun and sand in summer 2002. The tour continued in 2005, and Tiësto performed live in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Panama, Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia. Following the tours, In Search of Sunrise 4: Latin America was released in 2005, featuring a second CD for the first time in the In Search of Sunrise series.
On 6 January 2005, Tiësto performed in an outdoor fundraiser in De Dam, Amsterdam. The free event involved Dutch artists like Dinand Woesthoff, BLØF, Acda & De Munnik, Di-rect, and Trijntje Oosterhuis were involved in it to provide financial aid to the people who suffered from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in southern and southeastern Asia.
In April 2006, Tiësto was named the official worldwide ambassador for the Dance4Life foundation promoting awareness of HIV/AIDS, as the foundation's ambassador he has helped the organisation with fundraising along with recording the track "Dance4life" that he recorded with Maxi Jazz from Faithless. The foundation consists on a better way of living with safe sex in exchange of entertainment to the young crowd. The song was a huge success, peaking for five weeks in number 3 and eleven consecutive weeks in the Top 10 of the Dutch Singles Chart, it reached number 5 in Belgium, number 6 in Finland and also charting in the UK and Germany.
Tiësto announced his residence at Privilege. He played sets in Ibiza every Monday, from 7 July to 22 September in the style of his In Search of Sunrise series. In 2007, he had released In Search of Sunrise 6: Ibiza which was inspired by the island.
On 28 April, he released Elements of Life: Remixed, a recompilation of the Elements of Life album with all remixed versions. In mid-2008, Tiësto announced his In Search of Sunrise: Summer Tour 2008, which was presented by Armani Exchange in May in support of his In Search of Sunrise 7: Asia compilation and the previously released In Search of Sunrise 6: Ibiza.
Also in 2009 and 2010, Tiësto contributed songs to both the DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2 video games and is a playable character in the second game. He also produced a trance-flavored song for Memphis rap duo Three 6 Mafia's album called "Feel It", which features Sean Kingston and Flo Rida.
On 16 March 2010, he released a greatest hits album, Magikal Journey: The Hits Collection 1998–2008, a two disc album focusing on his most famous songs and remixes of his songs. On 7 April, he announced that he would start a new compilation series called A New Dawn with his own label Musical Freedom. In his interview Tiësto furthermore confirmed that he would no longer have any more involvement with Black Hole Recordings. On 31 August, Kaleidoscope: Remixed was released, a remix album of his album Kaleidoscope.
On 4 April 2011, his mix compilation Club Life: Volume One Las Vegas was released. On 13 June, his studio album, Kiss from the Past, was released under his alias Allure, and featured Christian Burns, JES, and Emma Hewitt.
In November 2012, Tiësto released a compilation album Dance (RED) Save Lives in collaboration with Product Red, with the aim of donating any proceeds from the album to the fight against AIDS.
Club Life: Volume Three Stockholm was released worldwide physically on 25 June 2013 and it hit #16 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. He followed up his third "Club Life" installment with the 2014 effort, A Town Called Paradise. The album featured an assortment of guest stars and was preceded by two singles, "Red Lights" and "Wasted" – yielding his first two gold singles in the U.S. A medley from the album also soundtracks a presentation at the Bellagio (resort) fountain in Las Vegas, a first for a dance music Artist.
In September 2014, Tiësto headlined the free Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park.
In 2015, at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, he won the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for his remixed version of John Legend's hit "All Of Me". The same year his fourth installment of the Club Life compilation series, titled Club Life: Volume Four New York City, was released through Musical Freedom. In April 2016, he launched a deep house label, AFTR:HRS, to promote deep house music. He appeared in the 2016 Grammy-nominated documentary film about American DJ and Producer Steve Aoki, titled I'll Sleep When I'm Dead.
In 2016, Forbes estimated that Tiësto's annual income was $39 million.
On October 6, 2017, the fifth installment of the Club Life series entitled 'ClubLife, Vol. 5 - China' was published.. The compilation album features tracks by John Christian, SWACQ, Tiësto and Z.Tao, and collaborations between Tiësto and Aloe Blacc, John Christian, Dzeko, Diplo, KSHMR, Talay Riley, Sevenn, Stargate, SWACQ and Vassy.
On March 30, 2018, Tiësto released his debut EP titled I Like It Loud, featuring four songs that are collaborations with artists such as Mesto, Matisse & Sadko and MOTi.