|Birth name||Adam Richard Wiles|
17 January 1984 |
Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
|Genres||Electro house, progressive house, synthpop, nu-disco|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, producer, DJ|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, synthesiser|
|Labels||Fly Eye, Columbia, Ministry of Sound, Ultra, Roc Nation|
Adam Richard Wiles (born 17 January 1984), better known by his stage name Calvin Harris, is a Scottish DJ, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He owns the vanity label Fly Eye Records. His gold-selling debut album, I Created Disco, was released in 2007 and contained the top-ten singles "Acceptable in the 80s" and "The Girls". His second studio album, Ready for the Weekend (2009), reached number one on the UK Album Chart and includes the chart-topper "I'm Not Alone", the top-five hit "Ready for the Weekend", and the singles "Flashback" and "You Used to Hold Me".
A remix album titled L.E.D. Festival was released in July 2010 as a free album in the August issue of Mixmag. Harris released his third studio album, 18 Months in October 2012, which contained the singles "Bounce", "Feel So Close", "Let's Go", "We'll Be Coming Back", "Sweet Nothing", "Drinking from the Bottle", "I Need Your Love" and "Thinking About You". He has written and produced tracks for other recording artists including Kylie Minogue, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Dizzee Rascal, Cheryl Cole, Example and Rihanna (on the international chart-topper "We Found Love").
Harris holds the record for the most top ten hits from one studio album on the UK Singles Chart with nine hits, surpassing Michael Jackson. According to Forbes, Harris was the highest paid DJ of 2013, grossing an estimated $46 million.
Early life and career
Harris was born Adam Richard Wiles on 17 January 1984 in Dumfries, Scotland. He states that he was a fan of football and aspired to be like Steve McManaman. "But I never had curly hair, so I got into music. If I'd had curly hair, things would've been different." He was first attracted to electronic music in his teens and was recording bedroom demos by 1999. His earliest success was when he was twenty-one: the songs "Da Bongos" and "Brighter Days" were released as a 12" club single and CD-EP by the Prima Facie label in early 2002 under the name Stouffer. He released one song in 2004, "Let Me Know", with artist Ayah Marar. The song appears on The Unabombers' Electric Soul 2.
2006–08: I Created Disco
Harris signed contracts with Three Six Zero Group (management), EMI (publishing) and Sony BMG (recording) in 2006 after he had been discovered by Tommie Sunshine on the social networking website Myspace and his music was released on Sunshine's label Xylophone Jones Recordings previous to his album on Sony BMG. Harris had recently moved back from London to his hometown of Dumfries because he was unable to find a job. Later in 2006, Harris produced a remix of All Saints' hit single "Rock Steady".
Harris's first album, I Created Disco, was released in June 2007. The album contains uptempo electroclash songs that were influenced by music from the 1980s. To promote I Created Disco, Harris embarked on a tour of the UK, supporting Faithless and Groove Armada. I Created Disco was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry for sales of 100,000 copies in the UK, where it reached number eight on the UK Albums Chart.
The first single, "Vegas", was issued on limited edition vinyl; the first wide-release single from the album was "Acceptable in the 80s", a tribute to the style and culture of the decade. The song reached number ten on the UK Singles Chart, remaining on the chart for fifteen weeks. "The Girls", the album's third single, peaked at number three in the UK, although the fourth release, "Merrymaking at My Place", reached only number forty-three. The fifth and final single, "Colours", was featured in television advertisements for DFS sofas and Kia Motors. On 18 October 2008, Harris was featured on BBC Radio 1's Essential Mix with a two-hour set.
2008–10: Ready for the Weekend
In April 2008, Harris stated that the only existing copy of his then-upcoming album, which he had been working on for seven months, was lost when the bag containing his laptop was misplaced during the baggage handling problems at the opening of London Heathrow Terminal 5. In an interview with Popjustice in April 2009, Harris admitted that while he did lose his bags at Heathrow, he lied about the laptop being in his luggage in order to buy himself some more time to finish recording the album, adding that the idea was concocted by him and his sound engineer. The album, Ready for the Weekend, was released in August 2009 and debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, eventually being certified gold by the BPI for shipments of 100,000 copies. "I'm Not Alone", released as the album's lead single in April 2009, debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart and was shortlisted for the Popjustice £20 Music Prize. The follow-up single, "Ready for the Weekend", reached number three. Other tracks included on the album are "Worst Day" featuring Izza Kizza and "Yeah Yeah Yeah La La La", which was used in a Coca-Cola advertisement in the summer of 2009.
Harris toured around the UK, Ireland, France, the Netherlands and the United States promoting the album. In June 2009, Harris appeared at the Summertime Ball at the Emirates Stadium, and in August, he made an appearance on the first Soccer AM show of the season. Harris performed at Wembley Stadium in October 2009 as part of the pre-game entertainment for the NFL International Series game between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The third single from Ready for the Weekend, "Flashback", reached number eighteen in the UK, and the fourth, "You Used to Hold Me", charted at number twenty-seven. During promotion of the album, Harris hosted a series of videos on YouTube titled JAM TV, in which musicians such as Florence Welch, Goldie and Katy Perry tried to open pots of jam. In 2010, Harris received a BRIT Award nomination for British Male.
On 14 November, Harris invaded the stage of The X Factor during a performance by Irish duo Jedward, holding a pineapple on his head and bending over to point at his buttocks. He was subsequently escorted from the studio by the security team and ejected from the ITV2 programme The Xtra Factor, where he was due to appear as a guest the same night. He later apologised on Twitter: "At the end of the day, I had a pineapple on my head. Sorry if I caused anyone embarrassment. Ps. I love Jedward." The same week, Harris spoke to The Chris Moyles Show and revealed that he had been "inspired to make a mockery of the show", as well as stating, "If you look at music it's a frightening stranglehold that Simon Cowell has got over the entire music chart in the UK at the moment." On the same day, Jedward's mentor Louis Walsh, appearing on The Paul O'Grady Show, accused Harris of trying to "cash in" on the duo's fame, and claimed to not know who he was.
2010–present: 18 Months
Harris played at the 2010 Big Day Out, a music festival which takes place in several major cities in Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. In May 2010, he performed at Evolution Festival in Newcastle upon Tyne, and in July he played at Splendour in Nottingham and headlined at the Stockton International Riverside Festival in Stockton-on-Tees. In July 2010, Harris released a mix, titled L.E.D. Festival (short for L.E.D. Festival Presents... Calvin Harris), which was available for one month as a free covermount CD in Mixmag.
Harris appeared at the tenth birthday of Our:House in Auckland, New Zealand, in November 2010, alongside Afrojack, and performed an hour-long DJ set at Australia's Steresonic Festival alongside Tiësto, Carl Cox, Afrojack and Major Lazer in November and December 2010, in several major Australian cities including Sydney and Melbourne. In 2011, he toured with Rihanna as a support act on the European leg of her Loud Tour; Rihanna was quoted to say that "Calvin is the perfect fit for the Loud tour. He is going to bring something unique and fun for the fans." Harris played the 2011 Mardi Gras Party in Sydney on 5 March.
During March and April 2011, Harris was scheduled to be an opening act/DJ for Katy Perry on the UK leg of her California Dreams Tour, but he withdrew from the tour shortly before his first date, citing production issues and difficulties with Perry's management in his apology to her fans. Perry publicly criticised Harris via her Twitter feed, stating that the tour's other support acts had expressed no problems with their production arrangements, but Harris later said "it's all fine" between them and that he would still like to work with her in the future.
Harris headlined Limelite at Metropolis Fremantle in Western Australia in March 2011 in celebration of the event's fourth birthday, where he played small samples of his new track, "Awooga", which was subsequently uploaded onto YouTube via his channel. Following "Awooga", Harris released the single "Bounce", a collaboration with Kelis that debuted at number two on the UK Singles Chart in June 2011. Another single, "Feel So Close", was released in August 2011 and also reached number two in the United Kingdom. "Feel So Close" became Harris's first solo entry on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, peaking at number twelve.
Harris performed at the 2011 Jingle Bell Ball concert, and was announced as one of the headline acts at a number of Southern Hemisphere 2011/2012 new year music festivals, including Shore Thing and Field Day in Sydney, as well as Rhythm and Vines in New Zealand.
"Let's Go" featuring Ne-Yo, released in April 2012, also reached number two in the UK, while reaching number six in Ireland. It was his second Hot 100 appearance as a main artist, charting at number seventeen. The song was commissioned for a Pepsi Max advertising campaign. "We'll Be Coming Back", featuring rapper Example, was released as the fourth single in July 2012. It peaked at number two in the UK, and reached number one in Ireland. The fifth single, "Sweet Nothing", features Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, and was released on 14 October 2012. It peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart, marking Harris' first number-one single as main artist in the United Kingdom since his 2009 single, "I'm Not Alone" as a main artist. The song peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. These singles became part of his newest album, which was released on 29 October 2012 in the UK. He has said of the album, "I'm going for pretty epic-sounding dance records. I guess the whole sound has just moved on in terms of production as I've got a new studio and some new gear to make the sounds I wasn't able to make before." On 22 August 2012, Harris announced via Twitter that his third studio album will be titled 18 Months and will feature Kelis, Rihanna, Example, Nicky Romero, Ellie Goulding, Tinie Tempah, Florence Welch, Dizzee Rascal, Ne-Yo, Ayah Marar and Dillon Francis.
Harris was the house DJ at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards held at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, where he won Best Electronic Video for "Feel So Close" and Video of the Year alongside Rihanna for "We Found Love".
Since 2013, he has been in a relationship with British-Albanian singer Rita Ora.
Productions and songwriting
In 2007, Harris caught the attention of Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue after his recordings had been passed on to her by another record producer. This led to him co-writing and producing two songs on her 2007 album X—"Heart Beat Rock" and "In My Arms", the latter a top ten hit in the UK. Harris said that working with Minogue was "surreal, but fun" although he admitted to Mixmag in 2007 to "needing a few drinks before meeting her". Harris returned to work with Minogue on her album Aphrodite (2010), co-producing the track "Too Much".
In 2008, Harris collaborated with rapper Dizzee Rascal on his single "Dance wiv Me", producing the track and singing the hook. The single reached number one in the UK and has been certified platinum by the BPI, selling 300,000 copies. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Popjustice £20 Music Prize and, in 2009, received a BRIT Award nomination for British Single and an Ivor Novello Award nomination for Best Contemporary Song. In 2009, he produced Dizzee Rascal's next single titled "Holiday", which also reached number one. He was supposed to make an appearance in its music video, but objected to dancing along in some scenes, wearing a certain shirt for the video and not wearing his "fly eye" glasses. Also in 2009, Harris made a guest appearance on Tiësto's song "Century" on the Dutch producer's album Kaleidoscope. Harris produced a track for English singer/rapper Example for his second album Won't Go Quietly (2010), "Time Machine", and mixed The Ting Tings' UK top forty single "Hands", having previously remixed the duo's singles "Great DJ" (2008) and "We Walk" (2009).
In 2011, Harris featured on LMFAO's album Sorry for Party Rocking, appearing on the track "Reminds Me of You" which is based on Harris's own song "Awooga". Harris produced Tinchy Stryder's second single, "Off the Record" from his fourth studio album, Full Tank. The track had its première on 15 September 2011, and was released in the UK on 6 November 2011.
Following a stint as her support act on the Australian leg of her tour, Harris produced "We Found Love" and "Where Have You Been" for Barbadian singer Rihanna. The former is the lead single from her sixth studio album, Talk That Talk, and was premiered in September 2011. It has reached number one in countries such as the UK and the United States, becoming Harris's first charting appearance on the Billboard Hot 100. In an interview for Q magazine, Harris said of the lyric "We found love in a hopeless place": "It could have been Jumpin Jaks in Dumfries (Harris' home town), I don't know exactly what I was thinking about." He co-wrote and co-produced the bonus track "One Life" for R&B singer Mary J. Blige's album My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1) (2011).
Harris worked with American pop band Scissor Sisters on the single "Only the Horses" from their fourth studio album, Magic Hour. He wrote and produced Cheryl Cole's single "Call My Name", the lead single from her third album A Million Lights. He won an Ivor Novello Award for "Songwriter of the Year" in 2013.
In 2007, Harris contributed the song "Off & On" to Róisín Murphy's album Overpowered, but it was cut from the album; Harris later gave the song to Sophie Ellis-Bextor to record for her 2011 album Make a Scene. He said that Murphy was "a bit mental", "crazy" and a "twat" to reject the songs, though subsequently apologized in person to Murphy "for throwing my toys out of the pram because I said things that weren't very nice. She said: 'That's all right, we all say silly things sometimes.'" Harris also produced a remix of Dragonette's debut single "I Get Around" that was rejected by the band, whom he said "weren't very nice to me [...] they said, 'by the way, it's shit', and then asked me to change everything about it. I told them I couldn't because I was on a bus and that they could basically **** OFF. That's where we left it."
In 2007, Kelis discussed plans to work with Harris on her then-upcoming album, saying that he was "very creative and exciting [...] very, very talented". Although she said they were "looking at doing something together" for the album, this did not materialise. Harris did, however, produce a remix of Flesh Tone's second single, "4th of July (Fireworks)", and later collaborated with her on his 2011 single "Bounce".
Harris has said that in early 2008, he turned down the opportunity to work with American singer Lady Gaga before the release of her top-selling debut album, The Fame. He told The Sun, "Her name rang a bell, so I checked my emails and it turns out that on January 1, 2008, I got an email asking to work with her. I thought, 'Lady Gaga, what sort of name is that?' So I replied saying, 'Nah, I'm not into that.' Fast forward a year and she's the biggest thing. But I don't regret turning her down as I didn't think the song I heard then was that good." In a later interview, Harris stated he considers Gaga to be a "good artist". In October 2012, Gaga confronted Harris over the duet claims. She tweeted: "never even emailed you @calvinharris I guess it's hard to believe I write + produce my music. cuz I'm a woman I don't know about EDM right?" Harris quickly responded: "no your label emailed me. I always make sure I say Im a fan when asked about it, I apologise if I offended u, wasn't the intention."
American singer Katy Perry expressed an interest in working with Harris in 2009, and at one point they had pencilled recording sessions for her second album, Teenage Dream (2010), but no material was released. Harris worked with boy band JLS on songs for their second album, Outta This World (2010), but none of his work made the cut for the album. The third single from that album, "Eyes Wide Shut", was said to borrow heavily from Harris's own single "I'm Not Alone", but Harris said that it "wasn't [JLS's] fault and had nothing to do with them".
Harris also unsuccessfully tried to follow up his successful collaboration with Rihanna by submitting a track for her seventh studio album, Unapologetic (2012). He had completed a portion of the song, but was given such short notice to make the track, and missed the deadline. Harris admitted, "[Y]ou can't work under that kind of pressure. I can't anyway."
- Groove Armada: Soundboy Rock tour (2007)
- Faithless: To All New Arrivals tour (2007)
- Ready for the Weekend tour (2009–10)
- Deadmau5 and Skrillex: 'Unhooked' tour (2010)
- Rihanna: Last Girl on Earth Tour and Loud Tour (2011)
- Budweiser Made in America Festival – (2012-13) Philadelphia
- Stereosonic Festival Tour (2013), Australia
Awards and nominations
|2007||BT Digital Music Awards||Best Electronic Artist or DJ||Calvin Harris||Nominated|
|Q Awards||Best Breakthrough Artist||Nominated|
|2008||XFM New Music Award||—||I Created Disco||Nominated|
|Shortlist Music Prize||—||Nominated|
|Popjustice £20 Music Prize||—||"Dance wiv Me" (with Dizzee Rascal and Chrome)||Nominated|
|2009||The Music Producers Guild Awards||Best Remixer||Calvin Harris||Won|
|BRIT Awards||British Single||"Dance wiv Me" (with Dizzee Rascal and Chrome)||Nominated|
|NME Awards||Best Dancefloor Filler||Won|
|Ivor Novello Awards||Best Contemporary Song||Nominated|
|Popjustice £20 Music Prize||Best Contemporary Song||"I'm Not Alone"||Nominated|
|2010||BRIT Awards||Best British Male||Calvin Harris||Nominated|
|2012||MTV Video Music Awards||Video of the Year||"We Found Love" (with Rihanna)||Won|
|Best Female Video||Nominated|
|Best Pop Video||Nominated|
|Best Electronic Video||"Feel So Close"||Won|
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best Song||"We Found Love" (with Rihanna)||Nominated|
|Best Electronic Act||Calvin Harris||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Female||"We Found Love" (with Rihanna)||Nominated|
|American Music Awards||Favorite Electronic Dance Music||Calvin Harris||Nominated|
|MuchMusic Video Awards||International Video of the Year – Artist||"We Found Love" (with Rihanna)||Nominated|
|International Dance Music Awards||Best R&B/Urban Dance Track||Won|
|Best Commercial/Pop Dance Track||Won|
|NRJ Music Awards||Best Song International||Nominated|
|Billboard Music Awards||Top Radio Song||Nominated|
|mtvU Woodie Awards||EDM Effect Woodie||Won|
|2013||Grammy Awards||Best Dance Recording||"Let's Go" (featuring Ne-Yo)||Nominated|
|Best Short Form Music Video||"We Found Love" (with Rihanna)||Won|
|BRIT Awards||British Male Solo Artist||Calvin Harris||Nominated|
|NME Awards||Dancefloor Anthem||"Sweet Nothing" (featuring Florence Welch)||Won|
|ASCAP Pop Music Awards||Most Performed Song||"We Found Love" (with Rihanna)||Won|
|"Let's Go" (featuring Ne-Yo)||Won|
|"Where Have You Been"||Won|
|"Feel So Close"||Won|
|MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Collaboration||"Sweet Nothing" (featuring Florence Welch)||Nominated|
|International Dance Music Awards||Best Commercial/Pop Dance Track||Won|
|Best Progressive Track||Nominated|
|Best Music Video||Nominated|
|Best Remixer||Calvin Harris||Nominated|
|Best Artist (Solo)||Nominated|
|Billboard Music Awards||Top EDM Song||"Sweet Nothing" (featuring Florence Welch)||Nominated|
|"Feel So Close"||Nominated|
|Top Dance Artist||Calvin Harris||Nominated|
|Top EDM Artist||Nominated|
|Scottish Album of the Year||Album of the Year||18 Months||Nominated|
|Ivor Novello Awards||Songwriter of the Year||Calvin Harris||Won|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Collaboration||"I Need Your Love" (featuring Ellie Goulding)||Nominated|
|Best Song of the Summer||Nominated|
|2014||Grammy Awards||Best Dance Recording||"Sweet Nothing" (featuring Florence Welch)||Pending|
|Best Dance/Electronica Album||18 Months||Pending|
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