Calvin Harris

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Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris - Rock in Rio Madrid 2012 - 12.jpg
Harris performing at Rock in Rio in Madrid in July 2012
Background information
Birth name Adam Richard Wiles
Born (1984-01-17) 17 January 1984 (age 31)
Dumfries, Scotland
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • DJ
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
Years active 1999–present

Adam Richard Wiles (born 17 January 1984), better known by his stage name Calvin Harris, is a Scottish singer, songwriter, record producer and DJ. His debut album, I Created Disco, was released in 2007 and was the precursor to his top-ten singles "Acceptable in the 80s" and "The Girls". His second studio album, Ready for the Weekend (2009), includes number one single "I'm Not Alone" and top-five hit "Ready for the Weekend" as well as the singles "Flashback" and "You Used to Hold Me".

In October 2012, Harris released his third studio album, 18 Months, containing the UK top-10 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".

Harris has written and produced tracks for recording artists that include Kylie Minogue, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Dizzee Rascal, Cheryl Cole, Rita Ora, Example, and Rihanna. The latter's single, "We Found Love", was an international success, giving Harris his first US number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100. Harris released his fourth studio album, Motion, on 3 November 2014.[3]

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.[4] In October 2014, he became the first artist to place three songs simultaneously on the top 10 of Billboard's Dance/Electronic Songs chart.[5] According to Forbes, Harris was the highest-paid DJ of 2013 and 2014.[6][7]

Early life and career[edit]

Adam Richard Wiles was born on 17 January 1984 in Dumfries, Scotland.[8][9] His father was a biochemist and his mother was a housewife. He has an older sister and brother.[10]

He was first attracted to electronic music in his teens and was recording bedroom demos by 1999.[11] At 17, he started working at a fish factory and in supermarkets to earn money for moving to London, hoping to learn from the local music scene.[12]

Music career[edit]

Early days[edit]

When Harris was 18 he achieved success with the songs "Da Bongos" and "Brighter Days". Both were released as 12" club singles and CD-EPs by the label Prima Facie in early 2002 under the name "Stouffer".[9] He released one song in 2004, "Let Me Know", with artist Ayah Marar. The song appears on The Unabombers' Electric Soul 2.[citation needed]

2006–08: I Created Disco[edit]

Main article: I Created Disco
Harris performing at the Eurockéennes 2008

Harris signed contracts with Three Six Zero Group (management), EMI (publishing) and Sony BMG (recording) in 2006 after he had been discovered on the social networking website Myspace. Harris had recently moved back from London to his hometown of Dumfries because he was unable to find a job.[13] Later in 2006, Harris produced a remix of All Saints' hit single "Rock Steady".[citation needed]

Harris' 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.[14][15] 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.[citation needed]

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.[16] "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.[16] 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.[17]

2009–10: Ready for the Weekend[edit]

Harris performing at Xbox Reverb in 2009

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.[18] 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.[19] The album, Ready for the Weekend, was released in August 2009[20] 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.[16] Other tracks included on the album are "Worst Day" featuring Izza Kizza[21] and "Yeah Yeah Yeah La La La", which was used in a Coca-Cola advertisement in the summer of 2009.[22]

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.[16] 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.[23] In 2010, Harris received a BRIT Award nomination for British Male.[citation needed]

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."[24] 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."[25] 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.[26]

Harris claimed that "Yeah 3x" plagiarised his 2009 single "I'm Not Alone". Harris tweeted, "Choked on my cornflakes when I heard [the] new Chris Brown single this morning. Do you know what I mean?"[27] After receiving many abusive messages from Brown's fans after posting the comment, Brown took exception to this while Harris tweeted he had never heard of him.[28] Having considered similarities between the two songs, Harris was subsequently added to the songwriting credits on the single and the F.A.M.E. album.[29]

Harris performing in Australia

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.[citation needed]

Harris appeared at the tenth birthday of Our:House in Auckland, New Zealand, in November 2010, alongside Afrojack,[30] 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.

2011–13: 18 Months[edit]

Main article: 18 Months

In 2011, Harris 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."[31] Harris played the 2011 Mardi Gras Party in Sydney on 5 March.[32]

During March and April 2011, Harris was scheduled to be an opening act/DJ for Katy Perry during 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.[33] Perry publicly criticised Harris via her Twitter feed, stating that the tour's other support acts had expressed no problems with their production arrangements,[33] but Harris later said "it's all fine" between them and that he would still like to work with her in the future.[34]

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.[35] Following "Awooga", Harris released the single "Bounce", a collaboration with Kelis that debuted at number two on the UK Singles Chart in June 2011.[16] Another single, "Feel So Close", was released in August 2011 and also reached number two in the United Kingdom.[16] "Feel So Close" became Harris's first solo entry on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, peaking at number twelve.[36]

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[37] in Sydney, as well as Rhythm and Vines in New Zealand.[38]

"Let's Go" featuring Ne-Yo, released in April 2012, also reached number two in the UK,[16] while reaching number six in Ireland. It was his second Hot 100 appearance as a main artist, charting at number seventeen.[36] 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.[39] 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."[40] 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.[41]

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".[42][43] In February 2013, Harris signed as the first exclusive resident DJ at the MGM Grand's Hakkasan nightclub in Las Vegas, where he currently performs on a regular basis.[44] Harris performed as part of the post-race concert of the 2013 Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix in April 2013.[45] At the 2013 Ivor Novello Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London in May, Harris received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year, calling it "easily the greatest achievement of my entire life".[46]

2013–present: Motion[edit]

In October 2013, Harris and Swedish DJ Alesso released a collaborative single with synthpop duo Hurts called "Under Control".[47] It debuted at number one in the UK. On 14 March 2014, Harris's song "Summer" premiered on the UK's Capital FM.[48] The track was released on 14 March 2014 as the first single from his forthcoming fourth studio album.[49][50] It debuted at number one in the UK and Ireland.

In June, Harris announced the single "Blame" through Twitter and revealed the cover art. It features vocals from John Newman. Later that month, on 26 June, Harris uploaded a dancefloor-focused track called "C.U.B.A." to SoundCloud.[51] The single "Outside" featuring the vocals by Ellie Goulding was released on 20 October 2014. [52] His fourth album called Motion was released on 4 November 2014. It included "Under Control", "Summer", "Outside" and "Blame".[53] "Slow Acid" was released as a promotional single from the album on 14 October 2014.[54] A track titled Pray to God, featuring rock band trio HAIM was released on 11 February 2015. Harris is currently dating singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.[55][56] By June 2015, the duo were ranked as the highest-paid celebrity couple over the past year by Forbes with combined earnings of over $146 million.[57]

Productions and songwriting[edit]

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.[14] 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".[citation needed]

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 600,000 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.[58] Also in 2009, Harris made a guest appearance on Tiësto's song "Century" on the Dutch producer's album Kaleidoscope.[59] 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).[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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."[60] 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).[citation needed]

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.[61] He won an Ivor Novello Award for "Songwriter of the Year" in 2013.[62]

Other work[edit]

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. Harris also produced a remix of Dragonette's debut single "I Get Around" that was rejected by the band. In 2007, Kelis discussed plans to work with Harris on her then-upcoming album, although this did not materialise.[63] 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".[64][65]

American singer Katy Perry expressed an interest in working with Harris in 2009,[66] and at one point they had pencilled recording sessions for her second album, Teenage Dream (2010),[67] 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.[68] 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 missed the deadline. Harris admitted, "[Y]ou can't work under that kind of pressure. I can't anyway."[69] In April 2012, it was reported that Harris had contributed several tracks to Kesha's then-untitled second studio album, Warrior.[70] However, none of these tracks made the final cut.[71]

Concert tours[edit]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2007 BT Digital Music Awards Best Electronic Artist or DJ Calvin Harris Nominated
Q Awards Best Breakthrough Artist 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 Pop Video Nominated
Best Electronic Video "Feel So Close" Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Song "We Found Love" (with Rihanna) Nominated
Best Video Nominated
Best Electronic Act Calvin Harris Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Japan Best Pop "We Found Love" (with Rihanna) Nominated
American Music Awards Favorite EDM Artist Calvin Harris Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Electronic Dance Music Artist 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
Los Premios 40 Principales América Best International Act Calvin Harris Nominated
Best International Dance Act Nominated
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
Teen Choice Awards Electronic Dance Music Artist 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
American Music Awards Favorite 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
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Electronic Act Calvin Harris Nominated
Best UK & Ireland Act Nominated
2014 Grammy Awards Best Dance Recording "Sweet Nothing" (featuring Florence Welch) Nominated
Best Dance/Electronica Album 18 Months Nominated
BRIT Awards British Single of the Year "I Need Your Love" (featuring Ellie Goulding) Nominated
British Video Nominated
iHeartRadio Music Awards EDM Song of the Year "Sweet Nothing" (featuring Florence Welch) Nominated
Billboard Music Awards Top Dance/Electronic Artist Calvin Harris Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Electronic Dance Music Artist Won
EDM Song "Summer" Nominated
Summer Song Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Dance Video Nominated
Los Premios 40 Principales América Best English Language Song Won
Best English Language Act Calvin Harris Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Electronic Act Won
Best UK & Ireland Act Nominated
American Music Awards Favorite EDM Artist Won
BMI London Awards Song of the Year "I Need Your Love" (featuring Ellie Goulding) Nominated[72]
2015 Brit Awards British Single "Summer" Nominated
British Video Nominated
iHeartRadio Music Awards Dance Song Won
"Blame" (featuring John Newman) Nominated
2015 Billboard Music Awards Top Dance/Electronic Artist Calvin Harris Won
Top Dance/Electronic Song "Summer" Nominated
Top Dance/Electronic Album Motion Nominated


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  52. ^  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
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External links[edit]