Adam Richard Wiles (born 17 January 1984), known professionally as Calvin Harris, is a Scottish record producer, DJ, singer and songwriter. His debut studio album I Created Disco was released in June 2007, and was the precursor to his UK top 10 singles “Acceptable in the 80s” and “The Girls”. In 2009, Harris released his second studio album Ready for the Weekend, which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and was later certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry within two months of its release. Its lead single “I’m Not Alone” became his first number-one single on the UK Singles Chart.
Harris rose to international prominence with the release of his third studio album 18 Months in October 2012. Topping the UK charts, the album became his first to chart on the US Billboard 200 chart (where it reached number 19). All eight of the album’s singles, which were “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” reached the top 10 in the UK. Harris released his fourth studio album Motion in November 2014. It debuted at number two in the UK and at number five in the US, and became Harris’s second consecutive number one album on the US Dance/Electronic Albums chart. The album’s first three singles “Under Control”, “Summer” and “Blame” all topped the UK chart.
Harris has collaborated with numerous other recording artists. His collaboration with Rihanna “We Found Love” became an international success, giving Harris his first US number one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Harris later collaborated with Rihanna on the singles “Where Have You Been” (2012) and “This Is What You Came For” (2016). Harris currently holds the record for the most top 10 songs from one studio album on the UK Singles Chart with nine top 10 entries, surpassing Michael Jackson. In October 2014, he became the first artist to place three songs simultaneously on the top 10 of Billboard‘s Dance/Electronic Songs chart. He also became the first British solo artist to reach more than one billion streams on Spotify. Harris has received ten Brit Award nominations—three for Best British Male, and four Grammy nominations, winning a Grammy for Best Music Video in 2013. He received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year in 2013 and at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards was named Top Dance/Electronic Artist. Additionally, Harris topped Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid DJs for three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015. One of the most successful musicians in contemporary British popular culture, Harris appeared on Debrett’s 2017 list of the most influential people in Britain. Harris runs his own record label, Fly Eye Records.
Adam Richard Wiles was born on 17 January 1984 in Dumfries, Scotland. His parents, David Wiles, a biochemist, and Pamela, a homemaker, married in Oxford before moving to the Dumfries suburb of Georgetown. He has an older sister, Sophie, and an older brother, Edward. He attended Dumfries High School, and after leaving school he stacked shelves in supermarkets and worked in a local fish processing factory in order to buy DJ gear.
He was first attracted to electronic music in his teens and began recording bedroom demos in 1999. When Harris was 18 he released two songs “Da Bongos” and “Brighter Days”. Both were released as 12-inch club singles and CD-EPs by the label Prima Facie in early 2002 under the name “Stouffer”. With these singles to his credit, Harris moved from Scotland to London, hoping to learn from the local music scene. Only one of his songs was released during his time in London, “Let Me Know” with vocalist Ayah Marar on the Unabombers’ 2004 live-mix CD Electric Soul, Vol. 2. With the lack of job opportunities and money, Harris returned home to Dumfries and began posting homemade solo recordings to his Myspace page. Harris’ popularity on the social media website created Internet attention that prompted Mark Gillespie, a talent booker for the dance-festival firm Global Gathering who had recently founded his own management firm, to make Harris the company’s first signing.
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. Later in 2006, Harris produced a remix of All Saints’ single “Rock Steady”.
Harris’s debut album, I Created Disco, was released in June 2007. He started working on the album in 2006 after he moved back from living in London to his hometown of Dumfries, Scotland. All 14 tracks were written, produced and performed solely by Harris and all recording and producing for the album took place on an Amiga computer. 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 (BPI). It reached number eight on the UK Albums Chart and number 19 on the US Top Electronic Albums.
The album contained uptempo electroclash songs that were influenced by music from the 1980s. The song, “Vegas”, was issued on limited edition vinyl. The first wide-release single from the album was released in March 2007. “Acceptable in the 80s”, a tribute to the style and culture of the decade, reached number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, remaining on the chart for 15 weeks. “The Girls”, the album’s second single, peaked at number three in the UK Singles Chart and at number four in the Scotland chart. The third and final release from the album, “Merrymaking at My Place”, only reached number 43.
The same year, 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-10 single 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 also contributed the song “Off & On” to Róisín Murphy’s album Overpowered, but it was cut from the album. Harris would later give the song to Sophie Ellis-Bextor to record for her 2011 album Make a Scene. In 2007, Harris produced a remix of the second single “4th of July (Fireworks)” from Kelis’ album Flesh Tone.
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. On 18 October 2008, Harris was featured on BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix with a two-hour set.
Harris’ second 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 within two months of release. Eleven of the fourteen tracks included in the album were sung, produced and written solely by Harris. “I’m Not Alone”, released as the album’s lead single in April 2009, debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up single, “Ready for the Weekend”, reached number three. The third single from Ready for the Weekend, “Flashback”, featuring Jordanian singer Ayah Marar reached number eighteen in the UK. 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. At the 2010 Brit Awards, Harris received a nomination for Best British Male.
On 8 February 2010, “You Used to Hold Me” was released as the fourth and final single from the album. It reached number 27 on The UK Singles Chart. The song marked the last time Harris regularly sang on his records, he opted to focus more on music production while having guest singers provide the vocals for him. The same year, shortly after his “Ready for the Weekend tour” wrapped, Harris parted ways with members of his band in which he served as lead vocalist and made the decision to stop doing live shows. In an interview with Billboard, Harris said: “I thought I’d exhausted every avenue [on the two albums] and it takes a long time to make me sound good, which is why I stopped singing live as well. I’d like to think of someone who’s better-looking, a better singer, better dancer to be the frontperson for the song.” He also released several remixes, including remixes of Shakira’s “She Wolf”, Katy Perry’s “Waking Up in Vegas”, Mr Hudson’s “Supernova” (featuring Kanye West) and Mika’s “We Are Golden”.
Harris also produced Dizzee Rascal’s next single titled “Holiday”, which reached number one on the UK singles chart. Harris made a guest appearance as vocalist on Tiësto’s song “Century” on the Dutch producer’s album Kaleidoscope. Harris also produced and mixed the English duo The Ting Tings’s single Hands which was released on 18 August 2010. The song was originally set to become the first single of their second studio album, but the duo ultimately cancelled the album plans and the song was added as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Sounds From Nowheresville. On 14 November, Harris invaded the stage of the UK’s The X Factor during a performance by Irish duo Jedward, holding a pineapple on his head. He later apologised on Twitter.
Harris claimed that Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3x”, released in October 2010 plagiarised his 2009 single “I’m Not Alone” After considering similarities between the two songs, Harris was subsequently added to the songwriting credits on the single and the F.A.M.E. album. Harris also featured on Kylie Minogue’s eleventh studio album Aphrodite, collaborating on a disco and synthpop track titled “Too Much”. In July 2010, Harris released a mix, titled L.E.D. Festival (short for L.E.D. Festival Presents… Calvin Harris).
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.” Harris played the 2011 Mardi Gras Party in Sydney on 5 March. Harris also 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 premiere on 15 September 2011, and was released in the UK on 6 November 2011.
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 US, peaking at number 12. 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.
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 was included on Harris’s upcoming album 18 Months, and premiered on Capital FM radio in the UK on 22 September 2011. “We Found Love” topped the charts in 27 countries worldwide, including the UK where it became Harris’s third UK number one, peaked in the top 10 in 30 countries, and broke many records worldwide. Topping the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 non-consecutive weeks, it was Harris’s first US number one, and was also Rihanna’s longest-running US number one and the longest-running number one of 2011. “We Found Love” was later ranked number 24 on the list of the all-time top 100 songs 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.” In 2013, “We Found Love” was placed at number three on Billboard‘s top 10 dance-pop collaborations of all time.
Harris 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 (2011). He also worked with the 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. Harris also produced a remix of Florence and the Machine’s “Spectrum” titled “Spectrum (Say My Name)“. The song was released as the album’s fifth single on 5 July 2012. It was serviced to radio in the UK on 2 July 2012. It became the group’s first single to peak at number one on the UK Singles Chart.
“Let’s Go” featuring Ne-Yo, released in April 2012, also reached number two in the UK Singles Chart. It was his second US Billboard Hot 100 appearance as a main artist, charting at number 17. The song received a nomination for Best Dance Recording at the 55th Grammy Awards which was held in February 2013. The album’s fourth single “We’ll Be Coming Back” was released in July 2012. Featuring rapper Example, it peaked at number two in the UK. 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 and at number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song received a nomination for Best Dance Recording at the 56th Grammy Awards. These singles became part of his third studio album, 18 Months, which was released on 29 October 2012. Harris eventually made UK chart history by becoming the first artist to attain eight top-10 singles from one studio album, breaking the record previously set by Michael Jackson. 18 Months received a nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album at the 56th Grammy Awards. Harris was also nominated for Best British Male Solo Artist at the 2013 Brit Awards in February.
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”. Harris performed as part of the post-race concert of the 2013 Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix in April 2013. 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, with Harris calling it “easily the greatest achievement of my entire life”. In 2012, Harris made statements explaining why he wanted to stop singing on tracks stating, “I want each track as good as it can possibly be, which usually means me not singing on it.”
On 7 October 2013, Harris and Swedish DJ Alesso released a collaborative single with synthpop duo Hurts called “Under Control” as the first single from his fourth album. The song debuted at number one in the UK. Later that month, Harris remixed The Killers’ song “When You Were Young” for the deluxe edition of their greatest hits album Direct Hits. He unveiled the full six-minute version through Rolling Stone and told the magazine: “It was a real honour to be asked to remix one of my favourite modern bands, and it was an exciting challenge for me to update this classic track for the dance-floor in a tasteful and respectful way”.
On 14 March 2014, Harris’s song “Summer” premiered on the UK’s Capital FM. The track which was released as the album’s second single debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Harris’s sixth UK number-one single. It also became Harris’s highest-charting solo single on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number seven. “Summer” was Spotify’s most-streamed track of 2014 with over 200 million streams. Harris also produced the single “I Will Never Let You Down” for British singer, Rita Ora. On 18 May 2014, the song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, two weeks after his song, “Summer”, debuted at the top of the charts.
In April 2014, Harris performed on the main stage of Coachella Festival. His set attracted the second largest crowd in the festival’s history, topped only by the 2012 set of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg which featured a hologram of Tupac Shakur. That year, Harris was also a headline act at several prominent music festivals, including Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival, the iTunes Festival in London, Electric Daisy Carnival and the iHeartRadio Music Festival.
The third single was Harris’s collaboration with vocalist John Newman which was titled “Blame”. It was released in September 2014 to positive reviews from music critics and debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, giving Harris his third consecutive UK number-one single (and his seventh solo single overall). After the release of the song, Harris became the first British solo artist to reach more than a billion streams on Spotify. Later that month, Harris uploaded an instrumental track called “C.U.B.A.” to SoundCloud. “Outside”, the fourth single from the album, featuring Ellie Goulding, was released in October 2014. It marked the second collaboration between Harris and Goulding, following the internationally successful single “I Need Your Love” from 2013. The instrumental track “Slow Acid” was released as a promotional single from the album on 14 October 2014.
His fourth album, Motion, was released on 4 November 2014. It includes the previously released singles “Under Control”, “Summer”, “Blame” and “Outside”. Another track from the album, “Pray to God”, featuring rock band trio Haim, was released on 11 February 2015. At the 2015 Brit Awards, “Summer” was nominated for Best British Single and British Artist Video of the Year. At the 2015 Glamour Awards in London on 2 June, Harris was named Glamour UK’s Man of the Year. He was also ranked 6th on Billboard‘s Top 30 EDM Power Players. The same month, Harris was part of the main stage line-up at the Electric Daisy Carnival held in Las Vegas.
On 17 July 2015, Harris and London-based production trio Disciples released the single “How Deep Is Your Love”. The song peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, giving Harris his 19th top-10 entry in the UK. It peaked at number one on the ARIA Charts, giving Harris his first chart-topper in Australia. The song peaked at number three on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs in the US and marked Harris’s eighth top-10 entry since the chart’s launch, making it the most of any act. In September, Harris was featured on Dillon Francis’s EP This Mixtape Is Fire, collaborating on a Moombahton style track entitled “What’s Your Name”. For the 2016 Brit Awards, Harris received three nominations; Best British Male Solo Artist, and “How Deep Is Your Love” for British Single of the Year and Best British Video.
Harris released a new single titled “This Is What You Came For”, which features Rihanna, on 29 April 2016. The single debuted at number two on the UK Singles Chart. It peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Harris’ second top five song. It also reached number one on the US Hot Dance/Electronic Songs, became Harris’s tenth number one on sister chart Dance/Mix Show Airplay, and his fourth chart-topper on the Hot Dance Club Songs Chart. It topped the charts in Australia, Canada, and the Republic of Ireland and peaked within the top ten of the charts in Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland.
On 24 June 2016, Harris released a collaboration with Dizzee Rascal, titled “Hype”. On 8 July 2016, John Newman released the track “Olé”, which was produced by Harris. On September 16, 2016, Harris released “My Way”, where he also performed vocals for the song. On 21 February 2017, he announced the song “Slide”, his collaboration with American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean and hip-hop group Migos. The song was released on 25 February 2017. The following month, Harris announced a song titled “Amenity”, his collaboration with Dua Lipa. Harris announced a collaboration with Young Thug, Ariana Grande, and Pharrell Williams titled “Heatstroke”.
Listen to some of his songs below
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