Calvin Harris: A Retrospective
Calvin Harris helped the mainstream fall
in love with EDM
Some fans may not know that Adam Richard Wiles is the given name of superstar DJ Calvin Harris. The U.K.-bred musician’s songs are inescapable on the radio with hits like “Outside” featuring Ellie Goulding and “How Deep Is Your Love” with Disciples, and his face is ever-present on the Las Vegas Strip all over billboards, flyers, posters, and dozens of stories high plastered across the side of the MGM Grand.
Harris had been creating and releasing music for years prior to his 2012 hit album 18 Months, which attracted a wave of international fans and secured him a spot in Las Vegas to DJ. Back then, Harris played the Wynn nightclubs, before shifting to his current super-club residencies. 18 Months was a groundbreaking album, with hits like “Bounce” with featuring Kelis and “Feel So Close” featuring his own vocals teasing the album’s in 2011. Shortly after, Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” produced by Harris, hit the airwaves and dancefloors and changed Las Vegas nightlife forever.
With the release of these electronically charged pop tracks, the lines between modern dance music and mainstream music began to blur. Dance music was making its way up from the underground and evolving into EDM. Because of Harris’ visibility as a pop star in his own right in collaboration with huge artists like Rihanna and Kelis, he helped shift the public’s focus from lead artists to the producers behind the music. Around this time, musicians who once stayed behind the scenes began to take center stage, and the trend of DJs securing exclusive residencies at Strip nightclubs began.
As one of the most in-demand DJs in the world, it’s no wonder that he packs in the house at his resident nightclubs, Hakkasan and Omnia, on the regular. He’s also a fan-favorite at the most popular festivals around the world like Ultra Miami, EDC Las Vegas, and Lollapalooza Chicago. During Coachella 2014, Harris drew the second largest crowd to his closing set, coming in as runner-up to his fellow EDM-powerhouse, Kaskade.
By 2016, Harris has transformed from rave kid to full-blown celebrity. His beau, Taylor Swift, is one of the top pop stars in the world and he’s worked on high-profile side-projects like his 2015 Calvin Klein campaign. In addition to his Grammy Award for Recent Short Form Music Video in regards to “We Found Love” in 2013, Harris has since been nominated three more times, and frequents award ceremonies as a celebrated artist. He continues to dominate the song charts, with nine career Hot 100 tracks, 12 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs list, and 10 hits on its Pop Songs list. He currently works on his own record label, Fly Eye Records, as well as heavy touring and constant musical production, so we can expect a lot more of good old Calvin in 2016.