“Sometimes, it’s better to stop thinking and trust your instincts. That’s what I used to do when I first started making music, but as time goes on, you can sometimes over-intellectualise things.”
Adam Richard Wiles, known professionally as Calvin Harris, is a Scottish record producer, DJ, singer, songwriter, and an absolute freaking legend. Here are 43 remixed facts about Calvin Harris.
His real name is Adam Richard Wiles. “Calvin Harris” is just his stage name.
43. The Southern Uplands
He is from Dumfries, Scotland. He is the most famous person to be born in that town, by far.
42. Smelly Business
His first job as a teenager was working in a fish factory.
41. Meet the Parents
Adam Wiles’ father is a BioChemist, and his mother was a homemaker.
40. 90’s Tech
When he was 13 years old, he started making his first music on the now-ancient PC called the Amiga 500 Plus.
39. Try, Try Again
He was quoted saying, “From the age of 14 to about 20, I bombarded record companies and DJs with my demos. I was desperate to get it out there. Most of the time, I got nothing back.”
38. Never Forget
He kept every single rejection letter he ever received.
37. Traffic Stops
Calvin Harris said that if he never succeeded in music, he probably would have become a police officer.
36. Off to the Big City
At 18 years old, he wrote two singles, which ended up on Club music EP’s. This earned him enough money to move to London, so he could focus more on his music career. He would approach local bands with propositions of making remixes, but none of them ever worked out.
35. Stocking Shelves
After living in London for a while, he could not find enough work to afford living in the city. He ran out of all the money he saved, and had to move back home with his parents to work at a grocery store.
34. Tom Is Your Friend Too?!
He never earned a college degree, and devoted his free time to making music. After living at home for a couple years, he began to post his music to a Myspace page.
33. Practice Makes Perfect
When asked about his earlier years of making music, he explained that since he was 13 years old, he had the dream of making music, and dabbled in it, but he felt like he didn’t actually truly take it seriously for a long time. He explained that this is a true difference between “dreaming” of something, and actually sitting down to work on achieving his goals. “I wasn’t doing it until I was 23. It was a lot of failing.”
32. His Big Break
In 2006, Sony Records found him through MySpace and gave him a record deal.
31. The Beginning
In 2007, he released his first album at 23 years old, which was titled “I Created Disco”.
30. The Believers
The first radio station to play his music on a regular basis was BBC1 Radio.
29. Only Ever Dreamt of This
The famous Australian pop star Kylie Minogue heard about Calvin Harris. After listening to his remixes, she asked him to work on the single “In My Arms”. The song hit the Top 10 Charts in the UK in 2007.
28. White Lies
In 2008, he was supposed to release a second album. He needed more time, so he told the record company that the only copy of the music was on a laptop that was lost in luggage at the airport. In reality, he didn’t lose the music. He just needed more time to make it perfect.
27. Worth It
The extra time must have paid off, because in 2009, when he was only 25, his second album “Ready for the Weekend” got to the top of the charts in the UK.
26. Feeling the Sunshine
In 2009, he got one of his first high-paying corporate gigs. Coca Cola asked him to write a song for an advertising campaign. So he wrote “Yeah Yeah Yeah, La La La”. The original version of the song is actually much better than what was inserted into the commercial.
25. Live Trolling
In 2009, during a live performance on X Factor, Calvin Harris ran on stage, holding a pineapple to his head, mocking the stylized “Jedward Twins” because they were wearing costumes and had their hair bleached blonde and piled up on top of their head so much, it honestly did look like pineapples. He later explained that he did this as a protest against Simon Cowell, who basically had a monopoly over the British music industry at the time, and forced artists to conform to certain “looks.” Simon was furious, and had Calvin escorted out by security. He was given a life-long ban from the show until 2016, when the network wanted A-list names back to help the show’s ratings.
24. Only the Best
In 2010, he won “Best British Male” at the Brit Awards.
23. Buttered Toast
In 2011, he made a funny series of YouTube videos called “JAM TV”, where literally all he did was open up a container of jam and review it. He made multiple videos, starring the musicians he worked with.
22. Forever Scottish
Calvin Harris once mentioned that in Scotland, throwing a shoe at your friend is almost like giving them a hug. He mentioned in an interview that he continues to watch Scottish comedians, so he never forgets his roots. At his shows in the UK, he’s known for cursing quite a lot. In one video clip, he says, “I’m going to keep playing again and a gain, until you tell me to f- off and never come back.”
21. The Money’s There
According to Forbes, He made $46 million in 2013 alone, breaking the record as the wealthiest DJ in the world.
20. The Digital Age
Calvin Harris doesn’t always wait for his manager to hook him up with new talent. John Newman messaged Calvin Harris on Twitter DM, and asked if he wanted to collaborate. They e-mailed audio tracks back and forth, and completed “Love Me Again”.
19. All Grown Up
Over the years, his style and appearance have changed dramatically. During his teens and early 20’s, he was skinny with brown hair in the long “emo” style. As he got older, he dyed his hair blonde, and got really fit. So fit, in fact, that he became an underwear model for Armani.
18. One Man Wolf Pack
Despite the fact that his outward appearance changed so much since he was a teenager, he is still the same guy who would stay in his room all day on Myspace. Ironically, even though he makes party music, he is actually quite introverted. “I’m not good at interviews, I’m not good at dancing, I’m not good at looking like I’m having fun. I never will be, I don’t think. Unless I go to a life coach.”
Despite the fact that he dabbled in modeling, and he always looks well put together, he’s not exactly into fashion. On the red carpet, a journalist asked him “what he’s wearing”. He replied, “It’s a suit. I went and bought a suit.”
16. Finding His Talents
In the earlier days of his career, Calvin Harris did everything in his songs–vocals, lyrics, and the instrumental tracks. As time went on, he stuck to just working on instrumentals and DJing. During an interview, he explained, “I think people need to stick with what they do best, and for me, that’s instrumentals.”
15. Big Bucks
Whenever he appears for a show in Las Vegas, he can earn $300,000 in one night.
14. Bare Bones
Part of the reason why Calvin Harris makes so much money during his gigs is because he avoids performing at traditional concert venues, which eats up a ton of profits. He usually shows up at music festivals, and uses the equipment and stage they have on-site for multiple artists. His only request is that the event puts in his SD card into the speaker system. That way, he can pocket all of the usual overhead costs, and let the music speak for itself without a fancy light show or backup dancers.
13. Twitter Beef
Sometimes, his lack of planning for his own productions backfire. He once backed out of opening for a Katy Perry show in Dublin, Ireland at the very last second, because Katy’s management team only provided him what he described as “a cardboard box in front of a pink curtain.” Calvin Harris said that the setup would have been embarrassing and awful. He tweeted an apology and explanation to the fans, and Katy. She replied that if it was good enough for other opening musicians, it should have been good enough for him.
12. Massive Success
Calvin Harris holds the records for the most Top-10-Hits off of a single record. The previous record-holder was Michael Jackson.
11. The Big Screen
His music has been used in the soundtracks of multiple movies and TV shows, including The Fate of the Furious (2017).
10. Hidden in Plain Sight
He has appeared in multiple music videos, but is usually not the main character of the production. Since he usually isn’t singing, he makes brief appearances. He has grown to be so good-looking, that he can easily be mistaken as one of the many models that get hired to be in a typical video.
9. The Extra
He has an “acting” resume, but most are stand-in roles, like playing a DJ on the TV Show “Girls”. He also plays himself in the 2015 Entourage movie.
8. What the People Want
During an interview with BBC Radio 1, he was asked how he measures his own success. He said that he ignores how high a new song is on the chart, and pays more attention when he plays live. He said the reaction of real people in the crowd tells him when he actually made a good song.
7. Reality Check
Despite the fact that he is so successful, Calvin Harris is still down-to-earth in realizing that not everyone understands how a DJ can be so famous. “The large majority of people don’t know who I am, or what I do. They can’t understand why my name’s on the list, if I’m not even singing.”
Calvin Harris bought a gorgeous multi-million dollar mansion in the mountains overlooking Los Angeles. The property is complete with its own two-story recording studio, so he can work from home at his own computer instead of commuting to the city.
5. Not Meant To Be
After being a popular “power couple”, Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift broke up in 2016. Swift is known for bashing her ex-boyfriends in her songs, but they apparently had a very drama-free breakup.
4. Crazy Chicks
During an interview, Calvin Harris was asked if he had a “type” in women. He replied, “I think they need to be a bit mental…’Off their rocker’, as they say.”
3. Give Them What They Want
In an interview, Calvin Harris reveals that his strategy for making music is very business-like, explaining that every style attracts certain groups of people. This mindset definitely contributed to his success, because he aimed for a style that would attract young party-goers.
Calvin Harris credits his work with Rihanna as being the spark that led to celebrities musicians working with him on a regular basis.
During an interview with Ryan Seacrest, he played a comparison of what an original lyrics and melody sounded like before it got the Calvin Harris treatment. He can truly transform something and make it a song that sounds a hundred times better. In many situations, the main artist of the song is credited to him, and the vocalist is a featured artist.
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