Electronic dance music no longer just influences mainstream pop music; it has gradually become mainstream pop music. Faceless beat makers have now been replaced by the superstar DJ who makes headlines as well as music: Afrojack was dating Paris Hilton, Deadmau5 graced (and I use this term loosely) the cover of Rolling Stone, and most notably this year for main stream breakout, winning the VMA for Video of the Year is winner of Video “We Found Love” by Rihanna produced and written by Calvin Harris (who was front and center at the awards in a customized deejay booth tweeting live during the whole event).
Born Adam Richard Wiles, this Scottish producer, DJ, vocalist, and songwriter began his career at 14 when his older brother left for university and little brother Calvin nabbed his old computer with music software. He started toying around and discovered a passion for music. His first album I Created Disco was released in 2007, followed by Ready for the Weekend released by Ultra Records in 2009. The hype associated with EDM in media was the catalyst, which began to push Calvin Harris, not solely as an artist, but as a brand similar to that of such DJ’s as David Guetta. His success with We Found Love spawned the campaign by Ultra Records founder, Patrick Moxey, and marketing executive, Richard Palmese, to push the track Feels So Close with an artist-integration program and a frenetic publicity tour for Harris. Ultra Records goal was to associate the music with Calvin directly and attach a persona to the track. This publicity campaign had Harris’ hit go from #54 on the Hot Digital Songs chart to #13 in the course of two weeks. Hot off the massive win at the VMAs and with the upcoming release of his third album entitled 18 Months on October 29th, Harris won’t be slowing down anytime soon. This monumental album will feature 15 tracks with collaborations with Kelis, Example, Ellie Goulding, Tinie Tempah, Dillon Francis, Florence Welch, Ne-Yo, and Dizzee Rascal.
Calvin was once quoted saying to Billboard magazine that he aspired to be like Norman Cook (a.k.a FatBoy Slim):
“Nobody knew what he looked like, but every song kind of sounded different. He made this kind of catchy dance music where there were vocals in it; it wasn’t all instrumental and still had an identity. There just wasn’t necessarily a human face that you attached to it.”
Now Harris is on the fast-track to be the direct opposite of Fatboy Slim, seen before every commercial break during the VMAs, appearing in all his music videos, and being mass-marketed to a diverse fan base from the older aficionados of dance music culture to the younger generation just getting their first taste of dance music while listening to the radio. This displays Harris’ ability to effortlessly transcend genres while still maintaining credibility.
Calvin Harris will be returning to see his Calgary fans Friday, October 12@ Big Four Building. Definitely not a show to be missed!
By: Shalene Kerr