Favoring a naughty schoolboy look that makes him seem even younger than his already tender years (22 when his first major-label album was released), Scottish artist, producer, and remixer Calvin Harris has a similarly youthful and forward-looking approach to his music. Skipping the usual apprenticeship in the clubs or on indie labels, Harris went from posting his own D.I.Y. electroclash music online through MySpace and similar sites, to signing with the multinational giant EMI almost in a single step. A short time later, he was producing material for Kylie Minogue, Dizzee Rascal, and Rihanna.
Born on January 17, 1984, in the southern Scotland city of Dumfries, Harris was first attracted to electronic music in his teens and was recording bedroom demos by 1999. Two of these songs, "Da Bongos" and "Brighter Days," were released as a 12" club single and CD-EP by the Prima Facie label in early 2002 under the artist name Stouffer. With that single to his credit, the still teenaged Harris moved from Scotland to London, but as a very small fish in one of the world's largest and most competitive ponds, Harris floundered; only one of his songs was released during his time in London, "Let Me Know" with vocalist Ayah on the Unabombers' 2004 live-mix CD Electric Soul, Vol. 2.
Returning home to Dumfries, Harris began posting homemade solo recordings to his MySpace page. An A&R representative from EMI liked what he heard and signed Harris to the label in 2006. Following a pair of successful singles, Harris released his debut album, I Created Disco, in the summer of 2007. It featured two Top Ten hits ("Acceptable in the 80s" and "The Girls"), and climbed high in the album charts. Along with his work as a solo artist, including touring in front of a full live band, Harris quickly became an in-demand remixer -- working on singles by Jamiroquai, Groove Armada, All Saints, and CSS. He also wrote and produced songs for Kylie Minogue's 2007 comeback album, and collaborated with Dizzee Rascal on "Dance wiv Me," which reached number one in the U.K.
"I'm Not Alone," the first single from his second album, also hit number one upon release in April 2009, as did the album when it appeared that August. That album, Ready for the Weekend, topped the U.K. album chart and peaked at number 12 on Billboard's U.S. dance/electronic chart. Through 2011, Harris took on production work for Example, Tinchy Stryder, and Rihanna ("We Found Love," a quadruple-platinum hit in the U.S.), while he also issued two more of his own singles (the Kelis collaboration "Bounce" and "Feel So Close"). Harris' third solo album, 18 Months, was a collaboration-filled affair that featured "We Found Love" and "Bounce" plus vocal spots from Ellie Goulding, Florence Welch, and Ne-Yo, among others. It was released in October of 2012. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi