Adam Wiles was once just a humble supermarket employee from Dumfries, UK with a dream. What happened over the next ten years was nothing short of miraculous. Adam took the stage name of Calvin Harris and through his obsession with the disco era and his ability to create incredibly catchy and fun tracks, he would soon go on to become the world's richest DJ. Let's take a look back at the many steps Adam had to take in order to become the undeniable king of dance music with a net worth of $170 million.
The Beginning: ‘I Created Disco'
The first release under the now ultra famous moniker of Calvin Harris was Adam's freshman LP, ‘I Created Disco'. The album is relatively unknown to most modern day Calvin fans which is more or less a travesty. It is one of the most unique, interesting and well produced electronic albums in the decade of 2000-2010. Calvin beautifully brought back disco and weaved it into modern day arrangements to make a sound that had not been heard before.
‘I Created Disco' was the beginning of a career that would continue to make waves in the music industry even into modern day. The album featured not only stunning, emotional and fun productions but also Adam singing on most of the tracks. This is what was so unique about the producer. He had a voice of gold and production skills of a god. This would be the winning formula in becoming the world's richest DJ.
The Evolution: ‘Ready for the Weekend'
In modern day when listening to some of the tracks on ‘I Created Disco' many people might find that they are listening to an artist they have never heard before. Well old Calvin Harris does not sound a lot like current day Calvin Harris. There was a beautiful period in between the disco vibes of his first LP and the more pop influenced junior LP. Of course I am talking about the 2009 album ‘Ready for the Weekend', an almost flawless sophomore effort in which Calvin started to bridge the gap between his unique indie sound and the mainstream.
The album was dynamic. Adam still was featured heavily on the vocals, and while the arrangements were influenced by disco the entire album was much more digestible to the average dance music follower. I can vividly remember my confusion when a classmate of mine junior year of high school put on “this sick new tehcno song ‘The Rain‘”…I mean I was floored, I loved Calvin Harris and was happy he was gaining exposure but I had to ask myself, “how do the normies know about this music?”. Also keep in mind in 2009 EDM was still pretty much considered as techno to anyone not into the scene.
‘Ready for the Weekend' also featured a track which would help pull Calvin from an indie hero to a mainstream legend. Of course I am talking about the stand out track ‘I Am Not Alone' which famously received remixes from both Tiesto and Deadmau5, if you were into dance music in 2009-2010 there is no doubt you remember the discussion of which remix was superior. Calvin had moderate mainstream success with ‘You Used To Hold Me' which actually made it's way to several radio stations across the US. There was no doubt that the Scottish born producer/songwriter was starting to blow up. What happened next though was beyond what anyone could have guessed but it would give him a clear path to becoming the world's richest DJ.
Becoming the World's Richest DJ: '18 Months'
Not to long after the hype of ‘Ready for the Weekend' died down, Calvin began releasing singles. These singles were not what we commonly expected from Calvin Harris though. While ‘Feel So Close' featured his sultry vocals, many of the other efforts now had pop artists working the vocals. It was the beginning of a transformation. The first single to take over the world ‘I Need Your Love' featuring the IT girl of the time, Ellie Goulding on vocals. The track was featured so heavily on the radio, many times you could switch to several different stations and find it playing concurrently.
Then came ‘Sweet Nothing' with the enigmatic Florence Welch singing the intoxicating chorus. The song climbed the billboard charts and took over the radio once again. Nothing could compare to what would happen with his next release with Rihanna, ‘We Found Love'. The song launched to the top of the charts. The radio exposure was so aggressive that it was almost unheard of. The single was one of the biggest songs of all time at the point it was released. This was truly Calvin Harris' pop moment. The release of '18 Months' soon followed and all the songs would go onto top the charts at one point or another. In fact Calvin broke Michael Jackson‘s record for most songs to break the top 10 from a single album with '18 Months' when he had 8 tracks crack the prestigious top tier.
Calvin then acquired a three year residency with the Hakkasan group in 2015 to cap of a year with a total earning of $46 Million. It was at this point that Adam Wiles, a fish market employee from a small town in the UK became the world's richest DJ. Forbes now estimates the artist's net worth at $170 Million, and so far in 2017 it seems like Calvin is only heading one way, and that is up.