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Game Changers 2014: Calvin Harris

With his signature fusion of electronic dance music and American pop (e.g., this year’s single “Summer”), he’s now the world’s highest-paid DJ.
Illustration: Sean McCabe

Hot off another international summer tour, 30-year-old Adam Richard Wiles, the DJ, producer, and singer-songwriter who goes by the stage name Calvin Harris, is the world’s highest-paid DJ, according to Forbes. He raked in $46 million, mostly from live performances, where he’s known for being a little unpredictable.

Harris’ synth hooks have also anchored some of today’s biggest dance tracks, including the Grammy-winning “We Found Love” with Rihanna, “I Need Your Love” with Ellie Goulding, and most recently, “Summer.”

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Harris helps continue the infusion of electronic dance music into American pop radio, as the once fringe genre now makes regular appearances on the Billboard charts. It’s still a relatively new concept for pop music: Harris’ driving riffs do the heavy-lifting (whether he’s singing or someone else is) as opposed to the simple beats and instrumental loops that put the singer in the spotlight. A decade ago, you never would have heard anything like a Harris track on the radio. Now, they’re tough to avoid.

FIT FACT: On weekdays, Harris makes a home-cooked breakfast—typically an omelet—and hits the gym before heading to the studio, he told On Air with Ryan Seacrest earlier this year. 

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