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10 Essential Calvin Harris Songs: A Primer For 'Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2'
Calvin Harris performs during Radio 1's Big Weekend 2022 in Coventry, England.

Photo: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

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10 Essential Calvin Harris Songs: A Primer For 'Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2'

Released Aug. 5, 'Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2.' is Calvin Harris' first album in five years. Take a listen through his back catalog of solo hits and earworm-worthy collaborations.

GRAMMYs/Aug 4, 2022 - 04:23 pm

This week, Scottish hitmaker Calvin Harris returns with his first album in five years, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2. The LP is a fascinating next phase for the producer born Adam Wiles, whose musical career began almost 20 years ago in the quiet U.K. town of Dumfries. With his pick of collaborators, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 sees Harris perfecting a slick, polished disco-meets-funk sound that’s a long way from his scrappy 2007 debut album, I Created Disco.

Harris’ journey from playful newcomer to bonafide dance-pop phenomenon includes numerous global No. 1 singles, billions of streams, a headline slot at Coachella, five GRAMMY nominations and a win for his blockbuster Rihanna team-up, "We Found Love." 

On I Created Disco and its 2009 follow-up Ready for the Weekend, the producer sang most of his songs and toured with a live band. From 2010 and beyond, Harris embraced DJing and foreground more famous voices on his anthem-heavy EDM-era albums: 18 Months (2012) and Motion (2014). Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, released in the summer of 2017, marked a new phase as pop’s go-to vibe creator. 

Through all his success, Harris has kept his cool, hovering just outside both the pop world and the superstar DJ circuit. While Forbes named him the world's highest-paid DJ for six years running, he rarely appears alongside his peers at big-name dance festivals like Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival. The festivals he does choose are close to heart, like Creamfields in the UK or his collaborator Pharrell's Something In The Water in Washington, D.C. This summer, he's focused instead on a residency at the flashy Ushuaïa Ibiza, appearing each Friday to sold-out crowds. He's also press shy, largely skirting interviews in favor of chats with his friend Zane Lowe on Apple Music.

 Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 doubles down on the producer's reputation as a born collaborator with a special talent for making vocals shine. A sequel to 2017's funk and boogie-flavored Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, the album is wall-to-wall with guests including Dua Lipa, Young Thug, Halsey, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, 21 Savage and Snoop Dogg

While Vol. 2 follows the same easy groove as its predecessor, Harris' career is full of change-ups. No matter what mode he's in, the producer's Midas touch is undeniable. In honor of his latest bid for pop glory, here are 10 essential Calvin Harris songs that capture his sonic evolution. 

"Acceptable In The 80's" (2007)

Harris got his start making unpolished productions in his bedroom and uploading them to MySpace with no illusions of international fame. Harris wrote, produced, arranged and performed all the songs on his cheekily-titled debut album I Created Disco, a do-it-all approach he'd carry into the future.

His surprise breakout hit, "Acceptable In The 80's," was born on a vintage Amiga 500 Plus computer running the OctaMED sequencer. Its music video is youthful goofiness personified as Harris dances with taxidermied animals against a neon backdrop. 

"I'm Not Alone" (2009) 

Now working with a modestly expanded production set-up, Harris happened upon a trance preset on the Roland Juno-G that unlocked "I'm Not Alone." Pairing a huge dance riff with the producer's charmingly reticent vocals, the song became the first Calvin Harris single to go to No. 1 in the U.K.

"People didn't really know what to make of it," Harris told Music Radar in 2012. "When it first went to the radio stations, they all said, 'What the hell is he playing at? He's made a trance record!'" BBC Radio 1 host Pete Tong, however, chose "I'm Not Alone" as his "Essential New Tune."  

"What I'm into at the moment is the idea of stadium dance," Harris said that year. "Playing football stadiums with massive riffs, big hands-in-the-air moments." 

"You Used to Hold Me" (2010)

Released in 2010 as the final single from 2009's Ready For The Weekend, "You Used to Hold Me" marked the end of one era for Harris and the beginning of another for dance music. The song arrived just as EDM was taking hold in the U.S. mainstream, including a media storm around the significant medical emergencies at Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles.

In November, Harris announced that he was giving up singing and playing live to focus on DJing and producing. "I'll do tracks with people who can sing well — proper artists, proper performers," he told Australia's Herald Sun. In a 2015 interview with Zane Lowe, Harris recalled his thinking at the time: "At the end of 2010, I decided to focus whatever ideas I had into basically one tempo, and try to work out the ideal structure for a radio dance record." 

"We Found Love" - Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris (2011)

In 2011, Calvin Harris scored his biggest hit as a featured artist. "We Found Love," released as a single ahead of Rihanna's Talk That Talk album, spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100.

The track later won the GRAMMY Award for Best Music Video. Directed by Melina Matsoukas, the video features Rihanna and Dudley O'Shaughnessy as strung-out lovers on the run — with a cameo from Harris DJing in a muddy field. 

The collaboration clicked into place when Harris supported Rihanna on a tour of Australia in 2011. "It was a risk for her, I think, 'cause it was a pretty full-on record," the producer told Fuse in 2013. "It was different sounding at that time. And also putting my name on the record as well kinda confused a lot of people." 

That "full-on record" now endures as a beloved classic with over one billion YouTube views. 

"I Need Your Love" - feat. Ellie Goulding (2013)

On his third album, 18 Months, Harris leaned into his promise to work with "proper performers," including Florence Welch on the GRAMMY-nominated "Sweet Nothing." The album also cemented a very good thing between Harris and English singer Ellie Goulding on "I Need Your Love," released as a single in 2013.

The song's combination of syrup and mainstage heft was right at home in a big moment for acts like Swedish House Mafia, Avicii and Zedd. Harris knew the power in Goulding's raspy vocals, which excelled again on Motion cut "Outside." In the words of one YouTube commenter: "Her voice is actually the sound of an era." 

"Under Control" - feat. Alesso & Hurts (2013)

The lead single from Harris's fourth album, Motion, saw the producer team up with Alesso and Hurts vocalist Theo Hutchcraft. Its release coincided with peak EDM hysteria in the US, perfectly capturing the serotonin rush of 2013 with a melody and breakdown built for the biggest possible stages. True to the moment, Harris rounded out the year by signing an exclusive residency with Hakkasan Nightclub in Las Vegas.

"Summer" (2014)

"Summer" stands out on the loaded Motion tracklist as notably guest-free. Despite its lack of additional star power, it was one of Harris's biggest hits, featuring his return to vocals after quitting singing in 2010.

In contrast to the scrappy vocals on albums past, Harris sings with the easy charm of a hitmaker with nothing to prove. The song peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 100, while the music video — capturing Harris in heartthrob mode — has clocked 1.5 billion YouTube views. Much later, Harris revealed that in 2014 he had a near-death experience from the heart rhythm disorder arrhythmia, casting a bittersweet shadow on a triumphant year. 

"How Deep Is Your Love" - feat. Disciples (2015)

In 2015, Harris hit a new level of fame unfamiliar to the DJ world, dating Taylor Swift and modeling underwear for Emporio Armani. 

Amidst all that attention, and after the giddy crossover ambitions of 18 Months and Motion, he teamed up with UK trio Disciples for an understated swerve into deep house. As always, he picked his moment, tapping into a hunger for deeper styles after the excesses of EDM. At the time, Harris told Zane Lowe he was eager to skip the album format and "just release one song at a time." While that didn't exactly stay the plan long-term, "How Deep is Your Love" makes perfect sense on its own. 

"Slide" - feat. Frank Ocean & Migos (2017)

After he and Rihanna pleased the pop charts with 2016's "This Is What You Came For," Harris was ready to get back in the album game. As the lead single from Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, "Slide" introduced a sound that was more California road-trip than peak-time at a dance festival.

The song stood out for its warm, disco-tinged instrumentation and the rare appearance of Frank Ocean outside his own albums, sounding light and sun-drunk. After "Slide" came out, Harris shared a video showing how he made it, casually showing off a studio a long way from an Amiga 500 in Dumfries. 

"Stay With Me" -  feat. Justin Timberlake, Halsey & Pharrell (2022)

In the years after Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, Harris jumped between his interests, releasing the purely pop "One Kiss" with Dua Lipa in 2018 and creating the Love Regenerator alias in 2020 to honor his rave roots. (Those decidedly non-commercial releases, including "Hypnagogic (I Can't Wait)" and "Live Without Your Love" with Steve Lacy, provided much needed escape during the pandemic.)

"Stay With Me," featuring Justin Timberlake, Halsey and Pharrell, is equal parts '70s funk and '90s pop, conjuring a carefree vibe that's sure to permeate Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2. On Instagram, Harris shared a photo of himself standing alongside Timberlake, Halsey and Pharrell at the music video shoot, with the caption: "Ever felt like an imposter on your own video set? I have." And yet the hits don't lie. 

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Jay Z Tops 56th GRAMMY Nominations With Nine

Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake, and Pharrell Williams earn seven nods each; other top nominees include Daft Punk, Drake, Lorde, Bruno Mars, and Taylor Swift

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Nominations for the 56th GRAMMY Awards were announced tonight by The Recording Academy and reflected one of the most diverse years with the Album Of The Year category alone representing the rap, pop, country and dance/electronica genres, as determined by the voting members of The Academy. Once again, nominations in select categories for the annual GRAMMY Awards were announced on primetime television as part of "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night," a one-hour CBS entertainment special broadcast live from Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.

Jay Z tops the nominations with nine; Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake, and Pharrell Williams each garner seven nods; Drake and mastering engineer Bob Ludwig are up for five awards.

"This year's nominations reflect the talented community of music makers who represent some of the highest levels of excellence and artistry of the year in their respective fields," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "Once again, The Academy's awards process and its voting membership have produced an impressive list of nominations across various genres promising music fans a spectacular show filled with stellar performances and unique 'GRAMMY Moments.' We are off to a great start and look forward to GRAMMY Sunday as Music's Biggest Night takes the stage."

Following are the nominations in the General Field categories: 

Album Of The Year:
The Blessed Unrest — Sara Bareilles
Random Access Memories — Daft Punk
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City — Kendrick Lamar
The Heist — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Red — Taylor Swift

Record Of The Year:
"Get Lucky" — Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams
"Radioactive" — Imagine Dragons
"Royals" — Lorde
"Locked Out Of Heaven" — Bruno Mars
"Blurred Lines" — Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams

Song Of The Year:
"Just Give Me A Reason" — Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Pink Featuring Nate Ruess)
"Locked Out Of Heaven" — Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Bruno Mars)
"Roar" — Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry & Henry Walter, songwriters (Katy Perry)
"Royals" — Joel Little & Ella Yelich O'Connor, songwriters (Lorde)
"Same Love" — Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis, songwriters (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Mary Lambert)

Best New Artist:
James Blake
Kendrick Lamar
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Kacey Musgraves
Ed Sheeran

Following is a sampling of nominations in the GRAMMY Awards' other 29 Fields:

For Best Pop Solo Performance, the nominees are "Brave" by Sara Bareilles; "Royals" by Lorde; "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars; "Roar" by Katy Perry; and "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlake.

The nominees for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance are "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams; "Just Give Me A Reason" by Pink Featuring Nate Ruess; "Stay" by Rihanna Featuring Mikky Ekko; "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams; and "Suit & Tie" by Justin Timberlake & Jay Z.

For Best Dance/Electronica Album, the nominees are Random Access Memories by Daft Punk; Settle by Disclosure; 18 Months by Calvin Harris; Atmosphere by Kaskade; and A Color Map Of The Sun by Pretty Lights.

The Best Rock Performance nominees are "Always Alright" by Alabama Shakes; "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" by David Bowie; "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons; "Kashmir (Live)" by Led Zeppelin; "My God Is The Sun" by Queens Of The Stone Age; and "I'm Shakin'" by Jack White.

For Best Alternative Music Album, the nominees are The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You by Neko Case; Trouble Will Find Me by The National; Hesitation Marks by Nine Inch Nails; Lonerism by Tame Impala; Modern Vampires Of The City by Vampire Weekend.

The nominees for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration are "Power Trip" by J.Cole Featuring Miguel; "Part II (On The Run)" by Jay Z Featuring Beyoncé; "Holy Grail" by Jay Z Featuring Justin Timberlake; "Now Or Never" by Kendrick Lamar Featuring Mary J. Blige; and "Remember You" by Wiz Khalifa Featuring The Weeknd.

For Best Rap Album, the nominees are Nothing Was The Same by Drake; Magna Carta…Holy Grail by Jay Z; Good Kid, M.A.A.D City by Kendrick Lamar; The Heist by Macklemore  & Ryan Lewis; and Yeezus by Kanye West.

The Best Country Album nominees are Night Train by Jason Aldean; Two Lanes Of Freedom by Tim McGraw; Same Trailer Different Park by Kacey Musgraves; Based On A True Story by Blake Shelton; and Red by Taylor Swift.

The nominees for Best Americana Album are Old Yellow Moon by Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell; Love Has Come For You by Steve Martin & Edie Brickell; Buddy And Jim by Buddy Miller And Jim Lauderdale; One True Vine by Mavis Staples; and Songbook by Allen Toussaint.

This year's Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical nominations go to Rob Cavallo, Dr. Luke, Ariel Rechtshaid, Jeff Tweedy, and Pharrell Williams.

This year's GRAMMY Awards process registered more than 22,000 submissions over a 12-month eligibility period (Oct. 1, 2012 – Sept. 30, 2013). GRAMMY ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed on Dec. 11 to the voting members of The Recording Academy. They are due back to the accounting firm of Deloitte by Jan. 8, 2014, when they will be tabulated and the results kept secret until the 56th GRAMMY telecast.

The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held Jan. 26, 2014, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and once again will be broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich is executive producer, and Louis J. Horvitz is director.

For updates and breaking news, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook

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Set List Bonus: 2013 Made In America Festival

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Tirsa Lori
Philadelphia

It seems fitting that a two-day music festival aimed at bringing together people from various walks of life to enjoy live music would be held in the City of Brotherly Love.

The second annual Budweiser Made In America Festival, co-founded by GRAMMY winner Jay-Z, took place in Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Aug. 31–Sept. 1. With a diverse lineup that consisted of 40-plus acts performing on four different stages, there was music for everyone, spanning hip-hop, dance/electronica, rock, and R&B. The temperature was in the high 80s to low 90s throughout the weekend, with humidity levels hovering around 75 percent, but the heat didn't deter festivalgoers from lining up early to snag a good spot to catch their favorite band.

It was hard to contain my excitement as I made my way through the festival gates, only stopping briefly, as many others did, to snap a picture of the festival signage. Day one featured performances by artists such as 2 Chainz, Porter Robinson, Imagine Dragons, and Queen Bey, aka Beyoncé. 2 Chainz did not disappoint on the Liberty Stage as he engaged the crowd throughout his set, rapping along to hits such as "Birthday Song" and "R.I.P." From there, I maneuvered through picnicking fans and hightailed it to the Rocky Stage to catch Las Vegas alt-rock group Imagine Dragons, who soared through tracks off their debut album, 2012's Night Visions, including their Top 5 hit "Radioactive." Lead vocalist Dan Reynolds proved he's also a skilled percussionist as he pounded on large drums throughout the set.

After dancing to Robinson's set at the Freedom Stage, I headed back to the Rocky Stage to catch GRAMMY winners Phoenix and Beyoncé. The crowd pleaser of the night for Phoenix was their performance of "1901," which sent the crowd into a fit of cheers and screams. Shortly after, EDM star Deadmau5 rocked the house at Liberty Stage to a sea of Mau5heads. Fans were treated to glimpses of Jay-Z onscreen during Deadmau5's performance, which led many to believe there might be a special appearance by Mr. Carter. But Beyoncé later put those rumors to rest when she reminded us during her performance that we were "now at the Mrs. Carter show." Her set featured short films, costume changes and performances of hits including "Crazy In Love" and "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)."

The second and final day of the festival was also full of highlights. Wiz Khalifa brought his wife, Amber Rose, onstage and serenaded her while performing "Roll Up." During Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' set, Macklemore expressed how he's not always "proud to be an American" before advocating for equality and segueing into "Same Love." Queens Of The Stone Age proved they weren't sorry for party rocking as frontman Josh Homme noted his disdain for rules, and even gave security a piece of his mind after they forced one fan to dismount her boyfriend's shoulders.

Adding some humor to the day, GRAMMY winner Miguel — following his performance of "How Many Drinks?" — asked the ladies in the crowd how many drinks it would take for one of them to leave with him. Many screamed back, "None!" Calvin Harris' set was one big dance party aided by songs such as "Sweet Nothing" and "Feel So Close." Nine Inch Nails closed the weekend with a 90-minute set that opened with a performance of "Copy Of A," a track from their new album Hesitation Marks, and closed with a stunning performance of "Hurt."

After two full days of music, Jay-Z proved once again that he knows how to throw a party.

(Tirsa Lori is a Senior Accounts Payable Coordinator for The Recording Academy. In the past, she has planned different events at the University of Southern California, working with artists such as Bruno Mars and Omarion.)

 

Dua Lipa On Calvin Harris, Other Dream Collabs, "New Rules," & More

Dua Lipa

Photo: Luc Coiffait | Design: F Inomata

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Dua Lipa On Calvin Harris, Other Dream Collabs, "New Rules," & More

We go behind-the-scenes to hear what it was like for the pop star to work with Harris on his throwback-inspired "One Kiss," her gratitude for "New Rules" giving her "so many opportunities," and more

GRAMMYs/Oct 6, 2018 - 05:15 am

Dua Lipa has been on fire lately and she's ready for more. Following the viral success of her catchy girl-power anthem "New Rules," released last summer from her debut self-titled album, she's brought more hits in the form of big-time collabs. In April, dance music powerhouse Calvin Harris dropped the summer-ready jam "One Kiss" featuring Lipa, and in September Silk City, the new Diplo and Mark Ronson production duo, gave us another dance-floor gem from the pop star with "Electricity."

She visited the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles on Sept. 28 to give fans an intimate conversation and performance, and we caught up with her beforehand to learn more about what it was like working with Harris, who else she would love to collab with (Frank Ocean is on her list), what song she currently has on repeat, the success of "New Rules," and more.

The star is humble about her success and grateful for the positive reception she has gotten so far. She reflects on her breakout hit single "New Rules" with gratitude for what it's allowed her to do since then.

"It was something that I wanted, but never something that I expected. It really took me by surprise," Lipa shares. "I feel like it definitely took ten steps bigger and it just gave me so many opportunities."

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David Guetta To Skrillex: Who Are The Highest Paid DJs?

Find out who tops Forbes' highest-paid DJ list, plus where GRAMMY winners Skrillex, Diplo and the Chainsmokers rank

GRAMMYs/Aug 9, 2017 - 05:08 am

Don't think there's money in DJing? Tell your parents they're wrong.

Forbes released their 2017 highest-paid DJ list, and for the fifth consecutive year, GRAMMY winner Calvin Harris was crowned Electronic Cash King, earning $48.5 million. He recently released the star-studded single "Feels" with Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Big Sean from his latest album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1.

Coming in at No. 2 on the list was GRAMMY winner Tiësto with a $39 million haul, closely followed by GRAMMY winners the Chainsmokers, whose track "Something Just Like This," featuring Coldplay, hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Other GRAMMY winners abound on the list, including Zedd ($19 million), David Guetta ($25 million), Diplo ($28.5 million), and Skrillex ($30 million).

While electronic music might be easy on the wallet, for these highly creative and collaborative artists, it's about more than just the money. DJing is about the creativity.

"We work with artists because it makes sense, because we're excited about them," the Chainsmokers' Alex Pall told Forbes. "Anytime we work with someone, it's because they offer something to us creatively that inspires us."

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