Photo: Sadao Turner/Ryan Seacrest Productions
By Marc Inocencio
Calvin Harris is a force of nature and is largely recognized as one of the main trailblazers in the electronic dance music revolution.
Frequently billed as a headlining performer at almost every massive music festival, the EDM powerhouse, known for dropping celestial beats under the electric sky, topped Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid DJ in 2014.
With a momentum that shows no imminent signs of tapering, On Air with Ryan Seacrest welcomed the synth savant in-studio to discuss the method behind his industry-dominating success.
“You just need to listen to everything basically,” he told Ryan and Ellen K. “I think people in the dance world can get insulated and just listen to dance music. The way that I was brought up is to just like listen to everything, embrace everything. I listen to every form of music, since you know, the 1960s. I get my influences from a lot of difference places.”
Calvin, who collaborated with Rihanna for “We Found Love,” Ellie Goulding for “I Need Your Love,” and Florence Welch for “Sweet Nothing,” went on to describe his picky selection process and revealed his admirable ability to carry out an idea from start to finish.
“If I have a good idea, I need to recognize whether it’s good or bad very quickly because I don’t do anything and don’t finish it,” he said. “Like, I finish everything. Everything for like the past three years I’ve worked on has come out.”
One of the brilliant visions the EDM maestro speaks of is his hit single “Summer.” The track, which marks his return to the microphone since 2012′s “Feel So Close,” earned him the No. 1 spot on Spotify’s song-of-summer playlist. Now that the song is nearly six months old, the producer is ready to champion the charts with his new single “Blame” featuring English musician John Newman.
“He wrote the song, he wrote the lyrics. So he’s got an amazing voice and he’s an amazing writer, which is like a golden combination,” Calvin praised the soul singer, who connected with him via Twitter direct message. “Like, you don’t really get that a lot. You get a lot of amazing singers who can’t really write. This guy does both.”
With the inclusion of lyrics like, “Can’t you see / I was manipulated / I had to let her through the door,” that suggest an afflicted relationship, Ryan subtly addressed the elephant in the room and asked the 30-year-old if “Blame” is a lyrical insight to his breakup with Rita Ora.
“I saw a story on your website that said it was about Rita, but it definitely isn’t,” he confirmed. “He wrote that song.”
The Kosovo-born singer was also an OAWRS guest in August and opened up about Calvin blocking her Teen Choice Awards performance of “I Will Never Let You Down” — a song Calvin said he “wrote 100 percent.” Rita followed the interview segment with an acoustic set of the Harris-penned single, but she changed the final lyric to “I might’ve let you down.”
“Wow. Yikes. Yeah, that’s crazy,” Calvin reacted after Ryan played back Rita’s lyric tweak (watch video above at 2:42 mark). “Weird, I think that’s unnecessary. Just sing the song … Obviously she’s trying to twist it so she tries to make things, I don’t know, like you said, ‘more personal.’”
Though Calvin remained radio-silent on the issue that caused the sour split, he praised the “Black Widow” singer for her undeniable talent: ”She is incredibly talented. Listen, this girl, I don’t know if people even realize it, but she’s going to be around probably our lifetimes. She works insanely hard. You know, she makes crazy decisions, but she works insanely hard.”
His applauding comment echoes the same sentiments Rita gave about her ex when she was in-studio. “He’s an incredible songwriter,” she said at the time. “I’m never going to disregard his talents. He’s incredible.”
Although Ryan tried to get some examples of these “crazy decisions,” Calvin hysterically deflected by repeating his comment: “Some decisions she makes are crazy, but she works incredibly hard, and she’s going to be a star forever like no matter what. She’s just focused on her career, and that is the most important thing and I respect that so much.”
The conversation segued into a discussion about the scandalous celebrity nude photo leaks, in which Ryan asked Calvin if he has any shameful photos in his phone.
“Embarrassing maybe for other people. Maybe for some. Nah, I got all sorts of locks on my phone. She [Rita] doesn’t need to worry,” he joked. “No, no, no, as soon as your break up, you delete them, you dispose of them.”
Calvin — who is scheduled to spin at the two-day iHeart Radio Music Festival on Saturday, September 20 — will release “Blame” via iTunes on Sunday. Until then, the fresh cut is available for pre-order by clicking here.
Photo: Sadao Turner/Ryan Seacrest Productions