South Scotland

Dumfries-born DJ Calvin Harris on music's rich list

Calvin Harris
Image caption Calvin Harris was one of the headliners at Radio One's Big Weekend in Glasgow in 2014

Scottish DJ Calvin Harris has been named on the Sunday Times Rich List of musicians for the first time.

The Dumfries-born musician is worth an estimated £70m, putting him at number 30 on the UK list.

Despite his relative youth, the 31-year-old's fortune is said to be equal to that of Mark Knopfler, of Dire Straits, and The Who's Pete Townsend.

The chart is topped by former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney who, with his wife Nancy Shevell, has a fortune of £730m.

It is all a far cry from the superstar DJ's modest upbringing in Dumfries, where he was plain Adam Wiles.

He is said to have been a quiet pupil at Dumfries High School, where he was a keen student of music.

According to his former music teacher, Stewart Solley, he spent most of his spare time, during the lunch break and after school, using early computer software to compose music.

He said: "The kind of music he was putting out at the time, I just thought it was fairly repetitive and fairly monotone stuff. But obviously I am not his market."

The teacher added: "I would say he wasn't the best musician I taught, but he had a lot of creative ideas.

"I am very, very proud of him and proud to have taught him."

Image copyright MARIO RUIZ
Image caption The Dumfries star also performed at American festival Lollapalooza earlier this year

After leaving school, he began recording music under the name Calvin Harris and uploading his work to MySpace.

At the same time he worked at Marks and Spencer in Dumfries, where he became friends with another budding musician, Sean McCole.

Mr McCole, who now writes and records as Sean Vs The Robots, said: "I always loved his music and I had a feeling that it would do really well as there was nothing else that sounded like that at the time.

"He always worked really hard and he was constantly sending tracks to record labels and management companies, so I wasn't surprised when he told me that he had eventually secured a deal."

Mr McCole later toured with the star as part of his band, before returning to Dumfries.

Image copyright Sean McCole
Image caption Sean McCole and Calvin Harris met at Marks and Spencer in Dumfries

Calvin Harris is now based in Los Angeles and he holds lucrative residencies at three Las Vegas venues.

But his friends insist his stratospheric success has not changed their relationship.

Mr McCole said: "I feel the same way towards him now as I did then. I'm still really impressed with every new track that he releases and I'm always excited to hear what he will come up with next.

"I try and make it to his gigs whenever he is in the UK. Last year we made it along to T in the Park for a catch-up and he also invited myself and my wife out to see him when he played in Puerto Rico at Halloween.

"This year we are going to catch up when he plays Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.

"I'm very proud that I was there in the beginning and I feel so lucky to have been part of his live band for over four years. We had some crazy, fun times playing music that we all loved all over the word. I will never forget the opportunity that he gave me."

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