Rihanna Credited For Catalyzing Calvin Harris’ VMA Breakthrough

'I got Kelis, Ne-Yo, I got Example. I got Ellie Goulding ...,' Harris says of artists he's worked with following the success of 'We Found Love.'

2012 VMA winner for Best EDM Video Calvin Harris took his time crafting his October album, 18 Months, and in that time period, he quickly went from one of dance music’s coolest kids to a mainstream superstar.

While he wasn’t exactly a complete unknown before hooking up with Rihanna for her genre-busting “We Found Love” in 2011, it was the nudge he needed to get other acts to hit the studio with him for his record.

“It took me 18 months. … It was a mixture between 18 months in the studio and gigs,” Harris told MTV News about the process of making the record. “And also it was kind of the point when I stopped performing in the same way with a band and singing all the time and all that kind of stuff and focused on DJ and production. And it made sense to draw that line there, and it just happened to be 18 months.”

Early on in the process, he had been making calls to get a number of A-listers to drop vocals on the album without much success. But they suddenly found the time to meet with him once “We Found Love” became a smash hit. And at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, their collaboration was on full display when Rihanna and Harris performed the track together . She later won Video of the Year for the Melina Matsoukas-directed video for “We Found Love.” It’s clear from these kinds of high-profile gigs, Harris really won’t have a hard time getting anyone to return his calls anymore.

“Yeah, people at the start of the record, when I was trying to gather some people 18 months ago, said no and then came back after maybe 16 months, maybe after ‘We Found Love,’ they were interested now,” he said. “They obviously freed up some time and could do it then,” he added good-naturedly.

So, who finally made the time to work with Harris? “Well, I got the Rihanna track, I got Kelis, Ne-Yo, I got Example. I got Ellie Goulding, Tinie Tempah, Dizzee Rascal, Florence Welch, yes, that’s the new single ['Sweet Nothing']. That’s a lot of people. I’m really relying on them to sell it,” he chuckled.

“I’ve never done that before. Although I’ve done production like the odd track for someone, I’ve never, for my own albums, I’ve never really reached out to anyone else,” he explained. “So I wanted to go for it and see how many people I could get on one record.”