December 21, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

Scotland might not be a hopeless place, yet that’s where Rihanna found producer Calvin Harris. And ever since he wrote and produced her 2011 smash “We Found Love,” the electro-pop DJ has made a second home for himself on America’s Top 40 charts. This year Harris’ singles — “Feel So Close” and “Let’s Go,” both from his album 18 Months — have cemented his place as one of EDM’s top crossovers. “I’ve noticed the shows getting bigger and more people knowing my songs,” says Harris, 28. “Midway through my performance at Coachella this year, I look down and see Katy Perry going wild, crowd-surfing. I’ve never seen so many camera-phone lights in an audience in my life.” That doesn’t sound like a hopeless place either.

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