Enigmatic masked DJ/producer Marshmello makes groove-oriented, synth- and bass-heavy electronic dance music which regularly achieves mainstream crossover success. In the spirit of similarly cloaked dance figures like Deadmau5 and Daft Punk, Marshmello performs wearing a full-head-covering, in his case a marshmallow mask. Despite his early anonymity, Marshmello’s career blew up in 2015 when he began releasing tracks online. From there came shows at New York’s Pier 94, Pomona, California’s HARD Day of the Dead festival, and Miami Music Week. He also scored a number five Billboard electronic/dance album with his full-length debut, Joytime, before landing two consecutive number one dance albums, Joytime II and Joytime III. Collaborative hits followed with artists including Selena Gomez (“Wolves”), Khalid (“Silence”), and Bastille (the platinum hit “Happier”). He again hit a solo peak in 2019 with his revolutionary in-game concert Fortnite Extended Set, and returned to the Top Ten of the dance charts with 2021′s Shockwave. He collaborated with Brazil’s Tropkillaz on 2023′s Mellokillaz.
Marshmello’s career began in 2015 when he posted his music on SoundCloud, including remixes of Zedd’s “Beautiful Now,” Jack Ü’s “Where Are U Now,” and others. Soon he was drawing fans and gaining vocal support from peers like Skrillex, who reposted Marshmello’s track “Find Me.” High-profile live DJ appearances followed, with shows at Ultra Music Festival and California’s HARD Day of the Dead festival, among others. In 2016, Marshmello released a compilation of his previously released tracks, Joytime, which reached number five on the Billboard electronic/dance albums chart and number one on a digital top electronic albums chart. Included on the album was the single “Keep It Mello” featuring rapper Omar LinX.
Also in 2016, after a set at Electric Daisy Carnival, Dutch DJ Tiësto jokingly emerged from under Marshmello’s mask, fallaciously proclaiming he was the mysterious DJ. The real Marshmello continued to perform and release singles throughout the year, later starting his own Joytime Collective record label. More collaborations followed in 2017, including “Silence” with Khalid and “Wolves” featuring Selena Gomez. Both tracks became Top 30 hits and were certified platinum around the world.
In 2018, Marshmello added another hit collaboration to his roster, pairing with British vocalist Anne-Marie for their multi-platinum hit single “Friends.” After delivering his second full-length album, Joytime II, he released the non-album single “Happier,” which featured Bastille’s Dan Smith on vocals. The song quickly became a high-charting track, rising into the Top Three in the U.S., U.K., and Australasia. As the popularity of “Happier” continued to rise, Marshmello scored a charting effort with the revolutionary Fortnite Extended Set, a 30-minute mix taken from his 2019 in-game concert that attracted millions of video gamers. By the time summer rolled around, “Happier” had topped the Billboard electronic chart and peaked at number two on the Hot 100. Meanwhile, a collaboration with Chvrches, “Here with Me,” began its steady rise up the charts, giving the indie outfit their highest-charting single to date. Marshmello also added additional cross-genre collaborations to his singles list, including “Light It Up” with Tyga and Chris Brown, “One Thing Right” with country singer Kane Brown, and “Rescue Me” with pop-punkers A Day to Remember. The latter track appeared on Joytime III, which arrived in July 2019 and featured guests Slushii, Flux Pavilion, Elohim, and Wiwek. It hit number 50 on the Billboard 200 and topped the dance chart.
In February 2020, Marshmello joined Svdden Death for the track “Crusade,” and later Halsey for the ebullient “Be Kind.” The following year saw Marshmello deliver collaborations with Aussie singer/songwriter Vance Joy (“You”), Kentucky rapper 2KBABY (“Like This”), and Iranian singer/producer Arash (“Lavandia”). The DJ’s fourth full-length, Shockwave, arrived in June 2021 and featured appearances by Juicy J, Megan Thee Stallion, Subtronics, and more. It hit number three on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart and earned Marshmello his first Grammy Award nomination. A handful of non-album tracks kept the DJ busy in 2022, including “Numb” with Khalid, “Sah Sah” with Nancy Ajram, and the punk-influenced “American Psycho” with Mae Muller (and featuring Trippie Redd). “Bye Bye,” a 2019 collaboration with the late Juice Wrld, appeared in 2022, followed in 2023 by the Jamie Brown-assisted “Party Jumpin’.” Other 2023 singles included collaborations with Polo G, Farruko, and Brent Faiyaz; he additionally released Mellokillaz with Tropkillaz. ~ Matt Collar