Last Updated on May 24, 2021 by J.SCALCO
Few DJs (if any) have catapulted to the top of global charts in such an enigmatic manner as Marshmello. Since debuting in 2015, this top edm artist, DJ and producer has enjoyed an unprecedented growth in earnings and popularity – eclipsing his peers in the industry.
Marshmello’s unique approach and music with vocals, a slower pace, and hints of trap quickly caught the attention of music lovers around the globe. From a relatively unknown musician who produced remixes, Marshmello is now one of the highest-earning DJs in the world.
Who is Marshmello?
His music is just one piece of the puzzle towards becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Part of his allure is the characteristic white Marshmello helmet with a rather unique smiley face. Aside from leaving a permanent impression on anyone that comes across the mask, the artist has gone to great lengths to ensure it never comes off in public. As accomplished as he’s become, the question of “who is Marshmello?” is still a mystery – at least officially.
Although Marshmello has not directly revealed his identity, the bread crumbs are pretty clear on the man behind the mask. So, who is Marshmello? Read on to find everything you need to know about one of the greatest acts in the EDM scene.
What is the Deal with the Marshmello Face / Helmet?
First thing first, what’s up with the Marshmello face? Why does Marshmello hide his identity – especially with his level of success? Most people would jump on the opportunity to be known around the world, but not Marshmello. By keeping his identity anonymous, the artist seems to be in it for the beats and not the fame. In a tweet, he stated:
“I don’t take my helmet off because I don’t want or need fame. I’m genuinely trying to create something positive for people to connect with.” A follow-up post went on to expound on the motive behind the Marshmello head saying, “The helmet makes me Marshmello and also makes you Marshmello…we are all Marshmello.”
The idea of performing with a mask has been omnipresent in the EDM music industry – from the legendary Daft Punk with a robot helmet to Deadmau5 with a mouse-like head. But Marshmello took this to a whole new level riding on infectious hits and ingenious marketing tactics to sell his brand.
Due to the anonymity of his identity, much of what is known about Marshmello’s background is mostly speculation. One such assumption is that the Marshmello head was inspired by the Canadian producer, Deadmau5.
In an interview with Forbes regarding the creation of Marshmello, Moe Shalizi (the artist’s manager) claimed that “We were like, ‘How do we create something that’s not driven by who it is, or what it’s about?…“We’re creating more of a faceless brand.”
Whatever the reason behind the Marshmello face mask, it worked! His anonymity helped the DJ garner a huge following and stratospheric rise in the industry. According to Steve Gordon (booking agent), “The demand for Marshmello exceeds his availability.”
The Rise to Fame
When Marshmello first graced the world on dance music in 2015, he was barely known – but his sound was exciting and rather unique. At the time, trap music was intimidating and characterized by an intense bass with roots in dubstep and hip hop. Marshmello’s arrival ushered in a new light-hearted feel to the trap arrangements that fit with his fluffy appearance. His fresh production style took the industry by storm – leading to mass coverage.
The first taste of his music came in the form of a synth-laced and groovy trap production, “WaVez” – an original song posted on SoundCloud. He went on to release more songs, including official remixes of Jack Ü’s “Where Are U Now,” and Zedd’s “Beautiful Now.” In a matter of months, Marshmello was attracting wide-spread interest and gaining endorsements from non-other than Skrillex.
The legendary artist, known for his breathtaking song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” reposted one of Marshmello’s songs (“Find Me”) on SoundCloud. This left producers and fans around the world wondering; “Who is Marshmello?” or better yet, “How does a newcomer land an official remix opportunity and earn the support of heavy hitters like Zedd, Jack Ü, and Skrillex?”
High-profile appearances in shows such as California’s HARD Day of the Dead festival, and Ultra Music Festival, among others followed. In 2016, Marshmello released his first album – Joytime– which was a compilation of his previous tracks. The album shot to first place in a digital top electronic albums chart and number 5 on Billboard’s electronic/dance albums chart. But this was just the beginning of his exciting career.
Marshmello continued to perform and release singles throughout 2016, including “Alone” which has over 1.6 billion views on YouTube. He even started his record label, Joytime Collective in that same year. His meteoric rise did not slow down in 2017 as he made various collaborations with mainstream artists. His song “Wolves” featuring Selena Gomez and “Silence” with Khalid were certified platinum.
In 2018, he released “Friends” featuring Anne-Marie and the “Happier” with Dan Smith from Bastille. The latter became Marshmello’s highest-charting track, dominating U.K., U.S., and Australasia’s Top Three. Other notable productions include the radical “Fortnite Extended Set” from his in-game concert, “One Thing Right” with Kane Brown, and “Light It Up” with hip hop artists Chris Brown and Tyga. To date, he has 3 studio albums – Joytime I, Joytime II,and Joytime III.
What is Marshmello’s Net Worth?
Marshmello is one of the highest-earning DJs in the world – thanks to an ingenious mix of the mysterious Marshmello mask, clever marketing, a relatable character, and his undeniable musical talent. From raking in $30,000 in a New York Halloween show – which was his first major gig – his earning power grew to 6-figure fees per shown in the span of a few years.
In addition to his gig performances, Marshmello has a puffed-up presence in social media – including a hive of activity on Facebook/Instagram and a wildly popular YouTube series “Cooking with Marshmello.” So, what has been Marshmello’s net worth over the years?
According to Forbes’The World’s Highest-Paid DJs,” Marshmello net worth stood at $21 million in 2017 – earning the number 8 spot. Although the figure was impressive for a DJ who has been in the industry for a meager 2 years, his earnings were more than doubled by Calvin Harris ($48.5 million) who was the highest-earning name on the list. The following year, Forbes’ “The World’s Highest-Paid DJs Of 2018” placed Marshmello at number 5 in the list with an earning of $23 million. Thanks to his impressive rise in fame and net worth, Marshmello was featured as the cover artist in Forbes’ “30 Under 30.”
But it’s in 2019 that Marshmello’s net worth really went into full gear. From $23 million in 2018, the mellow DJ took home a whopping $40 million in 2019. This earned him the 2ndspot on the list behind The Chainsmokers. The ranking marked the first time in 6 consecutive years that Calvin Harris had been dethroned from the top spot. According to Forbes, Marshmello’s earning power was “an aberration among his peer group.”
Who is Marshmello? Really!
Ever since his career began, fans have been yearning for a peek under the Marshmello helmet. However, the question of “who is Marshmello?” has been shrouded in mystery and tons of speculation. To complicate the guessing game, the artist has a habit of teasing and trolling fans by casting “imposters” to take off their helmet. Believe it or not, the number of suspects over the years have ranged from DJ Tiesto, Shawn Mendes, and even the film comedian, Will Ferrell.
In 2016 at the EDC Las Vegas, fans had their fingers crossed, hearts pounding, and voices shrieking as the artist counted down for the audience and finally took off his Marshmello head. But to the disappointment of the fans, it wasn’t the real artist. Instead, out came a smiling DJ Tiesto – not what the fans expected but still an exciting musician worthy of the erupting cheers. Later on, the two DJs posted a video titled, “Marshmello FINALLY reveals himself at EDC Las Vegas 2016” to troll everyone.
The 2018 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards also turned out to be the venue of another ploy by the DJ to mislead fans. After being announced as the Best EDM/Dance Artist, “Marshmello” walked out on stage in his signature helmet and all-white outfit to claim his award. Again, he teased fans by taking off his mask only or reveal Shawn Mendes under the hood.
The mind games continued with Will Ferrell posting a video in which he took off the Marshmello mask saying, “Yes, it’s me. I am Marshmello. It was me all along.” Not to take anything away from the comedian, but it’s hard to believe he is the brains behind the revolutionary music production. In their own way, these facades by other popular artists helped stir the speculation and hide Marshmello’s true identity.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Marshmello is a huge gaming fanatic? He frequently posts Fortnite videos on his YouTube channel and other social media handles. Such is his influence on the game that he has his own in-game character and even once held a concert for his music fans in the game.
Marshmello Unmasked – Following the Bread Crumbs
As much as we don’t have an official confirmation, we can pretty much conclude that Marshmello is neither Will Ferrell, Shawn Mendes, nor DJ Tiesto. So, who is Marshmello? Drum roll…the not-so-secret identity of Marshmello is…wait for it…Christopher Comstock (aka., Dotcom)!
Wondering why we think Marshmello is Christopher Comstock’s alter ego? There have tons of theories and pieces of evidence, especially from Forbes and Internet sleuths. Below are 6 of the most convincing bread crumbs that all lead to Dotcom as the man behind the Marshmello helmet.
- Skrillex’s Slip of the Tongue: According to Forbes, Skrillex accidentally revealed the identity of Marshmello back in 2015 during an on-air interview with Katie Couric. During the interaction, Skrillex’s phone rang and Couric noted, “It’s Chris,” – only for Sonny Moore to reply”Oh, Marshmello,” before putting Marshmello on speaker. That conversation ignited an interesting debate on his identity, considering Skrillex is partly responsible for Marshmello’s success. Following Skrillex’s interview, Marshmello later posted a tweet saying, “My name is Chris…short for Christmas came early.” Nice try, but no one was going to buy that!
- They Share a Birthday: In 2016, Skrillex unknowingly gave us another piece of evidence when he posted a Facebook video captioned “Happy bday Marshmello shout out Getter JAUZ and Ookay ????????????????????????.” The birthday date coincided with Comstock’s birthday of May 19th– as per his voter registration.
- Same Management: Moe Shalizi happens to manage both Marshmello and Dotcom, coincidence? Maybe! The mystery was further debunked through an investigation by Forbes, who uncovered that Marshmello is registered as a musician through BMI (a music royalty manager). At the time, searching for either Comstock or Marshmello yielded the same results – now, this can’t be a coincidence.
- Matching Tattoos: Online sleuths on Twitter took it up a notch in 2016 when they spotted a leg tattoo through Marshmello’s ripped jeans. Its ink and positioning seemed to match a similar tattoo on Comstock’s leg.
- Instagram Story Gone Wrong: Feed Me – an electro-house and dubstep producer – posted an Instagram story, in which Chris Comstock could be seen on a mirror reflection dressed in all-white.
- Deadmau5 Banter: Aside from Marshmello and Daft Punk, Deadmau5 is arguably one of the most popular artists who perform with a helmet. But unlike Marshmello who is known for his ‘mellow’ vibe, Deadmau5 has a notorious reputation for his fiery social media remarks. In one of his exchanges with Marshmello, Deadmau5 tweeted, “ Ok. We get it. Dotcom wasn’t working. You put a bucket on your head and mention me weekly. Winning formula. Awesome.” While this does not put nails on the coffin, it goes a long to prove that Christopher Comstock is indeed Marshmello.
Christopher Comstock Not Owning Up Any Time Soon
With self-appointed investigators constantly looking for any shred of evidence to link Dotcom to Marshmello, the artist actively avoids interviews. Considering anything can be asked in a non-staged interview, it’s probably a wise decision. Skilled reporters can ask anything and easily corned him into revealing the truth. The only time he spoke to journalists was during a video interaction with Forbes. When asked whether he will ever take off his mask and officially reveal his identity, he responded with a double thumbs down.
If you’re hoping to spot the real Marshmello in a public unveiling, you’ll be disappointed – it’s part of his allure and we doubt he’s planning on giving that up any time soon. We can only rely on speculation to find answers to the enigmatic question; who is Marshmello? Any inquiry into his identity is often shot down with panache – not that we can blame the artist. The supposed re-invention of Chris Comstock from Dotcom is arguably the most successful story of marketing-done-right in recent years.