The year is 2016. You’ve just watched Marshmello perform live, for the first time in Mumbai. You make your way out of the venue, feet blistered and clothes soaked through. You’re dizzy, still reeling from the performance you’ve witnessed. You’re happy.
It is easy to see how Marshmello has grown to become the icon he is in a mere 4 years. Fans from across the world were initially drawn to his mask and his music, a mysterious, surreal figure that dressed in all-white and made gloriously happy music. But Mello is so much more than that, and it wasn’t long before he became a global phenomenon, filling out the largest venues and collaborating with the hottest artists of the year.
In India, Marshmello’s single, Alone, swiftly gained viral popularity within months of its release in January of 2016. At the time, YouTube was the main source of discovery for listeners outside an artist’s country of origin. For listeners in India, Mello was enticing. Close to nothing was known about the man behind the mask. This mystery factor, paired with unmissable music, made for a unique fan experience that everyone wanted in on, making Marshmello a household name.
Marshmello’s First Trip to India
Mello’s relationship with India began in August of 2016. In an announcement tweet for his 2016 Ritual Tour, fans were overjoyed when they saw the names of four cities in India amongst the 40 global locations listed. The DJ performed in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai in October of the same year, delivering what fans will swear were his best shows yet. He also made it a point to play remixes of beloved Bollywood songs for his audience of diehard Bolly-Heads. What a cultural cornerstone!
Marshmello Plays at Supersonic Festival 2018
Marshmello wants his fans in India to have the same experience as fans in his home state. His dedication to his global listener base is by far what truly sets him apart from others in his league. Following the release of his second wave of hit singles, namely Silence in collaboration with Khalid, and Wolves with Selena Gomez, Marshmello announced his return plans to India on twitter, announcing his headliner performance for the following year at VH1 Supersonic 2018, in Pune, India.
His set was, of course, complete with some more signature remixes along with his newest chart-topping releases. To deliver a staggering performance with a sizable tube on your head is a skill that is unique to Mello alone. He artfully manages to animate himself with large, exaggerated movements, further contributing to his masked character, and constantly proving to fans and viewers alike that only Mello can do as Mello does – and you never see his face!
Marshmello’s First Bollywood Collaboration
Marshmello’s love and dedication to his Indian audience is commendable, and it shows – he didn’t limit his engagement to performances alone. During January of 2019, Marshmello teased his first single for the year with a surprise tweet.
— marshmello (@marshmellomusic) January 28, 2019
It read “Watch out Bollywood, the mellogang is coming! #biba”.
Soon after, it was revealed that the DJ was working alongside Indian composer Pritam and vocalist Shirley Setia for the first-of-its-kind Bollywood single. The song, sponsored by Jio Saavn, was titled BIBA and featured Bollywood’s biggest face, Shah Rukh Khan, in its music video. BIBA premiered on 15 Feb 2019 and was an instant hit, with over 65 million views on YouTube. Catch the video here.
Marshmello Talks About India
Marshmello’s BIBA was a gift to Indian fans, serving as a dance anthem deeply rooted in Bollywood film culture. In a statement, he said “India is so special to me. This is my third time here and I love it even more each time I come back. That’s why I wanted to make this trip even more special and give my fans here their own anthem. It was great to work with Pritam over the last few months and give the Mellogang Biba.”
In another interview, the DJ expressed his admiration for his Indian listeners, saying “I went to India for the first time ever a few years ago and I had no clue how much it would change me. The amount of love, strength and compassion the people of India have is remarkable.”
Even Mello’s manager, Moe Shalizi, is known to have a deep interest in Indian cinema, according to COO of JioSaavn, Gaurav Sharma. He states, “He (Shalizi) told me he grew up in a house that had ‘Devdas’ and SRK (Shah Rukh Khan) movies playing all day.”
Marshmello’s Continuing Love of India: VH1 Supersonic Festival 2019 and beyond
Making that two years in a row for his appearances at the annual event! While on his 2016 Tour, Mello was seen wearing a traditional Indian kurta-pajama set, for the 2019 Supersonic show, he wore his signature crew neck sweater, while he held the Indian flag up for his audience. The festival featured artists such as Jaden Smith, TroyBoi and Bonobo,
Before commencing his set, Marshmello observed two-minute silence as a sign of respect for the 40 martyred soldiers in the recent Pulwama attack. The attack took place on the 14th of February, following which the DJ also tweeted “My prayers go out to those affected by the Pulwama attack.” In a pleasant twist to the evening, Bollywood Kartik Aaryan hopped onto stage to hang with Mello and the crowd, while Mello played Coca Cola, a Bollywood number from Aaryan’s newest film.
Since his 2019 trip to India, Marshmello has continued to keep his Indian audience at the top of his radar. He followed up on his Supersonic headliner set with another surprise performance in Delhi as part of the Supersonic Arcade show. He probably would’ve made another trip if not for you-know-what. India is feeling the Mello-draught and it is not good. In the meanwhile, here’s a video of the man himself teaching you how to make Paneer Tikka. For the love of Indian food.
You might say that Marshmello is as big a fan of India as India is of him. He has, on multiple occasions, expressed his admiration and respect for his fans in India and fervently makes it a point to visit the country on every occasion. If you’ve been to his shows, you will know his set is dedicated to his fans, with classic Bollywood remixes and a costume and set to match. With 2021 looking like an upward slope to a covid-free lifestyle, here’s to another era of Joytime to fuel India’s ever-growing Mello-craze.