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Marshmello Manager Moe Shalizi On Breaking Dance/Electronic Songs Chart History With 'Happier'

Moe Shalizi
Martha Galvan

Moe Shalizi photographed in 2018.

In 2018, manager Moe Shalizi landed on the cover of Billboard’s Dance Issue alongside his marquee client Marshmello. The now-29-year-old -- then based at Red Light Management -- was named executive of the year and was credited with building the genre’s “most irresistible brand” with the masked DJ/producer. 

By November, he had established his own firm, The Shalizi Group, and brought along his full client roster, which today includes new additions Alesso and Roddy Ricch. The pair also made history: Marshmello’s latest hit “Happier” (feat. Bastille) became the longest-ever No. 1 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs at 58 weeks and counting, according to Nielsen Music.

“Moe is a franchise player like Kobe [Bryant] or [Michael] Jordan to any management team whose artists want the strongest starting lineup," Ricch says. 

Below, Shalizi recalls the transformative year.

 


 

I left Red Light because I realized that my vision was different from what was being done there, and I needed autonomy. At The Shalizi Group, there’s no record label or investor that controls us -- our gut dictates everything. At almost a year old, we’re at 30 employees, and I want to keep building to double, triple the size next year and with a bigger roster. 

It’s about working with good people. We’re at the point right now where it’s about wanting to get up every day and work on these projects. They’re all different and each have their own brand identity, so staying within those confines is always a challenge.

In 2015, we first pushed Marshmello out into the world with a premiere on Billboard Dance. To be shot for the cover [three years later] was really full circle. The music industry is pretty selfless, so when you’re able to get recognition for the four or five years that you tried hard to make something happen, it’s a boost for all that you do as a manager.

[Marshmello & Bastille’s] “Happier” peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 in February and is obviously many times platinum now. We always try to do things outside the box from what people expect. All of our collaborations have been in that sense, from Anne-Marie (“FRIENDS”) to Chvrches (“Here With Me”), they’re all with cool and credible artists. 

It’s bittersweet, because the next song has to surpass it. Billboard is such an iconic magazine in our world and the charts are a massive bragging tool for artists. The Hot 100 is the most authentic meter for the success of a record.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Nov. 2 issue of Billboard.

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