On this hazy day in Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles lies half visible in the late-afternoon glow. Marshmello stands, unmasked, in a maroon sweatshirt and Off-White Nikes alongside his manager, marketing guru -- and dance executive of the year -- Moe Shalizi, who sports Louis Vuitton sandals and a collection of clinking gold chains.
The duo is upbeat, having just returned from an impromptu New York promo trip to perform Mello’s new single, “Friends,” featuring Anne-Marie, on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. It’s the new normal for a mystery artist who ascended the ranks of DJ royalty over the past year with sold-out shows and hits like “Wolves” with Selena Gomez (which peaked last December at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100) and “Silence” with Khalid (No. 30 on the Hot 100, also in December).