Shy One is one of London’s most versatile DJs, spinning everything from grime UK hip-hop to classic house and beyond. We catch up with Mali Larrington-Nelson to talk eclecticism, community and production…
FROM: London, UK
FOR FANS OF: Henry Wu, Ikonika, Scratcha
THREE TUNES: ‘Waterfalls’,’Other Side’,’Rid Of You (Feat. Aisha Zoe)’
DJ and producer Shy One has never been afraid to be different. Her artist name might suggest a timid nature, but her approach to dance music is anything but. Shy One boldly assembles elements of her many influences into electrifying DJ sets, and tracks that combine brightly hued electronics with club-damaging beats. Her fresh approach has led to shows on hot London radio stations Balamii, Rinse and NTS, and releases on Japan’s Diskotopia label and Scratcha’s DVA Music.
When she was growing up in Harrow, West London, Shy One (real name Mali Larrington-Nelson) was obsessed with grime and garage. At 14-years-old, she landed a DJ gig on a community radio station at her local youth club, before graduating to pirate station Hot 96. Even then, her musical tastes were diverse.
“The show was mixed genre,” Larrington-Nelson says. “We’d play garage, R&B, dancehall, hip-hop.” In parallel, she was making beats on Fruity Loops for grime MCs, though some described her instrumentals as “weird” and “different”. It was this originality that caught the ear of bass music outlier Scratcha, who put out her 2012 debut album ‘Bedknobs And Boomkicks’: a feast of synth-heavy UK funky rhythms.
Since, Shy One’s DJ sets have come to encompass an all- embracing array of dance styles influenced by her London upbringing. Hear her on Balamii now, and you can expect everything from broken beat to house and UK rap finding the common ground between them all.
“That eclecticism comes from me finally realising that being a specialist DJ or focusing on one genre wasn’t true to me or my past or my influences,” she says, “because all these other genres are what I listen to everyday, and are what influence me even when I make a grime beat. Hearing this music and being brought up on it is where I get my style and my ear from.”
Larrington-Nelson’s productions continue to display an affection for grime, and less expected ingredients: 2017’s ‘Waterfalls’ EP contained the sinuous neon lead lines and polyrhythmic percussion of the title track, in addition to the bass-heavy footwork and d&b influenced ‘Refreshed’, and the jazzy vocal cut ‘Rid Of You’, featuring Aisha Zoe.
Beyond her DJing and beat-making, Shy One is also involved with the Touching Bass and BBZ collectives: the former celebrates the vibrant history of black British club culture and puts on club events, while the latter aims to create safe spaces for London’s marginalised gay and transgender communities. “Where those two collectives overlap, it’s all about community and building up this trust and respect,” she says.
Larrington-Nelson has plenty of forthcoming projects, including the soundtrack to her collaboration with performance artist Victoria Sin, and a new EP on Astral Black with MC Kwam. “It’s six tracks, all 140, 145bpm. It’s grime, but it’s my grime,” she says.
In addition, she’ll be building an installation for BBZ’s appearance at Afropunk New York, and paying tribute to the broken beat sounds that have so inspired her throughout her career. “I need to get a broken beat-inspired project out,” she concludes. “This year I’m mostly known for my affiliation to that, so I need to drop something.”
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 – 16:02
The World’s Highest-Paid DJs 2017
Media & Entertainment #CelebrityMoney
Perhaps the only thing more absurd than Marshmello’s appearance–the anonymous DJ performs in a puffy white mask–is how much money he makes: $21 million over the past year, thanks to a rigorous touring schedule and six-figure nightly fees.That’s good enough for the No. 8 spot on our list of the world’s highest-paid DJs. The group pulled in a collective $298 million, up from $270.5 million in 2016. Much of that increase comes from the two newcomers, Marshmello and the Chainsmokers. The latter clocked 2.2 billion-plus streams over the past year, mostly from crossover hits “Closer” (with Halsey) and “Something Just Like This” (with Coldplay). “We work with artists because it makes sense, because we’re excited about them,” the Chainsmokers’ Alex Pall explained to Forbes earlier this year. “Anytime we work with someone, it’s because they offer something to us creatively that inspires us.”
Yet the highest-paid name on our list for the fifth consecutive year is Calvin Harris, who earned $48.5 million—roughly as much as Marshmello and the Chainsmokers combined. The Scottish DJ tops the Electronic Cash Kings on account of mid-six-figure fees for his Las Vegas performances and seven-figure music festival hauls. He’s also one of the most successful crossover producers on the planet, most recently releasing “Feels,” featuring Pharrell Williams, Big Sean and Katy Perry.
Tiësto, the 48-year-old Dutch DJ who has finished in the top three every year in the Electronic Cash Kings list’s existence, continues to outpace EDM stars half his age, playing 134 gigs in our scoring period en route to a payday of $39 million. The aforementioned Chainsmokers follow close behind at No. 3 with $38 million. The ranks of the top-earning DJs reveal an unfortunate lack of diversity—among the top ten, there are no women, and all hail from the U.S. or northern Europe. There is, however, a bit of a mix when it comes to age: the oldest, 49-year-old David Guetta (No. 7, $25 million), could easily be the father of Martin Garrix (No. 9, $19.5 million), who just reached legal drinking age.
Guetta still banks millions by combining festival gigs with club shows from Ibiza to Las Vegas. An international draw, he tallied 100-odd performances in 12 months across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. He remains one of a handful of EDM artists to have mainstream pop success, working with the likes of Rihanna, Sia and Usher. “When I started, our music was underground,” Guetta told Forbes. “There was no such thing as DJ music that would be on the radio.”
Our rankings of the world’s highest-paid DJs take into account earnings from June 2016 through June 2017. Fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not subtracted. We create our list with the help of data from Nielsen, Pollstar, Bandsintown, Songkick, as well as interviews with industry insiders and some of the DJs themselves. It’s quite possible to earn double-digit millions as a DJ and still fall short of making the Electronic Cash Kings list. A number of well-known names fit that description, including some who had very big years: Afrojack, Deadmau5, DJ Snake, Kaskade, and Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike, to name a few. We’ll look out for them in 2018—after all, in the EDM world, a lot can change in a little bit of time.
“We’re creating more of a faceless brand,” said Marshmello’s manager, Moe Shalizi. “That’s Marshmello … he’s only about two and a half years old and he’s one of the biggest DJs in the world.” Edited by Zack O’Malley Greenburg and Natalie Robehmed; additional reporting by Rebecca Lerner. Note: The first two paragraphs of this story appeared in the latest issue of Forbes, alongside names and earnings totals of the top ten highest-paid DJs.
Zack O’Malley Greenburg , FORBES STAFF
AUG 8, 2017 @ 10:00 AM