walshy fire has found success in just about every position he has placed himself in. Beginning as a DJ, the multi-talented Walshy Fire has played on the biggest stages in the world. He’s produced hit records for himself and records for other artists, while being a member of some of music’s most influential collectives over the past two decades, Black Chiney and Major Lazer.
If a room full of music industry hopefuls got together and created vision boards, I imagine that’s what the Walshy Fire story would look like!
We were lucky enough to catch some time with the Grammy Award-winning Creative Titan to talk about his musical debut, his successes, and his new venture, a vinyl bar in Miami. You always feel like you’ve barely scratched the surface with this man. Check out our full Walshy Fire interview here…
Spoken Mag: Tell me about your youth.
Walshy’s Fire: Yeah. Grew up halfway to Kingston, then moved to Carol City, Miami. Agreed. Grow there. Completed high school in North Miami Beach.
Spoken Mag: What factors led you to find your passion for music?
Walshy’s Fire: Well, if you know anything halfway Kingston, that’s where the music lives. It’s a big music hub between record stores and buses and cars, but then, of course, after that, and then in Miami in my teens, I started going out and living block parties and stuff like that. And all of that made me fall in love with music, to the point where I wanted to take it to the next level.
When I arrived at Clark University in Atlanta, I did an internship at the jazz station and it really opened my mind to music that I didn’t know and that I liked a lot, this which kind of sealed my love for music.
Spoken Mag: You grew up in a multicultural family in Miami. How did this exposure help or hurt you in the beginning of your musical activities?
Walshy’s Fire: Yeah, I don’t think it would hurt. I don’t even know why I would feel like it would hurt. It probably hurts people who aren’t lucky enough to be in a multicultural city or community. There are only benefits to seeing different people do things differently from you. And I’m blessed to have been able to have that.
Spoken Mag: You’re an incredibly successful producer and DJ, but I know you went to Clark Atlanta and you have a master’s degree in journalism. Looking ahead, what were your career goals?
Walshy’s Fire: Well, you know, first generation person in my family to go to college. So obviously the pressures to be in the popular domains. And I was in it. I was, I wanted to be an architect, I still want to be an architect, but I ended up getting into technical computing with my first corporate job. And so, yes, the goal was to finance the needs of families with a big corporate job.
Spoken Mag: How did you discover your talent for music and what was the first step in your career?
Walshy’s Fire: I started DJing on the side, I started hosting on the side, my sophomore year, no, my freshman year in college. And it was kind of like an accident, but people started saying, yo, you’re really good. You are really good. And that’s where I think I started getting the courage to start buying my own records. I got into a DJ battle. Also. I went and set up turntables and that’s what really started to make me take it seriously those years at Clark University in Atlanta.
It was just going and getting close to what I realized I was starting to want to do.
Spoken Mag: What was the first big break for you that made you realize this was really what you were meant to do?
Walshy’s Fire: I would say it was, joining Black Chiney. It was the first time I was like, okay, yeah, that makes sense.
Spoken Mag: You are a member of the Grammy nominated band Major Lazer with Diplo and Ape Drums. How did you connect with Diplo in the beginning and how did the collaboration with Major Lazer take place?
Walshy’s Fire: He’s from Florida. I’m from Florida. We had mutual friends. He asked me, did I want to do this? I said, yes, here it is.
Spoken Mag: You’ve been blessed with success on many levels in your career, but for you, what are some of your most memorable highlights?
Walshy’s Fire: So, too much. It’s as if there were too many. I was lucky enough to be able to travel around the world and do incredible things. I would say Cuba, Cuba with 400,000 people was the best.
Spoken Mag: You and Izybeats recently teamed up for some hits for Koffee. Obviously, there’s great chemistry there. How did this develop with Koffee?
Walshy’s Fire: So basically there was a guy named Khadija Palmer and he introduced me to her. And he brought her to my house and we started writing songs at my house. And finally we did a whole EP with the songs we put on, “Toast” was one of those songs. We knew it was good. It exploded. It was amazing. And it’s still one of the favorite things I’ve ever done.
Spoken Mag: For those unaware, Creative Titans is a full-service boutique management and publishing company, founded in 2017 by Ron André Elvis Telford. So, how was the partnership with Creative Titans for you?
Walshy’s Fire: Agreed. So it was, I think, from “Toast,” like Izzy has been producing for a long time and I got Izzy’s beat and I was able to put Koffee on it. And we managed to make it a big success. And so I think, yeah, Ron had worked with Izzy before. And so Ron is the one who sent me Izzy’s rhythm. So Ron was kind of like, yo, we should all work on some stuff together and I was okay. And that’s how it really started. Now that I think about it, it really isn’t a story. Like it wasn’t something that happened.
Not that I remember, at least, maybe Ronald would say it differently, but it was just like, yo, I like what you do. Everyone did. So we started working together, and then after “Toast,” we were like, yo, we should make this an official thing.
Spoken Mag: How would you describe working with Ron Telford?
Walshy’s Fire: Amazing, he’s so smart. He is very professional and understands the nuances of the business. This business is not black and white. It’s extremely gray. And he’s extremely, extremely good at it. And so that’s probably the best thing that’s happened to me in the last two years.
Spoken Mag: You opened a vinyl bar in Miami. Tell me about that and why you wanted to do that.
Walshy’s Fire: Agreed. So the vinyl bar was something I had experimented with over the years. I had been to Japan, to Paris, I had been to New York and I had seen vinyl bars. Japan has the most. It’s really a Japanese concept. And I saw the vinyl bars and I was like, yo, that’s a great idea. I was a vinyl collector, obviously since the 90s when I started DJing. So when I saw this thing, it was already inside me. And I was part of Coyo Tacos from the start, which is a pretty popular taco place here in Miami.
So it was almost like a universal thing where they were like, yo man, with this, this idea for this vinyl bar. And I was like, this is crazy. I looked at my vision board. So it was like one of those kind of things, the way it’s just like, yo, it’s so amazing to be able to have put so many years into music and now to own a space where I can get a group of people together and say, Hey, look, this is where we’re going to, you know, experience music. And I’m going to be the person who runs this, who drives this car.
So, you know, I appreciate where people have been before. It received rave reviews. It’s an amazing place. And it’s also an incredible thing to see how young people haven’t experienced vinyl and are amazed. When they see vinyl, they really are.
Spoken Mag: What’s next for you?
Walshy’s Fire: I’m working on several albums. I’m working on my personal album, Abeng. The second, I’m also working on an album while in Florida. I’m working with Ricky Blaze on a project. I’m working on doing more events, my big carnival event. And then The Shrine every Saturday here in Miami, Rum and Bass on Tuesdays and growing so they’re festival-sized because I believe they can be. And yes, my goal is to work on things. Also, I will soon buy a farm. So I’m the one who puts that in the universe. So then we talk. I will own a farm for sure.
Image Credit: Chad Andreo
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