Born to a Chinese-Jamaican family in Kingston and raised in South Florida, Leighton Walsh got his start in music by selling cassettes outside clubs and parties. During college at Clark Atlanta University—he earned his master’s degree in journalism—he took a few turns on the mic, and Walshy Fire was born. Looking to blur the lines between “selector” and MC, he took his extensive knowledge and appreciation for dancehall music to New York City and dug deeper into DJ culture. When he returned to Miami, he quickly fell in with the Black Chiney collective of musicians and producers incorporating Caribbean sounds into clubs and beyond.
Black Chiney inspired the formation of Major Lazer, Diplo’s genre-spanning side project (Walshy is the MC), which has produced some of the biggest dance tracks in the world the past two years, hailing from its Peace Is the Mission album. And Walshy has done more than co-write bangers like “Blaze Up the Fire” and drop memorable vocals on “Too Original.” He curated the reggae-fused soundtrack for the upcoming ski film Be Inspired, and earlier this year followed in the Vegas footsteps of Diplo with his own DJ residency at Intrigue. Up next, he’ll headline XS with Major Lazer to ring in the new year. It doesn’t get any bigger than that. Walshy Fire at Intrigue at Wynn, November 3.