This week, Miami-bred, Jamaican American DJ, record producer, Leighton Walsh, otherwise known as Walshy Fire, has graced stages during Trinidad Carnival festivities at events held on February 24, 25 and 26. Walsh will also be performing this weekend during Brazil’s Rio Carnival on March 2 and 4.
His hectic performance schedule has become a regular lifestyle for the globe-trotting DJ/producer, who is a part of the award winning group, Major Lazer, and also boasts a successful solo career.
Speaking to CNW about Trinidad Carnival, Walsh shared, “Trinidad stands out because it’s so inclusive. It’s the 3rd or 4th biggest carnival in the world, I believe, with only Brazil, Colombia and maybe Mardi Gras being bigger. But, Trinidad Carnival is one of the most inclusive. You can show up on the day of the event to participate, and they’ll welcome you. Some of the other carnivals where they’ve been practicing for three or six months, they’re really just focused on winning.”
Considered a Caribbean Ambassador, Walsh has been a fixture during carnival season throughout the Caribbean region for many years. He is also a regular performer/DJ at carnivals in the diaspora, such as Miami and Toronto carnivals. Beyond just entertaining Caribbean folks, Walsh has been a headliner at the full spectrum of other major carnivals across the globe, such as Mardi Gras.
Walsh credits growing up in Miami for his ability to connect with a wide audience through his music.
“Miami’s diversity is linked to the region that I consider myself responsible for, which is the Caribbean, and also South America and Central America. Miami has helped me be able to speak to a diverse group of people, because I grew up in diverse culture,” he says.
The 36-year-old, self-proclaimed Miami Prime Minister was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Miami’s Carol City. He attended North Miami Beach High School, and later went on to study for degrees at Clark Atlanta University and Florida A&M University.
Most often referred to just as “Walshy”, Walsh is also the brother of famed West Indian cricketer, Courtney Walsh.
Walsh’s career began to rise in 2004 when he started working and touring with the lauded Jamaican American sound system, Black Chiney. However, it was in 2012 that Walsh stepped into the role of MC of internationally acclaimed electronic dance group, Major Lazer. The group tours extensively across the globe, and has worked with a plethora of the world’s biggest acts, such as Sean Paul, Pharrell Williams, and Snoop Dogg.
Known for his prowess in mixing genres with reggae and dancehall rhythms, Walshy’s recent groundbreaking hit is the production of “Toast” by new Jamaican artist, Koffee, which has seen unprecedented success in Jamaica and around the world. The tune aptly represents the positive messages and rootsy melodies Walshy creates, against a new, globally enhanced, yet authentic, reggae sound.
In 2015, Walsh launched independent label Walshy Fire Presents, where he aims to expand Jamaica’s sound system culture through music production, live events and other projects.
Walsh hosts weekly reggae and dancehall-heavy, carnival-style revel events called Rum & Bass, every Tuesday night at Coyo Taco in Miami. He also tours extensively as a solo DJ act, and has held residencies at some of Miami’s most popular nightclubs.