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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore (Ben Haggerty) and Ryan Lewis released their first full-length album, “The Heist,” in July 2012. The album contained the No. 1 single “Thrift Shop” and the album went platinum. The duo also works independently, sans a label, which has gained them a certain amount of notoriety in the music business.

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LOS ANGLES — In Sunday night’s biggest and most surprising statuette haul, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won big in their Grammys debut. The independent rap group landed four of the seven major categories in which they were nominated, triumphing over more established hip-hop superstars including Jay Z, Drake and Kanye West.

Virtually invisible to Grammy voters until the final weeks of the balloting, Macklemore and Lewis’ victory sweep was made all the more unlikely for nearly being derailed by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences voting vagaries in 2013.

The Seattle hip-hop group claimed the award for best new artist in the opening moments of the broadcast Sunday evening after landing three rap awards earlier in the afternoon’s untelevised segment: for best performance, best song for “Thrift Shop” and — controversially — best album for “The Heist.”


From the LA Times

In that category, the duo beat out Compton rap phenom Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” which Macklemore himself had endorsed in the category last month.

Macklemore used his moment at the awards podium to celebrate his indie bona fides, pointing out “The Heist” was recorded “without a record deal.”

“Before there was any media, before there was any buzz, before there was a story, there was our fans,” Macklemore said. “So without them, there would be no us.”

Later, amid a neon tableau built to evoke a Gothic cathedral, the duo took to the stage to deliver what was widely considered the evening’s emotional high point. Midway through Macklemore and Lewis’ performance of “Same Love” — which was nominated for song of the year and has become an anthem in the campaign to legalize gay marriage — Queen Latifah introduced 33 couples who emerged from the audience to exchange marriage vows and rings.

The jubilantly betrothed were soon joined by Madonna, who performed a mash-up of her 1986 hit “Open Your Heart” as guests in the crowd could be seen brushing back tears of joy.

The Staples Center event capped a run of awards acclaim for Macklemore and Lewis, whom Latifah called “one of the most inspiring success stories in music this year” — performers who bucked hip-hop tropes by extolling the joys of second-hand clothing and supporting gay rights, in a genre long associated with crass materialism and undisguised homophobia.

The two were honored as Billboard magazine’s top rap act for 2013. They also beat out Kanye West and Jay Z in the best group category at the BET Awards.

But if not for a key balloting reversal by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Macklemore and Lewis’ Grammy haul would have been considerably smaller.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Grammy Awards rap committee members decided late last year that Macklemore and Lewis should not qualify for the rap categories because of their success on mainstream radio and their crossover appeal.

As a result of their back-to-back No. 1 hits — “Thrift Shop (featuring Wanz)” sold 7.3 million tracks, and “Can’t Hold Us” moved more than 5 million tracks — members of the NARAS rap committee reportedly declined the duo’s submission in a meeting in Los Angeles last year.

But that ruling was later overturned by a “landslide” general committee vote, allowing Macklemore and Lewis to compete in the rap categories, enabling their dark-horse Grammy wins.

The two were denied their last major award of the evening, for album of the year, losing out to French electronic music trailblazers Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories.” But Macklemore and Lewis still received props from the stage.

Accepting on behalf of the mute, robot-helmeted Frenchmen, Daft Punk collaborator Paul Williams spent almost as much time praising Macklemore and Lewis’ “Same Love” performance as he did effusing about his shared win.

“All that love is fantastic,” the Oscar-winning singer-songwriter said.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray congratulated Macklemore and Lewis Monday.

“It was an exciting night for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and the City of Seattle,” said Murray. “They are a talented group who has brought much recognition to Seattle’s music scene. I want to congratulate them on their four Grammys and wish them continued success.”


macklemore & lewis1SEATTLE — Macklemore fans riding real slow out of Queen Anne tonight may have a lot of time to see how many other cars are rolling with white walls.

More than 10,000 fans are expected to pack Key Arena for the next three nights – tonight, Wednesday and Thursday – for the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concerts. The concerts begin at 8pm and end at 11pm.

Fans of the “Thrift Shop’ superstar could find themselves in some ugly late night traffic after the concerts end – and transportation officials are urging concertgoers to avoid Mercer Street after the show.

The main traffic headache will be eastbound Mercer Street, which will be reduced to one lane between Fourth and Fifth avenues from 9pm to 5am. All eastbound traffic on Mercer St. are required to onto Fifth Avenue N.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has several additional restrictions:

  • Traffic diverted on Fifth Avenue North can re-connect to eastbound Mercer St. via Harrison and eastbound Broad streets.
  • Northbound Fifth Ave N will remain open but could become congested near Seattle Center.
  • Southbound Fifth Ave N will be required to turn left onto eastbound Mercer St. after the concert.

Mercer Street east of Fifth Ave N, westbound Mercer St, Broad Street and the I-5 Mercer ramps will remain open.

SDOT recommends concertgoers head south to Denny Way on Fifth Avenue N, Second Avenue N or Queen Anne Ave N and take Second Avenue or Fifth Avenue toward downtown to access I-5, I-90 and SR 99.

macklemoreLOS ANGELES — The Seattle-based duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis received seven Grammy nominations Friday night, including for “Song of the Year,” “Album of the Year” and “Best New Artist.”

The Seattle-based duo’s “Same Love” was nominated for Song of the Year and “The Heist” for Album of the Year.

Jay Z topped the Grammy nominations with nine.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis kicked off “The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!” television special, live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, with a performance of their hit song “Thrift Shop.”

The Grammy awards ceremony will be televised Jan. 26.

For the full Grammy nomination list, click here for the L.A. Times listing.

Local News

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis nominated for five MTV EMA’s

macklemore & lewis1LONDON – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ are getting international recognition.

The Seattle-based duo are nominated for five 2013 MTV European Music Awards. The categories include Best Song for ‘Thrift Shop,’ Best New Artist, Best U.S. Act, Best Hip Hop and Best World Stage. They tie Justin Timberlake for the most nominations this year. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke are up for four awards each.

The 2013 MTV EMA’s is on Monday, November 11 from Amsterdam.

Same-Love-Macklemore-Ryan-Lewis(CNN) — A North Carolina middle school teacher was suspended for three days for showing students the rap video “Same Love,” Macklemore’s song promoting equal rights for gays.

“The issue in this matter was one of whether the video was curriculum-based, educationally-related, and age-appropriate for a class of prepubescent 13-year-olds,” Alexander County school board attorney Joel Harbinson told CNN on Thursday.

The seven-minute video includes a kiss between two men at a wedding altar and ends with an elderly gay couple holding hands in a hospital room.

“The right-wing conservatives think that it’s a decision and you can be cured with some treatment and religion, man-made rewiring of a predisposition,” Macklemore raps.

The school board lawyer would not identify the teacher, describe the class subject or give details about the disciplinary action taken.

“The administration and the teacher reached an understanding based solely on these factors that was mutually agreeable to all parties,” Harbinson said. “We look forward to the teacher being a valuable member of our school system for years to come as we continue our commitment to provide the best possible education to all of our students as well as to treat each of them with compassion and understanding.”

The incident occurred last week and the teacher is back on the job at West Alexander Middle School, Harbinson told CNN.

Macklemore, who did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment this week, did publish a response last November when a Michigan middle school teacher was suspended for the same offense. That suspension was lifted after a protest by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“This level of intolerance and fear is still very active in America, but at times is not completely visible,” Macklemore wrote on his website. “This incident is just one of tens of thousands that have happened across the country where schools have exposed a latent homophobia, preventing safe space for all young people to feel confident in being themselves.”

He said he wrote the song “not with the expectation that it would cure homophobia and lead to marriage equality across the US (although that’d be awesome).  It was written with the hope that it would facilitate dialogue and through those conversations understanding and empathy would emerge.”

“Same Love” won the 2013 MTV Video Music Award for best hip-hop video with a social message last month.


SEATTLE — Remember a few weeks ago when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis brought a crowd of hundreds to the Dick’s Drive-In on Broadway to film for a video?

The video was released today. Watch it here (WARNING: Explicit lyrics):

Local News

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis win big at VMAs

VMasNEW YORK – Seattle duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won the hip-hop video award for “Can’t Hold Us,” and the newly minted prize for video with a social message for the gay rights anthem “Same Love” and an award for Best Cinematography at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards.

The duo also performed “Same Love” at the live show on stage with a surprise guest-appearance from Jennifer Hudson.

For the first time in their 29-year history, the MTV VMAs were broadcast live from Brooklyn, N.Y., on Sunday night, but as to whether the event showcased all the borough had to offer — well, you can fuggedaboutit.

The setting — the shiny new Barclays Center arena in downtown Brooklyn — may have lent the awards a veneer of hip, but homegrown talent such as Jay Z was scarce among the evening’s winners and performers. Instead, MTV offered up “California Gurl” Katy Perry boxing in front of the Brooklyn Bridge and doled out prizes to Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

But what the evening lacked in outer-borough authenticity it made up for in the kind of manufactured spectacle that has defined the event since Madonna writhed around the Radio City stage wearing a trashed wedding dress during the network’s inaugural broadcast in 1984.

Lady Gaga got the show off to a rousing start with a performance of her current single, “Applause,” demonstrating her quick-change skills in a succession of outré ensembles. The singer, who had been sidelined for much of the year with a hip injury, took to the stage in what looked like a surreal nun’s habit and exited in a thong and a pair of strategically placed clamshells.

And yet Gaga’s set wasn’t the oddest of the night. That honor belonged to former “Hannah Montana” star and twerking enthusiast Miley Cyrus, who shimmied provocatively with R&B crooner Robin Thicke and a legion of dancers dressed as teddy bears.

It was a memorable evening for another former Disney kid, Timberlake, who delivered a rousing marathon medley of hits and, as rumored beforehand, briefly reunited with his ‘N Sync bandmates before accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.

The singer also took home the night’s biggest prize, video of the year, for “Mirrors.”

For more on this LA Times story, click here.

macklemore-cover-306x-1376429053SEATTLE — It’s always nice to see someone from your hometown make it — and few have made it in the same kind of big way as Macklemore. His latest claim to fame has the 30-year-old rapper talking about how he feared being a novelty after the success of “Thrift Shop” and his struggle to stay sober.

Ryan Lewis gets some time from the music mag as well (although his mug doesn’t grace the cover) and he talks about his role in the Macklemore musical matrix.

More on the upcoming Aug. 16 issue available here.

SEATTLE — Thousands of people packed Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood  Wednesday night to watch a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis video shoot on the roof of an iconic Seattle hamburger joint — Dick’s Drive-In.

The video shoot was supposed to be a secret, but it wasn’t much of one when Metro tweeted about buses being re-routed to avoid that area after high pedestrian traffic clogged the area.

VideoshootThe hip-hop duo were shooting a video for “White Walls,” an ode to Macklemore’s Cadillac, said singer Mary Lambert.

Brief video of their arrival was available Wednesday night. Even though delay’s were prevalent, many fans got to witness the show around 11 p.m. Even Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn got in on the excitement, tweeting: