Macklemore was arguably the star of Sunday's Grammy Awards, just a few years after being a virtual unknown. Taking home 4 awards including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album for "The Heist", Macklemore received recognition from the industry that seems impossible given his 'underground hip-hop' background.
Macklemore and his Producer Ryan Lewis met in 2006 and became close friends, eventually forming a musical partnership that led to "The Heist," one of the most popular hip-hop/rap albums of the year.
Now you may be asking why an advertising/branding agency is writing a blog about Macklemore? That's easy. Macklemore may be the world's most impressive brand, because it's only him behind the curtain.
After taking meetings with some of the top labels in music , Macklemore and Ryan Lewis made the conscious decision to remain independent. This would allow them to control their product, and become artists on their own terms.
In an industry where 'who you know' is of utmost importance, Macklemore and Lewis made the bold choice to go it on their own.
80 hour weeks, self-produced/shot/directed music videos, and manning their own merchandise booth.
"I forget that what makes a good product is the energy that you put into it. And that is a sacrifice. If you're going to do a job and do it right.. you have to sacrifice pretty much everything else."*
"Maintaining your brand at a certain level independently, is for us a 70-80 hour job.. everyday. Monday-Sunday. Every week."
"Do you ever think... if I was on a label I wouldn't have to do any of this?"
"(laughs) Absolutely. But you know what man. Driving a U-Haul and doing my own wardrobe and sh*t. We could outsource all this. We could spend like 30-50 grand on a video. Hire a driver. I would just rather do it."
This way, instead of compromising their brand and in turn their art, they're able to control it.
"It was just hard work and people connecting with the music. And that's the dopest thing is that you can't take that from me. You can't take away the fact that there are X amount of people that believe in what I do passionately."
And after the Grammy's, the X amount of people passionate about Macklemore's music is about to get even bigger.
*All quotes we're taken from Jabari Presents: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, a documentary with Jabari Johnson