Macklemore performing in Toronto during The Heist Tour in November 2012
|Birth name||Ben Haggerty|
|Also known as||Professor Macklemore|
June 19, 1983 |
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Occupations||Rapper, singer, MC, songwriter|
|Associated acts||Ryan Lewis, Scientific Shaman, Blue Scholars, Debaser, Wanz, Eighty4 Fly|
Ben Haggerty (born June 19, 1983), known by his stage name Macklemore and formerly Professor Macklemore, is an American rapper and musician. He began independently releasing music in 2000 and now collaborates with producer Ryan Lewis, violinist Andrew Joslyn, and trumpeter Owuor Arunga. He has gained a significant online fanbase. He has released one mixtape, three EPs and two albums, although none on a major record label. His music video "Thrift Shop" has been viewed on YouTube over 300 million times, and reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, selling more than 2.2 million copies. His second single, "Can't Hold Us" also peaked at #1 of the Hot 100 Chart, making Macklemore & Ryan Lewis the first duo in the chart's history to have their first two singles both become a #1 single.
Early life and influences
Haggerty was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. He attended Garfield High School and Nathan Hale High School, going on to earn a bachelor's degree at The Evergreen State College. Interested in reaching a younger generation through his music, he was a part of a program focusing on education and cultural identity called "Gateways for Incarcerated Youth" where he facilitated music workshops.
Though he was not born to a musical family, both of his parents were supportive of his musical ventures. Haggerty was six years old when hip hop first came in to his life by way of Digital Underground. As he grew older, he and his friends spent their summers setting up tents to listen to the radio, making dubs and mixtapes of songs that would play because he and his friends were unable to buy any due to being underage and having no parental consent.
Macklemore was fourteen when he started writing lyrics. At this age, his friends referred to him as Möcklimore. When he started to rap, Macklemore listened to "a lot of West Coast underground hip hop", with Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone, Living Legends, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Talib Kweli being big influences on him.
2000–2005: Career beginnings
Macklemore recorded an EP titled Open Your Eyes in 2000 under the name Professor Macklemore, which he distributed himself. Macklemore dropped "Professor" from his name, and released his first official full-length album, The Language of My World in January 2005. In September 2009, he released The Unplanned Mixtape. In October 2010, he teamed up with producer Ryan Lewis to create the VS. Redux EP. Macklemore used his experience with substance abuse to create the mixtape's critically acclaimed song "Otherside", which samples the Red Hot Chili Peppers song of the same title.
2005–2011: Comeback and The VS. series
Macklemore struggled with substance abuse problems in the past, including OxyContin. He considers this the reason for his lack of production between 2005 and 2009. But, after cleaning himself up in 2008, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis became a collaborative and creative unit. He appeared as a featured artist on The Physics' song "Good" in 2009. He celebrated two years of sobriety in early August 2010, as stated during his performance at Capitol Hill Block Party 2010. Macklemore first met Ryan Lewis in 2006. Lewis spent a few years working on Macklemore's promotion as a photographer. They would soon become good friends. Lewis would go on to produce for Macklemore, the two eventually working full-time as a title-credited duo.
In March 2010, the duo released "Stay At Home Dad," a track that didn't quite make Vs. In late April 2010, he performed an impromptu set at a house party at Colorado College. The set consisted of his track "And We Danced", two consecutive times in front of over two hundred fans. In December 2010, he released a tribute song named "My Oh My" for recently-deceased Seattle Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus, which has received extensive coverage in Seattle media sources.
On April 8, 2011, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed the song at the 2011 Mariner's Opening Day in front of 48,000 attendees. Macklemore relapsed in December 2011 after returning home from a tour. "Starting Over", a song featured on The Heist, talks about his relapse. He attributes his relapse to not attending AA meetings because of the tour. He came down with a cold and was prescribed codeine cough syrup eventually leading to the abuse of the drug.
The VS. EP with Ryan Lewis and The Unplanned Mixtape were released in 2009, followed by The VS. Redux the next year. The latter would reach No. 7 on the iTunes Hip Hop chart. Macklemore's debut single "The Town" was released from The Unplanned Mixtape and later remixed by Sabzi of the Blue Scholars. He also released "Irish Celebration" in December 2009 in anticipation of the release of The Vs. EP. Macklemore's second single "My Oh My" was released on December 21, 2010. "Wings" was released on January 21, 2011 along with "Can't Hold Us" featuring Ray Dalton on August 16, 2011.
2011–present: The Heist
In July 2012, Haggerty and Lewis announced that their debut full-length album, The Heist, would be released on October 9, 2012 as well as a subsequent world tour to promote the release. Previously released singles "My Oh My", "Wings" and "Can't Hold Us" were announced to be included on the album – as was the song "Make the Money". "Can't Hold Us" was used as soundtrack for Miller beer ad in UK and Ireland in June 2012, increasing Macklemore recognition in Europe. "Same Love" was released on July 18, 2012, and songs "White Walls" featuring ScHoolboy Q and "Jimmy Iovine" featuring Ab-Soul were confirmed to be included on the album.
The Heist reached the number 1 position on the US iTunes Albums chart within hours of release. The Heist debuted on the US Billboard 200 at number 2 of the week dated October 27, 2012, selling over 78,000 copies. On October 30, 2012, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" performing their single "Same Love" and then again on January 18, 2013, performing their single "Thrift Shop". On December 11, 2012, he performed Thrift Shop on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He is a part of BET's Music Matters campaign. In January 2013, Music Choice featured Macklemore in the brand new series "Primed", which focuses on emerging artists. Their song "Thrift Shop" topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, giving them their first number 1 hit in the US.
Macklemore was the Unsigned Hype in The Source in early 2012 and was also on the cover of XXL Magazine as part of the Freshman Class of 2012. Rolling Stone called Macklemore x Ryan Lewis an "indie rags-to-riches story". "Thrift Shop" was voted #1 in Australian radio station Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2012. Their song "Same Love" also featured highly, coming in at #15 in the countdown. The Hottest 100 is the world's largest music poll held every year on Australia Day, and currently attracts over 1 million votes from within Australia and around the world. There was a three page article on Macklemore's career in the February 8, 2013 issue of ESPN the Magazine.
Tours and performances
In 2008, 2009, and 2011, Macklemore performed at Bumbershoot, a major arts and music festival in Seattle. In 2011, he also performed at the Sasquatch Music Festival in The Gorge Amphitheater (central Washington state) and at the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco, CA.
Macklemore hosts an annual fan appreciation pizza party, an idea first proposed in 2010. Fans get the chance to prove their love of music and get a ticket to go to the party by showing off their creativity in a contest. Fans have had to sing, paint, draw, and play to get a chance to meet and watch a performance by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
In February 2011, Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis kicked off a multi-city tour in Pullman, Washington, which included three sold-out shows at Showbox at the Market, a Seattle music venue. That same year, the rapper appeared at many U.S. music festivals, including Bumbershoot, Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, Rock the Bells, SoundSet and Sasquatch.
Starting on September 17, 2011, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis started the Fall Tour across the UK, Ireland and throughout North America. They kicked off their tour in America on October 4. This tour included guests Champagne Champagne and Xperience. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis sold out 18 of their 27 venues in the U.S. including the Bowery Ballroom and Troubadour. Their tour ended on December 17 with their final show at The Depot in Salt Lake City.
In May 2012, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed at the annual Sun God Festival at the University of California, San Diego. As they were among the more well-known performers in the lineup, the attendance and general crowd energy during their set was higher than that of many other acts such as the Silversun Pickups, Dia Frampton, and Chiddy Bang. Other performers included Murs, Ra Ra Riot, Paul Van Dyk, and Tokimonsta.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are scheduled to be among the headliners at several music festivals this summer, including the Paid Dues festival at San Bernardino, California in March 2013, Sasquatch! Music Festival at George, Washington in May 2013, and the Squamish Valley Music Festival at Squamish, BC in August 2013.
Macklemore has two siblings; his brother, Tim Haggerty, is a high school English teacher. Macklemore became engaged to his girlfriend of seven years, Tricia Davis, on January 21, 2013. Macklemore's support of gay rights, including same-sex marriage, is expressed in his single "Same Love". The song also condemns homophobia in mainstream hip hop, society and mass media. He does not follow organized religion, referring in vipassanā to an "atheist Jesus piece," symbolic of his spiritual and philosophical views. Several of his singles elaborate on symbolism and a philosophy of the term "God" defining not a being, but in what and how an individual is able to realize a faith and happiness. Macklemore has said to have realized this in hip hop music. In "Church", Macklemore contrasts established religion's collectivism to the subjectivity of realities he would face growing up, including almost losing his life to drug-use. The ink used for his writing is described as God in place of Jesus Christ; hearing his music play out of speakers, "communion"; the South Bronx as "hip hop's Egypt"; and his savior being hip hop music by way of referenced originator Kool Herc.
In 2008, Macklemore went to rehab for drug-addiction, alcoholism and related obsessive behavior. He explained in a documentary that he spent most of his twenties "trying to fight [his] way out of that (way of life)", saying "I want to be someone who is respected and not just in terms of my music. I want to be respected in terms of the way that I treat people. The way, the subjects in which I choose to .. address through my music. And not because I'm, like, trying to make records about them. It's just that's what's important to me. Music is my creative outlet in terms of expressing what is important to me; what has importance, what has a value. And I wanna be respected for that." Macklemore is a fan of baseball, particularly the Seattle Mariners. Upon releasing the music video for "My Oh My"—a song dedicated to the late sportscaster Dave Niehaus—Macklemore, still on tour, was asked to perform for the 50,000 fans who attended Opening Day 2011, the first Seattle Mariners game since Niehaus' passing. Afterward, he and Ryan Lewis were each awarded a custom-named jersey embedded with a patch, the only other people to have the patch being those who played in the game. He has acknowledged baseball and hip hop music as not being "intrinsically linked", "a bunch of people that are Mariners fans probably don't consider hip hop, like, real music still". All proceeds to the song benefited the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club.
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