Biographic by Steve McGarry for June 02, 2013
Biographic Steve McGarry Macklemore & Ryan Lewis There's nothing noteworthy about musicians releasing their music on their own labels - countless legions of artists do it every day. But when an unsigned act tops the pop charts worldwide with a single that goes multiplatium, propelled by a video that attracts more than 250 million plays on Youtube - as Seattle's Macklemore and Ryan Lewis did with the phenomenally popular hit "Thrift Shop" - then thats a story worth telling! Ben Haggerty was born in Seattle, Washington, on June 19, 1983. By his early teens, hip-hop fanatic Ben was writing his own lyrics. He released his first E.P. at the age of 17 under the name Professor Macklemore, a "handle" that was subsequently shortened to just Macklemore. His career progress was slowed by substance abuse problems, but by 2009, he had teamed up with the multitalented Ryan Lewis, a musician, DJ and producer who also works as a photographer and graphic artis. Live shows and a string of well-received releases saw the duo's popularity begin to soar. Their full-length debut album - "The Heist" - topped the U.S. iTunes chart within hours of release in October 2012, and debuted at No.2 on the billboard charts. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were poised for a mainstream breakthrough - and the album's fifth single, "Thrift Shop," provided that success on a huge scale. Only the second independent song in history to top the billboard charts, it also topped the charts in the U.K., Ireland, Canada, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia!