Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' secret to success

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by MEG COYLE/KING 5 NEWS

KING5.com

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 27 at 7:20 PM

It seems everyone wants more Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Their meteoric rise-- a miracle of musical proportions. From struggling artists to mega superstars and last night, Grammy gold -- four times over-- all with no major label to back them up.

"The self-released album, the videos are fantastic, it's grassroots. I think the Seattle vibe really really helps," said John Richards, a longtime DJ at KEXP.

The local radio station was the first to play Macklwmore and Ryan Lewis on the air.

"He was one of the many hip hop acts dropping off music to KEXP because no one else was playing local hip hop in Seattle," said Richards.

From the early days of "Thrift Shop" to their first live performance on the air for "Can't Hold Us," Richards remembers it well.

"They got on and said, 'Yeah it's this album called 'The Heist.' Singing it for the first time on the radio.' And they bust out one of the best live performances I have ever seen in here," recalled Fisher.

The secret to their success, says Richards, starts in Seattle: "Everything was the perfect storm, they had the right vision, the right attitude, and it grew. There was a  groundswell from their hometown. Seattle has just embraced these guys."

Because before you can pop some tags, you have to pop with the public. That's where the Vera Project comes in. "He (Macklemore) definitely played some of his early shows here," said Tristan Carosino, Vera Project's Talent Buyer. "You'd probably want to play your first show here to prove you're good."

Vera Project is part concert venue, part classroom-- teaching the art of becoming an artist. "Learning how to run live sound, how to work in a recording studio, working volunteer positions at a concert," said Carosino.

If Seattle set the scene-- Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have set the tone. Big record companies are thinking much smaller now, giving artists a bigger voice and hoping the hits keep on coming.
 

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