Feb 1, 2014

Label-less Grammy

"Thrift Shop" screenshot of Mackelmore

“Thrift Shop” screenshot of Macklemore

A couple of dudes collaborate to independently release some music and their song ends up owning the industry.

When Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released their single Thrift Shop, it’s doubtful they expected it would become number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. The last time a song reached number one without the support of a label was in 1994: Lisa Loeb’s Stay (I Missed You).

When their second song, Can’t Hold Us, made number one, they became the first duo with two singles to top the chart.

“Labels can’t give me nothing, but give it to the people.”

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ story is for those who have been chasing dreams since they were 14. Their first music was independently published: a mixtape, three extended plays, and two albums.

Social media and video-sharing websites spread the R&B/Hip Hop artists to stardom. In 2013, they received the YouTube Breakthrough award at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards. They were nominated for seven 2014 Grammy Awards and took home four: Best New Artist, Best Rap Album (The Heist), Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Performance (Thrift Shop).

But aside from heisting the Grammys, it was their performance at that event that became as much of the talk of the town than knocking over established artists for three of the category wins.

Mary Lambert, Madonna, Queen Latifah, and Trombone Shorty joined pipes to make a night memorable for 33 couples, including some who were same-sex and mixed races. They were actually wed on air, and during the song, the couples exchanged rings. The climax of the performance was the emergence of Madonna to round out the act with her hit song: Open Your Heart.

An interview the following day on CNN confirmed the weddings were for real. Yawar Charlie and Jason Miller moved up their wedding date in order to participate. They were under strict confidentiality agreements, which added an interesting element to their nuptials.

This celebration of equality and tolerance is one example of how great an impact the musician’s stage can be. The fact this duo garnered their success independently offers incentive for others to see that one can make their own break and create a huge splash in the process.

View the 2014 Grammy performance here:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert & Madonna performing at The Grammy’s 2014 ‘Same Love’


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Social Media, transmedia, media liaison. Experience in working with high profile celebrities, communications (writing and editing for print, web, and radio), project management, marketing and communications strategy, public relations, content creation, publishing, both sides of media relations. Communities (active and engaged in with good followings): Stage 32, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Media (in front and behind the microphone): Hangouts on Air, traditional and online radio, physical and online newspapers/magazines, television, webcasts, webinars, public address, speaking and facilitation I have over 20 years of direct media experience, including working in television and Internet media, print, and radio. I have been a professional sports writer and covered the National Hockey League for over 20 years for several publications and sports services, including NBCSports.com. I was the first woman to ever headman a football conference in Canada (Prairie Football Conference), was PR Director for the Edmonton Trappers Baseball Club, and was a volunteer media liaison with the Hockey Committee during the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. Over the years, I have worked with and interviewed numerous media and celebrities, such as Stan Fischler (The Hockey Maven), Wayne Gretzky, Jarome Iginla, Mario Lemieux, Marcus Camby, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Kelly Hrudey, The Doobie Brothers, Dante Bichette, to name a few. I have appeared in many local, national, and international media programs, such as The Vicki Gabereau Show, NHL Network, MSG Network, and Sports Channel America, to name a few. I co-host the Virtual Newsmakers with Cynthia K. Seymour. It is a weekly webcast featuring interesting people who are using innovative ways to bridge traditional and digital communications. Some of our guest include thought leaders in digital media communications, such as Erik Qualman, Chris Brogan, Martin Shervington, Dave Carroll (United Breaks Guitars), Tony Dyson (creator of R2D2), and three-time Olympian Steve Mesler.

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