The Rise of a Social Influencer: Macklemore
Macklemore will forever be recognized as one of the most celebrated independent artists to date. The hip hop musician, born as Bill Haggerty, was raised in Seattle, Washington and found his first introduction into the art at six years old.
Early on, Macklemore was inspired by hip hop legends like Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Living Legends and Talib Kweli, just to name a few influences. But it wasn’t until Macklemore was 14 when he started writing down lyrics that would later become inspirational hits for a large, large audience.
Macklemore had a focus with his music that set him apart as an artist. Interested in a more positive cause, he got involved with Gateways for Incarcerated Youth which is a program that runs educational music workshops for the youth.
During his early career, Macklemore performed under the moniker “Professor Macklemore” and under this name he released his first EP Open your Eyes in 2000. He distributed this EP independently and it set Macklemore as one of the first independent artists to reach success without the backing of a major label. Five years later, he changed his name to Macklemore before his first full-length album, The Language of My World.
Macklemore reached a troublesome time that may have spurred an artistic drive, that in turn has led to a record breaking career in the music industry. In 2008, the artist admitted himself into rehab for drug related reasons. Rehab lasted 35 days but the effects seemed to steer Macklemore’s artistic lane. He’s always created music in the hopes of creative a movement and garnering recognition around a certain cause, and his accolades seem to only pad his resume at this point in his career. Getting his life on track, the artist graduated from Evergreen State College in 2009.
Post-rehab, The Unplanned Mixtape was released and soon after, The VS. EPlaunched in 2009. Macklemore’s hard, steady work paid off because he then linked up with producer Ryan Lewis in 2010. His new found producer also came with a record deal, in 2010 Macklemore also joined “The Agency Group”. In 2011, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis began touring across the country, including a performance on opening day for the Seattle Mariners in front of 48,000 people.
After teaming up with Ryan Lewis, Macklemore grew into a household name beginning with his hit single Thrift Shopthat eventually reached over 6 million sales. But Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s internet success kickstarted on YouTube. Thrift Shop has seen more than 10 million YouTube views and this single was only one of their several Billboard Hot 100 hits.