Success sans Major Record Label

Seattle’s Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are atop the Billboard charts for the second straight week with their hilarious and infectious hit “Thrift Shop.”It’s an impressive feat for anyone, but it’s extraordinary considering the duo have done it all themselves without a record label or major money behind them.

From college radio stations to Top 40, “Thrift Shop” is everywhere. Long time Seattle radio veteran, DJ and program director for Movin’ 92.5, Maynard, says he’s never seen anything like it.”It’s not like he’s got these TV commercials with the song running in the background. There’s not even the old fashioned way, he’s done it in a way that’s never been done.”

The song is beating out big label stars like Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift for the second straight week. Maynard says that’s even more impressive considering hip hop and rap are at their lowest point of mainstream popularity in more than a decade.”To have somebody come out and just shatter all the other music styles and sales and in demand both on the radio and online is amazing,” says Maynard.Veteran Seattle music journalist Charles Cross says Macklemore’s surprising rise to the top is a testament to extreme smarts, hard work and great music. He says Macklemore has masterfully built an audience through social media and YouTube over the years, with the video for “Thrift Shop” driving the popularity of the song on radio and online.


Seattle has hardly been a hot bed for hip hop, at least in the eyes of the rest of the country. Cross says that’s actually an advantage, because Macklemore and Lewis have been able to develop a unique sound.”In some ways that was also the reason that grunge took off because it sounded very different than anything else that was on the radio and bands here had the chance to develop organically and to some degree that same thing is being repeated with Macklemore’s success.”

The Stranger’s Charles Mudede agrees. He says “Thrift Shop” stands alone in what he calls a “homogenous realm of contemporary pop music.””That isolation sort of benefited in the sense that now they’re just making stuff that’s completely different from what’s happening in the mainstream. If you look at the top 10 of the hip hop charts Macklemore just looks like a freak.”

But Maynard says it’s about more than just the music. He says many people have told him it’s also Macklemore’s message, from his moving tribute to former Mariner’s announcer Dave Niehaus to his anthem for same-sex marriage “Same Love.”“You know, he’s got a different message and in a lot of aspects he’s got a real positive message. When you look at the expectations of hip hop and R&B and rap, that he’s really defied those in a way,” says Maynard.

Race has clearly paid a part as well. Cross says the white rapper’s appeal to white audiences is a key to his new-found commercial success.”You can only be so big if you aren’t playing to the suburbs and Macklemore’s music appeals to suburban white kids who want to be slightly edgy but it’s not gangster rap, that’s for sure.”

Whatever it is, it’s a crafty concoction that’s put a couple of kids who were struggling to get a gig in Seattle a few years ago on top of the music world. Who would of thought it would be thanks thanks to a little ditty about shopping at the local Goodwill.via Seattle Sounds


*life of lily*

There is just something about Life of Lily that warms my heart. Maybe it’s here new single’s insanely up beat lyrics or the self-empowering feel of the vocal. Either way, the anthemic “Life Goes On” is a sweet slice of Celtic pop punk rock that is as infectious as any top 40’s pop song on the Charts today. It should be playing on the radio because it would result in less road rage.

The new video, which accents the bluegrass / country appeal of the song, is split in time. Like a split decision, one line of reality turns sour and leaves you on the side of the road while the other thread leaves you basking in the sun with the one you love. Lily doesn’t take sides but proposes a solution by way of attitude adjustment. Isn’t it so much easier and quicker to listen to a song then have to read another self-help book?

After working through some Visa issues, Lily graduated Law School with Honors and moved to New York where she currently resides. How she manages to stay so positive in the city of snark and sarcasm is beyond me but being genuine, I imagine, is the key to her success.


Life of Lily drops November 5th. Stay up with her New York shows via Facebook