Year Candy: 2011 was the year of Macklemore

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Year Candy is a look back at some of the notable people and events that made an impact on the local music scene during 2011. Today we’re taking a look at Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ remarkable year.


Macklemore fans waiting outside of the Showbox. Photo by David Lichterman

Lots of local musicians had impressive years in 2011 but it’s hard to argue that no Seattle artist had a bigger year than Ben Haggerty, aka Macklemore, and his musical partner in crime Ryan Lewis. From a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $15,000 for the “Wings” video to touring the UK and selling out shows in Ireland, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis made their marks on local music in 2011.

Here’s an incomplete, and possibly chronologically incorrect, timeline of some select moments from their big year:

  • The first bit of activity from the Macklemore camp in 2011 came when the videos for “Irish Celebration,” Mack’s current set-closing song, and the Dave Niehaus tribute song “My Oh My,” were released in January.

  • Capitalizing on the buzz surrounding on his sold out shows as well as his increasing stardom, a Kickstarter campaign is launched to help finance the filming of a video for “Wings.” The goal was to raise $10,000 for Zia Mohajerjasbi to create the clip. Like everything else Team Macklemore does this year it is massively successful. The campaign raised more than $18,000. To date it’s been viewed more than 1.6 million times.

  • In February a video is released promoting the now infamous “My City’s Filthy” shirt. That’s right, a video was made to announce a piece of merch.
  • The first, and perhaps only, blemish on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ year pops up in March when the Seattle Weekly publishes a piece questioning the sincerity of artists like Mackelmore and Sub Poppers The Head & the Heart.

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS (My Oh My Opening Day) from GMP on Vimeo.

  • In April Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform “My Oh My” at Safeco Field for the home opener of the Seattle Mariners season.


Macklemore at Sasquatch! 2011. Photo by Dave Lichterman

  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis play one of their biggest local shows yet and it comes on a national stage during the final day of the tenth annual Sasquatch! Music Festival.

  • The crowning achievement of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ year comes when the pair rock a sold out KeyArena during Bumbershoot 2011. The Key was packed up to the rafters and local hero Shawn Kemp popped up on stage. It was near impossible for anyone who has followed Macklemore’s rise to not swell up with pride watching him deliver a homerun of a set to the hometown masses.
Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 14 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, and others and was the founder and editor of defunct music site Ear Candy.