LOS ANGELES—Don’t look for a new Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album anytime soon.
The pair, whose breakthrough album, “The Heist,” has spawned three radio hits and is still in the top 20 on the Billboard 200, plans to take some time to “live life” and refuel their creative tanks after they finish their current tour at the end of the year.
Speaking at the Grammy Museum here Wednesday night, Lewis admitted that the pressure to top themselves following the platinum success of “The Heist” was there, but that the duo knew it would be wrong to try to rush out a follow-up quickly —although he added the next album might not take the three years it took to make “The Heist.”
“By Christmas, we would have played 250 shows since ‘The Heist’ came out,” Lewis said. “To go straight into the studio [without a break] and think you have something to share would be wrong...If you don’t have shit to say, you don’t have shit to say.”
Macklemore (aka Ben Haggerty) said he’s tried to write on the road, but with little success since he writes what he knows. “We’ve been traveling every day,” he says, adding that his lyrics on tour usually amount to “‘I’m on an airplane.’ No one wants to hear that song ever,” he said with a laugh.
And about those radio hits, “Thrift Shop,” “Can’t Hold Us,” and “Same Love”? Macklemore says he never expected the success the pair has received at Top 40 radio. “I didn’t think we had one single on ‘The Heist’,” he said. “I didn’t think it would get radio play.”
Then when the Seattle act scored big with “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz, and the song stayed atop the Billboard Hot 100 for six non-consecutive weeks, Macklemore worried that the pair would be seen as a novelty act. “I was the ‘Thrift Shop’ guy and it was scary as hell,” he says. “Then, ‘Can’t Hold Us’ relieved some of that, and with ‘Some Love,’ the fear was completely eased.”
A number of the songs on “The Heist” take on issues, whether it be “Same Love’s” warm embrace of same sex marriage or “Wings,” which stresses anti-consumerism. Macklemore said he knows it’s a fine line between making a point and preaching, and he’s careful not to cross it. “I write from experience. I try to do it from my perspective from my own life,” he said. “‘Wings’ is about anti-consumerism. I acknowledge I’m caught up in it. All of these are my issues; my means of communication is to be vulnerable.”
And he admits he felt very vulnerable as he wrote the lyrics to “Same Love.” The line, “in third grade, I thought that I was gay” was the “scariest bars I ever put on a song, but that’s my truth. People on the internet are going to say ‘you’re a homo.’ I don’t care.” He reiterated the comment he made during his acceptance speech for Video with the Best Social Message at Sunday’s Video Music Awards that “Same Love” remains the duo’s song he is the proudest to have written.
Macklemore referred to the VMAs as a “nervewracking” experience, not because it was the pair’s first performance at a major awards show, but because he didn’t know how to win and award and give an acceptance speech. “You don’t want to mess that up,” he said, before he and Lewis gave a shout out to their publicist in the audience whom they did forget to thank from the Barclays Center stage on Sunday.
With their rising popularity, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are having the most success of any Seattle rap act since Sir Mix-A-Lot hit it big with 1992’s “Baby Got Back.” And while they hope other local hip-hop artists follow their lead, Macklemore is in no way ready to hand over the mic.
“As much as you want to pass the torch, as an MC, by nature I’m a competitive person,” he said. “It’s ego. I want to be the biggest rapper that ever came out of Seattle.”
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LOS ANGELES—Don’t look for a new Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album anytime soon.
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As you read this, I am in the final days of a week-long globe-trotting vacation with my family. Toshi and Allen and I will be hang-gliding off George Washington's nose all day.
While we enjoy that, I'd like to share the fourth of five special vacation articles, where I've reached out to a wide array of people I know to answer a different question every day. I sent out the fire questions as part of one big e-mail last week, and I asked people to send me as many of the five responses as they felt like. Some people did one, some people did a few, and several people answered all five.
I would love to hear your responses to these questions as well. When I get back to Los Angeles next weekend, I'm excited to dig in and read all the answers you guys leave, and I hope you end up enjoying this week's articles in the meantime.
TELLURIDE, Colo. - Nearly half a century ago, Marilyn Monroe confided in a young Bruce Dern an opinion of the actor passed to her by Actors Studio founder Elia Kazan, or "Gadge" as they all knew him. "He's not going to be a leading man," the famed director said, "because he'll be into his 60s before anyone knows what he's capable of."
The reasoning went that Dern was destined to be a character actor. He didn't subscribe to his buddy Jack Nicholson's ribbing "it's just acting, asshole" sentiment, but rather he preferred to inhabit a character, to be a character. He bought into Lee Strasberg's method acting approach, and indeed, went on to have a lengthy career as a dependable fixture in any number of films. But he's always been "third cowboy from the right," as Dern has put it, and with Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," which is set for a North American premiere later today at the Telluride Film Festival, he finally had an opportunity to embrace a leading man character for all it was worth.
VENICE -Some films are born midnight movies, some achieve midnight-movie status, and others have midnight-movie status thrust upon them. It’s the third route that is by far the least reliable or enduring: there’s nothing so antithetical to notion of cult cinema as the idea that it can be calculated and declared (or worse still, self-declared) out loud. From its ungainly, eccentric title downwards, Sion Sono’s manic postmodern bloodbath “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” falls squarely in that category, weird and woolly and sporadically amusing as it may be.
VENICE - Packing films, as one would sardines, into the snug, air-locked space of even the biggest festival always uncovers unforeseen parallels and commonalities, making happy bedfellows of works that otherwise wouldn’t have much to say to each other. With John Curran’s wonderful Australian adventure “Tracks” having just christened the Competition 24 hours after Alfonso Cuaron’s mindboggling space thriller “Gravity” opened the fest, it seems we have this year’s first pair of Lido buddies: two days in, Venice 2013 is the festival of women fighting the elements.
That’s a glib reading, of course, and one that does a disservice to both films’ subtleties, some of them also shared. With the Outback desert a pretty indomitable (not to mention indomitably pretty) presence from the outset, “Tracks” seems a woman-versus-land story only until it emerges that the land is a reflection of the woman herself.
Paul McCartney dropped a new tune, “New,” today that, to the joy of Beatles’ fans, sounds delightfully old.
Produced by Mark Ronson, “New” is a sweet pop slice that slides in at under 3 minutes. “All my life, I never knew what I could be, what I could do, then we were new,” McCartney sings on the jangly, jaunty, horn-laden tune that sounds like it could be a “Revolver” outtake. There’s a glorious Beach Boy-like vocalization that fades out at the end that adds to the track's innocent charm.
McCartney’s 16th solo album, also titled “New,” will come out Oct. 15 in the U.S. and will be his first album of all new material in six years. His last set, 2012’s “Kisses On The Bottom,” was composed of standards, with a few new tracks.
In addition to Ronson, McCartney worked with Adele producer Paul Epworth, Ethan Johns, and George Martin’s son, Giles, according to Rolling Stone. The album will be 12 songs.
A quick review of tonight's "The Bridge" coming up just as soon as I cheer for pants...
It's weeks like this one when I wish I had Time Warner cable. Without a way to watch CBS, I would be spared the sheer frustration of "Big Brother" when monsters embed themselves in the house like nasty, vindictive termites. I guess I could be sanguine about episodes like this one, and remind myself that sometimes bad behavior gets rewarded and even crappy people can have good luck. But that doesn't make me want to toss my remote control into traffic any less.
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Here's your 1st look at Ziva's "NCIS" goodbye
Is it a happy ending?