by Merrick Parnell
Ben Haggerty, aka, Macklemore, a hip hop artist out of Seattle, has recently emerged to national notoriety. His impact songs have found a place with those across the U.S. and especially locally. He raps about living in Seattle, addictions and the late Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus. On March 4, Macklemore will bring his unique rhymes and catchy beats to Whatcom to play a show at the Syre Center Auditorium. The Horizon caught up with the artist to ask him some questions.
How did you get your start in hip hop and how old were you?
I first started listing to hip hop when I was seven. From there on out, it was always my favorite music. I always wanted to perform. I started out by putting on little performances for family and then talent shows, and the rest was kind of history.
Who are you trying to reach with your music, and what is the message that you want it to send?
I am just trying to be honest. I want to use honesty to convey the truth, and whomever that resonates with, is beautiful.
What gave you the inspiration for the song “Otherside?”
A lot of it comes from own experience battling with the struggles of drugs and alcohol. I always struggled with dependence and lack of moderation. The first verse is what I have seen and it’s talking about friends that had issues. A lot of the second verse is talking about myself. It’s a mixture of experiences and frustration as well as narration.
How would you describe your music?
It’s music that conveys what I perceive to be the truth. That humility and genuine sense of real life experience.
Where do you get your ideas for your songs?
Anything I come in contact with: could be a drive to the studio, watching a movie, or reading a book. It’s a connection with something greater than myself speaking through myself.
What do you do to produce a track and make it album ready?
I write a lot of material and pick out the good parts with my producer. Or a lot of time its getting right in the booth and tracking. After the vocals are tracked we spend a lot of time post-track making sure the song escalates and de-escalates.
What are your thoughts about playing in Bellingham?
Bellingham has a unique energy. They’re familiar with the music and more amped, They’re not afraid to let out and to be themselves and completely wild out to the music, and I think that’s really cool. Bellingham and Seattle are among my favorite places to play.
Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
Names that come to mind, Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West. Those two have had the biggest impact on my career.
What are your goals for your music?
I want to further my understanding for this world. A lot of my music is contingent on me developing myself. And to continue to appreciate the moment and appreciate every experience.
What’s the story behind the Song “My, oh My” honoring the late Mariner announcer Dave Niehaus,
Like a lot of people in the Northwest when I heard Dave passed I was shocked and sad. I looked back on my life and thought about how much an impact Niehaus had on me growing up in the Pacific Northwest. Being a kid watching baseball with my dad, it started out as a therapeutic thing. I pitched the idea to Ryan[Lewis, Macklemore’s producer] and he was into it and he had a piano part that fit well.
What kind of reception have you had from the Mariners and Major League Baseball?
We have been in talks with the Mariners. They really like the song, the Mariners have been really supportive, The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown has contacted me and wanting to use it at the Hall of Fame and the Niehaus family gave their blessing.
If you weren’t a hip hop artist what would you be doing?
I see myself as a creative person, and I would be involved in the music, in marketing or the graphic arts or maybe the publicity side of it, having been a musician for the last 14 years. I have a grasp and understanding and it will always be a passion for me.
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