LOS ANGELES — With three Moonmen under their belts and a record-breaking run at the top of the Billboard charts, it’s easy to forget Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have only been on the national radar for a little over a year. In fact, when the Seattle-bred rap duo were announced as nominees for the Best New Artist Grammy on Friday night in Los Angeles, it seemed most in attendance forgot they even qualified as new artists.
And that highly coveted award is just one of seven gramophones Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will be vying for at the 56th annual Grammy awards, including nominations in three of the four major categories. (In addition to Best New Artist, they’re also up for Song of the Year for “Same Love” and Album of the Year for The Heist). That number puts them only behind hip-hop legend Jay Z (with nine nominations) and tying Grammy veteran Justin Timberlake.
When MTV News caught up with the duo after Friday night’s “Grammy Nominations Concert Live!!” — moments before celebrating with “Martinelli’s and string cheese” — they said they were “overwhelmed” by the love.
“Up until a year, a year and a half ago, we were an underground rapper that only a small percentage of the population had heard,” Macklemore told MTV News. “And to be here, and to reach this scale, I would have never thought that our music would affect this many people and be heard by this many people. It’s the highest honor; it’s the peak of what you strive for in terms of being recognized for the music that you make.”
“Same Love,” a call for equal rights and an anthem for acceptance, is up against Lorde’s “Royals,” Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” and Pink and Nate Ruess’ “Just Give Me a Reason” for one of the most anticipated awards of the year. And according to their “Same Love” collaborator Mary Lambert, that isn’t a reflection of their success as much as it is of society’s.
“I think as an artist that’s sort of the holy grail — you can’t ask for more than that — to have a song that is artistically really beautiful that catches on and also impacts people,” she told MTV News of the track’s success. “It got to a point last year where I was like maybe this isn’t about my career, it’s not about any of our careers, it’s about a reflection of society and where we are culturally.”
But when January 26 rolls around, it will be the three of them who may find themselves onstage — and that’s something she still couldn’t quite believe.
“I just peed my pants. A couple times,” she said. “This is crazy.”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are also up for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song For “Thrift Shop,” Best Rap Album for Heist and Best Music Video for “Can’t Hold Us.”