The Grammys are right around the corner, and duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are expected to perform during the show, which is on Jan. 26. However, this dynamic duo made their very own unlikely performance, when the two boarded a New York City commuter bus, and gave the passengers a surprise live performance.
This stunt was done in part as a promotional measure for the two’s performance on the 26th, and as a campaign with a goal to capture the natural reactions of people to music. When discussing this goal, Evan Greene, the chief marketing officer of The Recording Academy notes, “In previous years, our campaigns have focused either on the fans or the artists. This year’s campaign highlights the common bond between fans and artists — our visceral connection with music.” The fact that the video of this performance has gone viral suggests that it was staged. Regardless, the two gave those in attendance a bus ride that they will never forget. In the video, both Macklemore and Lewis are shown slipping onto a public bus wearing hoodies, and toting a boom box. After boarding, the two turned on the boom box, and surprised those on the New York City bus with a live performance of the song, “Can’t Hold Us.”
During the performance, Macklemore uses the aisle of the bus as his own personal runway, and is seen throwing paper towels around the bus. As the performance progresses, the video speaks for itself that the goal of capturing people’s natural reactions to music was achieved. This is demonstrated in the video as all of the passengers, including the bus driver, smile and begin to clap and sing along once they realize what is going on. Then, as if drawn in by the high energy of Macklemore’s persona, the passengers are shown leaving their seats, and dancing with both Macklemore and Lewis. Once the performance was over, the two were welcomed by a tremendous applause, and then they made their exit just as nonchalantly as they had entered.
Along with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s live performance, there is speculation that this campaign will also include similar performances from Eminem, Katy Perry, and Pink. Both Macklemore and Lewis are nominated for seven different awards this year, including Best New Artist. When discussing this issue Macklemore remarked, “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. 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.”
So, while the passengers of a New York City commuter bus got the surprise of their lives with Macklemore’s performance, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis patiently await theirs with the prospect of one or more Grammys in their future. Regardless of whether or not the two win, they have definitely had quite the impact this year, and have left a lasting impression.
By Aaron Weis