American record producer Ryan Lewis, best known as the production half of the hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, has been writing music professionally for almost 15 years. Here, MusicSnake Magazine put together a list of 10 rare facts you probably didn’t know about the musician.
Number One: Ryan Lewis is a Closet Film Director
As part of his thesis at the University of Washington, Ryan created a short film called Fake Empire. Touching on themes of consumerism and human nature, the film stars Macklemore walking around South Africa on a normal day, attached to his computer and iPhone. The film sample’s from The National song Fake Empire, where Lewis also got the name for the almost stop-motion-like short.
Number Two: Lewis Did Not Use Any Samples While Producing ‘The Heist’
While he used a lot of samples on the duo debut EP, Lewis used none on their debut full-length. Wanting to go in a different direction with the album, the producer got real musicians to play and sing on the tracks. In the end, it took him three years to produce it, but The Heist came out exactly how he pictured.
Number Three: Ryan Lewis Was a Member of Young Life
His father was a regional director for the non-profit Christian youth group Young Life for many years. As a result, he was also a member of the group as a child.
Number Four: He Met Macklemore Through His Photography
Besides producing, he is also a photographer. In fact, this is how Lewis met Macklemore. He started out as his photographer in ’06 and the two began to grow from there.
Number Five: He Used to Be in a Band with Ryan Sanson
Lewis and Sanson were best buddies growing up in Washington State. While in school, they used to play in rock bands together. Ryan started out playing electric guitar in their thrash metal band, later switching to the keyboard instead.
Number Six: Ryan Coded Websites as a Kid
When Lewis was about 12, he taught himself to code. His first site was a message board he designed for his middle school where all of his classmates would go to gossip.
Number Seven: Lewis Helped Macklemore Stay Sober
When they first met each other, Macklemore was starting to get caught up in drugs and alcohol. But, in ’08, after Macklemore became sober, Ryan Lewis became a positive force in his life. So positive, in fact, that they started working even closer and officially started calling themselves Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Number Eight: Lewis and Macklemore Made History
When they released Thrift Shop as a single, it went straight to number one on the Hot 100 Billboard chart. This made it only the second independently distributed single to hit the top of the Billboard Chart. The other happened in ’94 when Lisa Loeb released Stay (I Missed You).
Number Nine: The Musician Learned to Be a DJ On the Road
As a producer, he was not used to being out of the studio and on tour. Stepping out of his comfort zone, he ended up becoming the “hype-man” for the duo and learning to DJ and “be creative on the laptop” while on tour for nine months behind their wildly successful album, The Heist.
Number Ten: Ryan Lewis Has a Charity
The 30/30 Project was started as a collaboration between his family and Construction for Change. Started as his mother was nearing the 30th anniversary of her HIV diagnosis, the charity helps communities devastated by HIV and AIDS. His mother had been working with Construction for Change, which builds orphanages, medical centers and schools for various charities, for years, so the collaboration seemed like a good fit.