Macklemore: “I knew that I wanted to write a song about gay rights. About homophobia in hip-hop. About the Catholic church where I grew up. I grew up in the Catholic church. I have two uncles that are gay. I have a godfather that’s gay. I grew up on Capitol Hill in a gay neighborhood. And yet I also grew up in the hip-hop community. The hip-hop community and the Catholic church both being known as homophobic communities. And so I had an interesting upbringing in terms of my lens on the issue.
“I was raised to be tolerant and open-minded by my family. I wanted to address an issue particularly at the time when I wrote it, no one was bringing it. It was still completely acceptable. It still is acceptable to call people “faggot” and say “that’s gay” in the hip-hop community and just in pop culture in general. In the youth culture.
“My mom sent me this piece from CNN about a kid who killed himself that was 12 years old, 13 years old. He was getting bullied at school. You know, it's becoming an epidemic. I wanted to write about it. I started to write about the perspective from that kid. I played it for Ryan. I spit it for Ryan. His feedback was, ‘It’s good writing, but it's not your story.’
It’s been 100 percent positive from the gay community, which is the co-sign that I care the most about.
“I actually really like it, too. So it was kind of like, ‘Damn, I got to start all over.’ I thought I really painted a picture. He was right, it wasn’t my story. He said, ‘You have a story here, but you have to find it. You have to find your voice about this issue or I don’t think this song is going to work.’ And within the week, I started writing to the beat again and it just came. It was one of those moments where it was like, ‘Oh yeah, talk about what the fuck I’ve been through. Why am I overthinking this?’ Just speak from the heart. Talk about growing up. Talk about when you thought you were gay. Why you thought you were gay. Talk about the stereotypes. Talk about the church that you were raised in. Talk about the hip-hop community that you were raised in. And the song wrote itself.
“It’s been 100 percent positive from the gay community, which is the co-sign that I care the most about. It’s crazy. I don’t think I have a lot of gay fans prior to “Same Love.” Not to say that I do now either. But, you know, getting stop in the streets of Seattle and people thanking me for speaking on a issue that’s so personal to them, that’s one of the greatest achievements you can have as a songwriter. It’s writing music that becomes somebody else’s medicine. In some capacity. I think that “Same Love” has that effect on certain people.
“The other greatest thing about “Same Love” to me is that the youth generation that are saying ‘faggot’ or are saying ‘that’s gay.’ Or putting people down for that sexual preference, they are like, ‘Before “Same Love” that was me and this make me think twice about this issue or gay marriage.’ They are just opening up about being more tolerant people. The fact that a song can do that is the ultimate experience for a songwriter is to write one of those type of records. And that’s what “Same Love” is getting a lot of the feedback that it is.”