Gray performing in 2008
|Birth name||Natalie Renee McIntyre|
September 6, 1969 |
Canton, Ohio, US
|Genres||R&B, soul, neo soul, hip hop|
will.i.am / Geffen (2006–2008)
|Associated acts||Bobby Brown, Natalie Cole, Velvet Revolver, Pharoahe Monch, The Black Eyed Peas|
Macy Gray (born September 6, 1969) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress, famed for her distinctive raspy voice, and a singing style heavily influenced by Billie Holiday and Betty Davis.
Gray has released six studio albums, and received five Grammy Award nominations, winning one. She has appeared in a number of films, including Training Day, Spider-Man, Scary Movie 3, Lackawanna Blues, Idlewild and For Colored Girls. Gray is best known for her international hit single "I Try", taken from her multi-platinum debut album On How Life Is.
Early life and career
Macy Gray was born in Canton, Ohio, to Laura McIntyre, a math teacher, and Otis Jones. While attending the University of Southern California, she agreed to write songs for a friend, and a demo session was scheduled for the songs to be recorded by another singer. When the vocalist failed to turn up, Gray recorded them herself. She then met writer/producer Joe Solo while working as a cashier in Beverly Hills. Together, they wrote a large collection of songs and recorded them in Solo's studio. The demo tape landed Gray the opportunity to sing at jazz cafés in Los Angeles, California. Despite Gray's dislike of her own voice, Atlantic Records signed her. She began recording her debut record but was dropped from the label upon the departure of her A&R man Tom Carolan, who signed her to the label. In 1998, she landed a record deal with Epic Records. She was on one of the songs from The Black Eyed Peas' debut album, "Love Won't Wait".
On How Life Is (1999–2001)
Gray worked on her debut album in 1999. Released in the summer of 1999, On How Life Is became a worldwide smash. Despite the first single "Do Something" stalling on the charts, the release of the second single "I Try" made the album a success for Gray. "I Try" (which was originally featured in Love Jones and the Jennifer Aniston-starring vehicle, romantic-comedy Picture Perfect in 1997) was one of the biggest singles of 1999, and subsequent singles "Still" and "Why Didn't You Call Me" ensured the album becoming triple platinum in the U.S., quadruple platinum in the UK, and triple platinum in Canada.
In 2001, Gray won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "I Try", which was also nominated for "Song of the Year" and "Record of the Year". She then collaborated with Fatboy Slim, The Black Eyed Peas, and Slick Rick (on the song "The World Is Yours", from the Rush Hour 2 soundtrack), as well as acting for the first time in the thriller Training Day. In August 2001, Gray was booed off the field at the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition game after forgetting the lyrics to the American national anthem.
The Id and The Trouble with Being Myself (2001–2005)
Gray's The Id featured appearances by John Frusciante and Erykah Badu on the single "Sweet Baby" (which was co-written with longtime collaborator Joe Solo). The album peaked at number eleven on the Billboard 200. Despite its failure in the U.S., it reached number one on the UK Albums Chart and was certified gold by the BPI. The underperformance in the United States, compared to her debut album, may have been due to The Id being released just a week after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Also in 2002, she appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD in tribute to Nigerian afropop pioneer Fela Kuti, Red Hot and Riot. She appeared on a remake track of Kuti's classic, "Water No Get Enemy" alongside prominent neo soul, hip-hop and R&B artists, D'Angelo, The Soultronics, Nile Rodgers, Roy Hargrove, and Kuti's son, Femi Kuti.
She recorded a duet with Zucchero called "Like The Sun (From Out Of Nowhere)", which featured Jeff Beck on guitar released in 2004 on Zu & Co., a duets collection. Her song "Time of My Life" was included in the soundtrack to 8 Mile. A cartoon based on Gray's childhood was being developed, but it never came to fruition.
In 2003, Gray released her third studio album, The Trouble with Being Myself, to rave reviews. The lead single, "When I See You", became a radio hit in the U.S. and a top forty hit in the UK, although the album was not as well received by fans. Nevertheless, it became Gray's third top twenty album in the UK. A greatest hits collection and a live album were subsequently released: The Very Best of Macy Gray (2004) and Live in Las Vegas (2005). Additionally, Gray was featured on Marcus Miller's 2005 album Silver Rain, on a cover of Prince's 1986 song "Girls & Boys". She also appeared on the soundtrack to the film Chicago with Queen Latifah and Lil' Kim on "Cell Block Tango/He Had it Comin'."
Return to music and Big (2007–2010)
Gray began 2007 badly after being kicked off-stage at a concert in Barbados for profanity (which was part of the show), but she was not aware that it was against the law in that country. She gave a public apology that night to avoid arrest.
In March, Gray released her fourth studio album (sixth overall), entitled Big. Two singles, "Finally Made Me Happy" and "Shoo Be Doo", have been released from the album. "What I Gotta Do", another track from the album, is featured on the Shrek the Third soundtrack. It is considered Gray's comeback album, after a four-year hiatus since her last studio album. The album was critically acclaimed and seen by some as her best work to date. It featured collaborations with Natalie Cole, Fergie, Justin Timberlake, and will.i.am, who was co-executive producer the album with Gray.
The album was moderately successful in the U.S., where it debuted and peaked at #39 on the Billboard 200, becoming Gray's highest-charting album since The Id. Big reached #62 on the albums chart in the UK, her lowest-charting UK album, but it did achieve some success in several other countries, including Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Finland, reaching the top forty of their album charts.
On July 7, 2007, Gray performed at the Brazilian leg of Live Earth at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Gray and her band members wore clothes bearing political messages. Gray's dress carried the message "Darfur Red Alert".
In 2008, Macy launched a new campaign under the name Nemesis Jaxson, with upcoming single, "Slap a Bitch".
The Sellout (2010–2011)
The first single from Gray's fifth studio album The Sellout, "Beauty in the World", is featured in the final sequence of the series finale, Hello Goodbye, of the ABC television series, Ugly Betty. "Beauty in the World" is also used as the theme in multiple videos created by Microsoft to promote Internet Explorer 9. Both singles released from the album ("Beauty in the World" and "Lately") are Top 10 hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart.On 16 February 2012 to participate in the Sanremo Festival as a guest, performing alongside Gigi D'Alessio and Loredana Berte with the song At least you in the universe, in the English version entitled Flame.
Upon its release, The Sellout received generally mixed reviews from most music critics. Metacritic gave it an average score of 57, based on 15 reviews; Andy Gill of The Independent gave it 3 out of 5 stars; while Allmusic writer John Bush shared a similar sentiment and panned Gray's songwriting.
In 2011, Gray signed a deal with 429 Records and started recording a series of covers for her next studio album Covered. The album was officially released on March 26, 2012. The album's first single is "Here Comes The Rain Again" (originally performed by Eurythmics). On 16 February 2012, Gray participated in the Sanremo Festival as a guest, performing alongside Gigi D'Alessio and Loredana Berte.
In August 2008, Gray headlined at the 2008 Summer Sundae music festival in Leicester, England, performing cover versions of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?", Deee-Lite's "Groove Is in the Heart" and Radiohead's "Creep". For the gig, her band wore pink Andy Warhol wigs.
In 2008, Gray collaborated with Australian DJ and singer Kaz James on the song "Can't Hold Back". The single was released in early 2009 in Australia and is credited to Kaz James featuring Macy Gray.
In 2009, Macy competed in season 9 of Dancing with the Stars with professional partner Jonathan Roberts. They were eliminated in a double elimination in Week 1.
Gray was married from 1996 to 1998 to Tracy Hinds, with whom she had three children: Aanisah (born January 1995), Tahmel – known as Mel (born December 1995) and Happy, (born 1997).
Gray's son Mel followed her into the music industry. Gray opened up a music academy called The Macy Gray Music Academy in 2005.
- 1999: On How Life Is
- 2001: The Id
- 2003: The Trouble with Being Myself
- 2007: Big
- 2010: The Sellout
- 2012: Covered
- 2012: Talking Book (reprise from Stevie Wonder's 1972 album)
|2000||Ally McBeal||Herself||"Hope and Glory" (Season 3, Episode 20)|
|2000—2001||Saturday Night Live||Herself||"Freddie Prinze, Jr./Macy Gray" (Season 25, Episode 10)
"Drew Barrymore/Macy Gray" (Season 27, Episode 3)
|2001||SSX Tricky||Seeiah Owens (voice)||Video game|
|2001||Training Day||Sandman's Woman|
|2002||MDs||Jess||"Wing and a Prayer" (Season 1, Episode 7)|
|2003||Scary Movie 3||Herself||Cameo|
|2003||Gang of Roses||Assassin|
|2003||When I Was a Girl||Herself||"Singers " (Season 1, Episode 11)|
|2004||Around the World in 80 Days||Sleepy Frenchwoman|
|2004||Lightning in a Bottle||Herself||Cameo|
|2004||American Dreams||Carla Thomas||"Real-to-Reel" (episode 12, season 2)|
|2004||That's So Raven||Rhonda||"Taken to the Cleaners" (Season 3, episode 4)|
|2004||Blue's Clues||Herself||"Bluestock" (Season 6, Episode 9)|
|2005||Lackawanna Blues||Pauline||TV movie|
|2005||The Crow: Wicked Prayer||Carman|
|2005||Duck Dodgers||Diva (voice)||"Diva Delivery/Castle High" (Season 2, Episode 10)|
|2005||American Dragon: Jake Long||Trixie's Grandmother/Miss Jenkinks (voice)||"Act 4, Scene 15" (Season 1, Episode 5)
"Professor Rotwood's Thesis" (Season 1, Episode 8)
|2005||1-800-Missing||Cleo||"A Death in the Family" (Season 3, Episode 13)|
|2007||Macy Gray's Big Special||Herself|
|2009||Dancing with the Stars||Herself/Contestant||Season 9|
|2009||Head Case||Herself||"The Wedding Ringer" (Season 3, Episode 1)|
|2010||For Colored Girls||Rose/Lady in Pink||Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble|
|2013||Mama Black Widow||Hattie Mae||Announced|
Awards and nominations
|Awards and achievements|
|MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist for "I Try"
|BRIT Award for Best International Female
|BRIT Award for Best International Breakthrough Act
"I Will Remember You (Live)" by Sarah McLachlan
|Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "I Try"
"I'm like a Bird" by Nelly Furtado
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|url=missing title (help).[dead link]
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