Macy Gray (born Natalie Renee McIntyre; September 6, 1967), also credited as Natalie Hinds in her music, 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.
To date, Gray has released four studio albums, one compilation album, and one live album?with her fourth studio album, Big, released in March 2007?and has received five Grammy Award nominations, winning one. She has appeared in a number of films including Training Day, Spider-Man, and Idlewild. Gray is best known for her international hit single "I Try", taken from her multi-platinum debut album On How Life Is. In late 2008, Gray took on a new alias "Nemesis Jaxson", and has plans to release her fifth studio album in 2009.
It was announced on August 17, 2009 that she will compete on the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars. She was the second contestant eliminated with the total score of 15 from the judges.
Gray in 1995
Macy Gray was born to Laura McIntyre, a math teacher, and Otis Jones, but Laura later remarried Richard McIntyre, who adopted Macy. Gray was born in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where she briefly worked at age 12, before being fired for tardiness. She decided to pursue a career in music after being expelled from Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, where she had attended since age 14. However, Gray's initial success came as a surprise. While attending the University of Southern California (graduated 1990) 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 at her job as a cashier in Beverly Hills. Together, they wrote a large collection of songs and recorded them in Solo's studio. The demo tape created a lot of attention and consequently landed Gray the opportunity to sing at jazz caf?s in Los Angeles, California. Despite Gray's dislike of her own voice, her vocals garnered lots of attention around the jazz scene, and Atlantic Records signed her. During this time, the demo tape was still making the rounds, and in 1998 she landed a record deal with Epic Records. During this time she was also on one of the songs from The Black Eyed Peas' debut album, "Love Won't Wait".
On How Life Is (1999)
During the whole of 1998, Gray continued to work on her debut album. Released in the summer of 1999, On How Life Is became a worldwide smash. Despite the first single "Do Something" stalling on the charts, it was by extremely positive word of mouth and the release of the second single "I Try" that the album really became a success for Gray. "I Try" (which was originally featured in the Jennifer Aniston-starring vehicle, the 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 words to the American national anthem.
Subsequent albums (2001?2005)
In the midst of the controversy, Gray's The Id became a commercial stillborn, largely stalling on the U.S. charts. The album featured appearances by John Frusciante and Erykah Badu on the single "Sweet Baby", (which was co-written with longtime collaborator Joe Solo). The album managed to peak 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 attributed to the fact that The Id was released just a week after the September 11, 2001 attacks. In 2002, she appeared in Spider-Man as herself and worked with Santana on the track "Amor? (Sexo)", from his album Shaman. She also 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 soundrack to 8 Mile. A cartoon based on Gray's childhood was being developed at one point, 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 wasn't as well received by fans. It nevertheless 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'."
Big (2007): return to music
Gray began 2007 badly after being kicked off-stage at a concert in Barbados for profanity (which was part of the show), but she wasn't 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 largely 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 yet. It featured collaborations with Natalie Cole, Fergie, Justin Timberlake, and will.i.am, who co-executive produced the album with Gray. Big was the second release from will.i.am's record label, will.i.am Music Group, after Fergie's The Dutchess.
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. Surprisingly, Big did not achieve great success in the UK, where it reached #62 on the albums chart, 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 albums charts.
PBS's Soundstage live concert series premiered a Gray concert on July 5. The one-hour concert included songs from Big?"Finally Made Me Happy", "Shoo Be Doo", "Ghetto Love", "What I Gotta Do", "Glad You're Here" (another collaboration with Producer/ Writer Joe Solo), "Slowly", and "Everybody". Other songs performed were "Caligula", "Why Didn't You Call Me", "Oblivion" with the set ending with "I Try". Future airdates can be found on PBS's website.
On July 7, 2007, Gray performed at the Brazilian leg of Live Earth at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro. Gray and her band members wore clothes with politically-motivated messages. In her dress, it was written "Darfur Red Alert".
Big was later promoted on the Internet via the UK version of the Apple iPhone launch demo, due to Gray's past popularity in the UK.
Macy recently launched a new campaign under the name Nemesis Jaxson, with upcoming single, "Slap a Bitch". Slap a Bitch has not been released as of June 2009, but a video featuring many people slapping each other's faces was released on the Internet around , 2008.
Recently, Macy was available again in another Movie soundtrack (she is featured in more than 10 other soundtracks): Confessions of a Shopaholic, with the newest track "Don'Forget Me".
On September 9, 2009 Gray held a concert in Bulgaria, her first one in the country.
Gray appeared in the eighth season of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, playing for Habitat for Humanity. She finished in third place, behind Robin Tunney and Christopher Meloni, and ahead of Joy Behar and Andy Dick.
She was Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher on his reality show Punk'd.
Gray was a Neopet for a short period of time on the popular virtual pets site of the same name. She was changed into the Kau during July 2000.
In 2002 she was the voice for Seeiah Owens in the video game SSX Tricky. On the same year, she made a brief appearance in the film Spider-Man as herself.
Gray sang the theme song for Nickelodeon's As Told By Ginger.
She appeared at the 2008 Gulf Air's Bahrain Grand Prix. She stated she liked the Ferrari team and also found Jenson Button 'cute'.
In August 2008, Gray headlined at the 2008 Summer Sundae music festival in Leicester, England. The crowd got on their feet and helped her belt her smash-hit "I Try". She also performed 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.
On September 28, 2008, Gray sang the American national anthem as part of the Israeli flag-raising ceremony at the Israeli Consulate of Los Angeles.
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. It is included on James' debut solo album, If They Knew.
In late 2008, Gray worked with Carmit Bachar on a few songs for her upcoming solo album. It has been reported that Bachar is also featured on Gray's new album.
Gray was married from 1996 to 1998 to Tracy Hinds, with whom she had three children: Aanisah (born January 1994), Tahmel ? known as Mel (born December 1994) ? also involved in the music industry, Cassius (nicknamed "Happy") (born 1997). Gray opened up a music academy called The Macy Gray Music Academy in 2005 and it was the scene for an episode of MTV's Punk'd because of "black mold in the building". Gray has been highly praised for her work with the academy and has given underprivileged children and teenagers the chance to perform.
Gray has two tattoos?one on her right wrist with all her children's names and the other on her leg that has a rose and says "Daddy". She was an early supporter of a Barack Obama presidential campaign, almost two years before his official announcement, she wore a shirt saying "Barack Obama for President" during the Hurricane Katrina fundraisers.
Macy is the oldest of her three siblings.
All Macy Gray lyrics
- A Moment To Myself
- Come Together
- Do Something
- Don't Come Around
- Every Now And Then
- Finally Made Me Happy
- Freak Like Me
- Ghetto Love
- Gimme All Your Lovin' Or I Will Kill You
- Glad You're Here
- Hey Young World Part 2
- Hey Young World Part 2 (feat. Slick Rick)
- I Can�t Wait To Meetchu
- I Try
- It Ain't The Money
- It Ain't The Money (feat. Pharoahe Monch)
- I�ve Committed Murder
- Jesus For A Day
- Love Is Gonna Get You
- My Fondest Childhood Memories
- My Nutmeg Phantasy
- Oh Yeah (feat. Keziah Jones)
- One For Me
- Relating To A Psychopath
- Santa Baby
- Sex-o-matic Venus Freak
- Sexual Revolution
- She Ain't Right For You
- She Don't Write Songs
- She Don't Write Songs About You
- Shoo Be Doo
- Strange Behavior
- Sweet Baby
- The Letter
- Things That Made Me Change
- Time Of My Life
- Treat Me Like Your Money
All lyrics are property of their respective owners and are strictly for non-commercial use only.