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Background information Birth name Natalie Renee McIntyre Also known as Natalie Hinds Born September 6, 1967(1967-09-06) (age 40)
Canton, Ohio, United StatesGenre(s)R&B, soul, neo soul, funk rock, alternative hip hopOccupation(s) Singer-songwriter, record producer, actressYears active 1998–present Label(s)Epic, Geffen, will.i.am music groupAssociated acts Sunshine AndersonWebsite www.macygray.com
Macy Gray (born Natalie Renee McIntyre on September 6, 1967; also credited as Natalie Hinds in her music) is an American R&B, soul, and neo soul singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress, famed for her 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.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Discography
- 3 Filmography
- 4 Awards and nominations
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Gray was born in Canton, Ohio, and decided to pursue a career in music after being expelled from Western Reserve Academy in Hudson. 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 of hers and a demo session was scheduled for the songs to be recorded by another singer. When the vocalist failed to turn up to record the songs, Gray found herself recording 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 cafés 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 to their label. Months later, Gray gave her demo album to Atlantic, but the record label was dissatisfied with her efforts. Going through the break-up of her marriage and expecting her third child, Gray retreated back to Canton. During this time, Gray's demo tape was still doing the rounds, and in 1998 she landed a record deal with Epic Records. She was also in 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 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 stage 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, in spite of appearances by John Frusciante and Erykah Badu on the album's hit single "Sweet Baby", (which was co-written with longtime collaborator Joe Solo), though the album managed to peak at number eleven on the Billboard 200. However, 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 "Amoré (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".
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.
However, March saw the release of Gray's 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 as Gray's comeback album, after a four-year hiatus since her last studio album. The album has been critically acclaimed and seen as her best work yet. It features collaborations with Natalie Cole, Fergie, Justin Timberlake, and will.i.am, who co-executive produced the album with Gray. Big is the second release from will.i.am's record label, will.i.am Music Group, after Fergie's The Dutchess.
The album has been moderately successful in the U.S., where it debuted and peaked at number thirty-nine on the Billboard 200, becoming Gray's highest-charting album since The Id. Surprisingly, Big has not seen the same success in the UK, where it reached number sixty-two on the albums chart, becoming her lowest-charting album in the UK by far. The album received consolidating success in other countries such as Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Finland, reaching the top forty of their albums chart. It is unknown at this point, whether any other singles from Big will be released, although "Glad You're Here", again co-written with Joe Solo, is the standout choice.
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", "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 7 July 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".
Surprisingly 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
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.
Macy Gray appeared at the 2008 Gulf Air's Bahrain Grand Prix. She stated she liked the Ferrari team and also found Jenson Button 'cute'. She was shown talking Live to ITV's Martin Brundle.
Gray was married to Tracy Hinds from 1996 to 1998, with whom she had three children: Aanisah (in January 1995), Tahmel (in December 1995), and Cassius (in 1997). She 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.
AlbumsYear Title Chart positions U.S.U.S. R&BUKCANAUSGERFRAITANLBELAUTSWINZ1999 On How Life Is9 2 3 2 1 19 24 29 28 9 3 6 1 2001 The Id11 9 1 6 3 10 25 4 13 8 7 4 7 2003 The Trouble with Being Myself44 29 17 — 23 46 61 20 18 12 27 10 41 2004 The Very Best of Macy Gray— — 36 — — — — 58 50 — — 84 — 2005 Live in Las Vegas— — — — — — — — — — — — — 2007 Big39 14 62 — — — 149 33 56 — — 38 —
SinglesYear Single Chart positions Album U.S.U.S. R&BU.S. danceUKCANAUSGERNLSWIIRENZ1999 "Do Something" — 63 — 51 — — — 35 — — 32 On How Life Is "I Try" 5 121 — 6 19 1 16 39 13 1 1 2000 "Still" — — — 18 — 21 92 — — 30 8 "Why Didn't You Call Me" 107 — — 38 — — — — — — 35 2001 "Sweet Baby"
(featuring Erykah Badu) — — — 23 16 39 — 40 36 — 12 The Id "Sexual Revolution" — — 4 45 — — — — 91 — — 2003 "When I See You" — — — 26 — 34 — — — — — The Trouble with Being Myself "She Ain't Right for You" — — — — — — — — — — — 2004 "Love Is Gonna Get You" — — — — — — — — — — — The Very Best of Macy Gray 2007 "Finally Made Me Happy"
(featuring Natalie Cole) — — — — — — — — — — — Big "Shoo Be Doo" — 55 — — — — — — — — — "What I Gotta Do" — 67 — — — — — — — — —
Guest singlesYear Single Chart positions Album U.S.U.S. R&BUKAUS2001 "Demons" (Fatboy Slimfeaturing Macy Gray) — — 16 — Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars"Geto Heaven Remix T.S.O.I. (The Sound of Illadelph)"
(Commonfeaturing Macy Gray) — 61 48 — Like Water for Chocolate
(alternate edition) "Request Line" (Black Eyed Peasfeaturing Macy Gray) 63 51 31 21 Bridging the Gap
FilmsYear Title Role 2001 Training DaySandman's Wife 2002 Spider-ManHerself 2003 Scary Movie 3Herself Gang of Roses Assassin 2004 Lackawanna BluesPauline Around the World in 80 DaysSleepy Frenchwoman Lightning in a Bottle Herself 2005 The Crow: Wicked PrayerCarman ShadowboxerNeisha DominoLashandra Davis 2006 IdlewildTaffy
TelevisionYear Title Role Notes 2000 Ally McBealHerself "Hope and Glory" (episode 20, season 3) 2002 MDs Jess "Wing and a Prayer" (episode 7) 2004 American DreamsCarla Thomas"Real-to-Reel" (episode 12, season 2) That's So RavenRhonda "Taken to the Cleaners" (episode 4, season 3) Blue's CluesHerself "Bluestock" 2005 Duck DodgersDiva (voice) "Diva Delivery/Castle High" (episode 10, season 2) American Dragon: Jake LongTrixie's grandmother (voice)
- "Act 4, Scene 15" (episode 5, season 1)
- "Professor Rotwood's Thesis" (episode 8, season 1)
Awards and nominations
- Grammy Awards: "Best New Artist" and "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" ("Do Something")
- Soul Train Music Awards: "Best R&B/Soul Album - Female" (On How Life Is)
- Grammy Awards: "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" ("I Try")
- BRIT Awards: "International Breakthrough Act" and "International Female"
- MTV Video Music Awards: "Best New Artist" ("I Try") and "Best Cinematography" ("Do Something")
- MTV Video Music Awards: "Best Female Video" and "Best Art Direction" (both for "I Try)"
- Grammy Awards: "Record of the Year" and "Song of the Year" (both for "I Try")
- American Music Awards: "Favorite New Artist - Pop/Rock"
- MTV Video Music Awards: "Breakthrough Video" ("Geto Heaven Remix T.S.O.I. (The Sound of Illadelph)" — shared with Common) and "Best Hip-Hop Video" ("Request Line" — shared with The Black Eyed Peas)
- Billboard Music Video Awards: "Best Rap/Hip-Hop Clip of the Year" ("Request Line" — shared with The Black Eyed Peas); the video also received a nomination for Joseph Kahn for "Director of the Year"
- ^ Macy Gray is philosophical about slumping sales. The Plain Dealer (January 6, 2004). Retrieved on 2007-01-13.
- ^ http://alumni.usc.edu/baa/calendar_28dinner_recipients.htm
- ^ Macy Gray Is Booed During Anthem. Associated Press (August 7, 2001). Retrieved on 2007-05-26.
- ^ Live Earth Artist: Macy Gray. Live Earth. Retrieved on 2007-08-08.
- ^ HELLO! Profiles - Macy Gray. Hello!. Retrieved on 2007-04-28.
- ^ Past Winners Database. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2007-01-13.
External linksWikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Macy Gray
- Official website
- Macy Gray on Geffen Records website
- Macy Gray at MySpace
- Macy Gray at Allmusic
- Macy Gray at the Internet Movie Database
- Macy Gray goes naked for Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit
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