As a child, Macy Gray always enjoyed listening to R&B, but never had hopes of becoming one of its premier ladies. Gray fell into her career by accident thanks to her raspy, yet sultry, voice. Her unique voice first captured audiences in Los Angeles and now is selling tickets across the country. Her original lyrics and style of music have launched her into a high-profile career.
Macy Gray was born in Canton, Ohio in 1970. Her real name is actually Natalie McIntyre: 'Macy Gray' is her creative alias, which she adopted from a neighbor in Canton. Growing up, Macy was shy and awkward: she was especially self-conscious of her unusual-sounding voice. As a child, she was constantly teased about her strange voice, which later become her trademark as a singer.
Starting out her musical career, Macy studied classical piano for seven years. She was more inspired, however, by musicians such as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Marvin Gaye. As a teenager, she listened to hip-hop and rock & roll at boarding school.
After she graduated, Macy moved to L.A. and enrolled in the University of Southern California's film school. She was studying screenwriting but agreed to write song lyrics for her musician friends. At one recording, the singer neglected to show up, and Macy ended up singing instead. The tape began circulating and Macy's raspy voice attracted much attention.
Her first job as a singer came shortly afterwards. The leader of a local jazz band heard her demo tape and offered her a job singing jazz standards in LA hotels. Gray soon developed her own solo act and started an after-hours jazz club called We Ours. It was located in a small coffeehouse, and Macy and her jazz group performed there regularly.
Gray began receiving attention from record labels, and she signed with Epic in 1998. Her first album, On How Life Is, was released a year later. She received two Grammy nominations for this album, which included 'Best New Artist' and 'Best Female R&B Vocal'. Her first single 'I Try' soon took off, and her album sales went triple platinum and earned it a Top Ten award. The following year Gray was nominated for three Grammy's and won for 'Best Female Vocal'.
She continued to record, and her second album, released in 2001, was instantly acclaimed. The Id featured the single 'Sweet Baby' and appearances by Erykah Badu and John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers. The album hit the charts at number 11 and went gold. Her third album, The Trouble With Being Myself, was released a year later.
Macy became popular quickly but did not fade out so rapidly. She collaborated with Fat Boy Slim and Black-Eyed Peas. She also contributed to the soundtrack for the movie Rush Hour 2. Macy's movie contributions were not limited to soundtracks. She made her screen debut in Training Days with Denzel Washington, and in 2002 she appeared in the blockbuster movie Spiderman.
Macy Gray has always been an individual and stands out in a crowd. Her music reflects her sense of self, which captures the imagination of her fans. Concert venues around the country have encountered huge box office ticket sales for any Macy Gray performance.