Macy Gray

Thursday 16th June

Born and raised in Canton, Ohio, Macy Gray – real name Natalie Renée McIntyre – moved to Southern California in the ’80s to attend university. She studied scriptwriting and was even in film classes with Ally Sheedy and Rob Lowe.

 

During this time she also wrote songs for fun and discovered a passion for singing after a friend asked her to perform in his jazz band. Gray began honing her unique voice at local underground clubs during her 20s. She signed with Atlantic Records in 1994, but aside from a few demos nothing came of it so she returned to Ohio shortly after. In 1998, Gray was persuaded to return to the West Coast after landing a record deal with Epic Records and providing guest vocals on the song Love Won’t Wait for the Black Eyed Peas’ debut album.

Her own debut album album On How Life Is arrived in 1999 and was a massive success thanks to the single I Try, which peaked at No.6 on the UK albums chart and went on to score her a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Following two BRIT Awards in 2000 for Best International Breakthrough and Best International Female Artist, Gray’s 2001 follow-up album The Id climbed all the way to No.1 on the UK albums chart.

Over the next two decades, she released eight more studio albums, with 2018’s jazz-infused Ruby channelling the spirit of the smoky R&B that’s closest to her heart. Often compared to singing greats like Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone and Tina Turner, Gray’s inimitable vocals boasts an unmistakable rasp and funky growly spirit. She has collaborated with everyone from Ariana Grande to Fatboy Slim and Galactic.

Gray also has lengthy acting credits having appeared on TV shows such as Ally McBeal and Fuller House and in films like Spider-Man,Scary Movie 3 and Training Day alongside Academy Award winner Denzel Washington.

In 2005, she funded a music school called the M Gray Academy in North Hollywood. She founded the charitable organisation My Good in 2020 to provide long-term financial support and mental health services to families who have lost loved ones to police brutality.

Gray released the song Thinking Of You in April 2021 with her band The California Jet Club. In early summer, she also announced a series of UK tour dates for June 2022, including appearances on 3 June at Rye International Jazz Festival and on 19 June 2022 while supporting Lionel Richie at Nocturne Live.

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