Macy Gray - Biography
"When I was little, I had this really funny voice," says singer Macy Gray. "Every time I talked, the kids would make fun of me so I stopped talking. I was self-conscious of my voice. It never occurred to me that I could sing."
Who is Macy Gray?
Macy Gray is a multi-award-winning American musician, songwriter, producer and actress. She has drawn comparisons to some of the world's most revered musical talent including Billie Holliday, Janis Joplin and Tina Turner, however is renowned for her own approach to sound, lyrics and fashion.
Macy Gray's Childhood
Born Natalie McIntyre in Canton, Ohio, on September 9, 1970, Macy took her stage name from a friend of her retired steelworker father. "Macy Gray was a man who used to come over and shoot pool with my husband," says Macy's teacher mother Laura. "She was always extremely shy and he used to tell her, 'You're going to be something special one day'."
Macy attributes much of her shyness in her childhood to her voice, which was a target for teasing throughout her schooldays. Nevertheless, she displayed an eccentric individuality and creative sense early on. On the musical side Macy studied classical piano, but during her childhood writing was her main outlet. She was a gifted student and in 1985 won a college scholarship to attend the United States Naval Academy. Macy, however, turned the offer down and enrolled at the University of Southern California (USC) to study film, with the intention of going into screenwriting.
Macy Gray's Education and Early Career
While at film school, Macy stumbled luckily on what would be her future career when a friend asked her to perform in his jazz band. Initially she was apprehensive but decided to give it a go. By the time she departed USC in 1989, a few credits short of a degree, Macy was singing in underground clubs around Los Angeles, while trying her hand at writing screenplays. Music gradually began to take over as her main aim, and the artist even organised a late-night club spot called the "We Ours" at a Hollywood coffee shop.
After spending most of the early 1990s sending out demo tapes, Macy finally scored a record deal with Atlantic Records in 1994. Her contract never developed into anything major however, and no material was released. Following the departure of her A&R contact Tom Carolan from the label, Macy was sadly dropped.
The singer retreated to her mother's home in Canton in 1997 and, believing her music career was over, set her sights on becoming a teacher. But a Los Angeles producer who heard her demos for Atlantic convinced her to go into the studio one last time to record some tracks for a new demo.
In the following year she begun work on her debut album On How Life Is, and her voice was finally heard with an appearance on the Black Eyed Peas song Love Won't Wait.
Macy Gray's Career
Released a year later, Love Won't Wait won over both the public and critics alike and has since gone platinum three times over. Her 2001 follow-up The Id proved the artist was no flash in the pan with a string of hit singles.
Macy was finally able to realise her dream of getting involved in the film industry after breaking through on the music scene. She won a role as a gangster's wife in the award-winning thriller Training Day, and made an appearance as herself in the smash hit blockbuster of 2002, Spider-Man.
By 2003 the talented star had firmly cemented herself in the public eye. By the end of the year she went on to release her third album, The Trouble With Being Myself, which became her third top 20 record.
Macy disappeared for a four year break, returning to music in 2007 with album four - Big. Whilst the album wasn't as much of a commercial success as her past releases, it firmly highlighted how far she had come. Guest appearances included Justin Timberlake, Natalie Cole, Fergie and will.i.am.
She continued to jump from record label to record label over the next decade, releasing The Sellout, The Way and 2016's Stripped between 2010 and 2016. She made a guest appearance on the Ariana Grande track Leave Me Lonely earlier in 2016. 2018 saw the arrival of her tenth studio album Ruby.
She has appeared on a dashing of singles here and there since, entering the 2020s with a feature on Canadian band Busty and the Bass's track Out Of Love.
Macy Grey's Love Life
Love hasn't been easy for Macy. Before the wheels of her career started turning, she married Ohio-based mortgage collector Tracy Hinds. The couple welcomed daughter Aanisah in 1990 and son Tahmel the next year, before tying the knot in 1996.
Sadly the couple separated in the August of 1997, while Macy was three months pregnant with their second daughter Cassius.