It's been a tough few years for Macy Gray.
The genre-blending singer from Canton, Ohio -- best known for her 1999 hit "I Try" -- released a dud with 2007's "Big," which led to a period of re-evaluation while making "The Sellout," which was released in June. "I think it was just a matter of trying to figure out what to do next and where I fit into the music business," explains Gray, 42, who was born Natalie McIntyre.
"The first thing the want to do with you is put you with all these producers and try to do what everybody else is doing. So everybody gave me all these dance beats, and it was kind of confusing for me because I didn't know if I stuck to my guns and did my own thing if people would respond to me or even bother to listen.
"That took quite a bit of time, but I think I finally figured it out."
Gray says her attitude about getting through the tribulations is best exemplified by the album's first single, "Beauty in the World," which was inspired by hearing her 15-year-old daughter Aanisah laughing in another room.
"I was having a really (bad) day, but when I heard her I was like, 'Well, everything's not so bad,' " Gray recalls. "It's all about what you focus on, 'cause as soon as I focused on her I felt better...and I wrote this song about keeping your head up and trying to focus on the good stuff -- which I know is very hard right now, but that makes it even more important."
Macy Gray performs at 10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5, on the Michigan Lottery Stage at Arts, Beats & Eats in downtown Royal Oak. Admission is $3. Visit www.artsbeatseats.com for more information.
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