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Macy Gray lets fans decide if she should play in Israel

of the Oakland Press

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When Macy Gray announced plans to perform next month in Tel Aviv, she was besieged by requests for her to boycott Israel, as other artists have recently done.

But after querying her fans via Facebook, Gray decided to go ahead with the show, deciding her music had nothing to do with the various political agendas of the Middle East.

“I just don’t believe boycotting entertainment there is the right path to take,” explains Ohio native Gray (real name Natalie McIntyre), 43, who’s still promoting 2010’s “The Sellout,” her first new album in three years. “I think we’re all aware there’s conflict there. It’s a grave and unfortunate situation and so deep that I think anybody who doesn’t live in Israel or in Palestine can’t truly understand it.

“But for the life of me, I do not see how not performing helps the situation. I think music ... really, all we do is offer people an escape. Most songs last about four minutes, so for four minutes you get peace and you get to go away from all your drama. That’s what we do, and I just don’t understand how not doing that helps anyone.”

Gray says she’s somewhat surprised the fan response was so overwhelmingly in favor of her playing the Israeli date. “I think there’s a great amount of people there who have their beliefs and will fight for what they want to fight for, but they still want to be entertained,” she says. And Gray will honor that by pointedly not addressing political concerns at her show.

“I don’t think I’m in a position to judge or even comment on them,” explains Gray, who’s already working on her next album with producer Hal Wilner. “They’ve been in the situation for a long time, and a lot of people have suffered. I don’t think it’s my place as a musician to go over there and make any comment about it, really.

“Of course there are things going on that I disagree with, but I don’t think it’s my place to do anything but sing for them.”

Macy Gray performs at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, at Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino-Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $38, $43 and $53. Call 313-237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.

Web Site: www.motorcitycasino.com

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