Her career is not quite at the Grammy-winning level where she started, but Macy Gray is feeling “Big” again.
After some fallow years, there’s actually some buzz around Gray’s latest album, her first of new material in four years and her inaugural effort for Black Eyed Peas leader will.i.am’s record label after losing her initial deal with Sony.
“I found myself unsigned, which was really kind of devastating for me,” recalls Gray, 39, who was born Natalie Renee McIntyre in Canton, Ohio, and now lives in Los Angeles.
“I was back to where I started before I got signed. I wasn’t with a label, and I kind of freaked out.”
Making “Big” didn’t go smoothly at first, however. Gray notes that will.i.am was supposed to produce the whole album but got busy with his own solo album and Peas concerns. A frustrated Gray started going to other sources — including Justin Timberlake, who produced one track — in order to finish the set.
Because of that, she considers making “Big” a “life-changing” experience. “I grew up making that record,” says Gray, who’s also reading movie scripts these days and preparing to launch Humps, a fashion line for full-sized women. “I worked with all different people this time who I’d never worked with before and being open to their ideas and different ways of making music.
“It was such a struggle to get this album done, but it was good for me. I’m now even more open (to new ideas) because of making this record.”
Macy Gray and the Brand New Heavies perform at 8 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 2) at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills. Tickets are $37.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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