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A Macy Grace
Nu-soul superstar Macy Gray had it all but then saw her popularity take a tumble. Now she’s back determined to reclaim her nu-soul crown.
Edwin McFee, 18 Jun 2012
Ever since her multi-platinum debut record On How Life Is in ’99, Ohio-born singer Macy Gray has been a staple of the soul and R&B scene, and that’s thanks in no small part to possessing a set of the most recognisable pipes in the music world today. Boasting a croaky croon that is unmistakably hers, she’s made her fortune due to the fact that most people recognize her songs as soon as they hear them. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that this time around, the 44-year-old has decided to briefly abandon plowing her own path and has instead opted to interpret tunes by the likes of My Chemical Romance, Arcade Fire and Yeah Yeah Yeahs for her latest project Covered.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” whispers Macy. “I enjoy taking songs and switching them up into my own thing. My labels have always been against it. This time around I came up with the idea of doing a rock cover record and they liked that and so we finally did it. I love it. I actually wanna do more.”
Inspired by Nina Simone’s unique cover of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way,’ Macy tackles many different genres. And while she admits some songs that she tried just didn’t suit her voice, she’s over the moon with what made the cut.
“Maybe about five or six tracks didn’t make the record,” she offers. “We tried a few Fiona Apple songs and they didn’t come out great. We tried ‘Revelry’ by Kings of Leon… some songs you can try and mess with them. After a while you have to just leave them alone because they’re so perfect the way they are and you kinda feel bad about changing them around. Not that the songs on the album deserve to be changed, they just came out more natural. We tried some Prince songs too and those were disasters.
“I love the variation of genres that did make the record – that’s what I’m about,” she continues. “My thing is that I listen to so much different music that when I go into the studio this buffet of sound all comes out. It’s very hard for me to just do one thing and even when I’m doing a lot of things I don’t even realise it until people point it out. I like singing different styles.”