Adelaide Fringe

Interview: All The Way With Macy Gray!

Historically notorious for being a tough one to interview, it was with prudence that Music Editor Dazz Hassan accepted the challenge to speak with Macy Gray about her latest album and upcoming ‘The Way’ Australian Tour.

UnknownHistorically notorious for being a tough one to interview, it was with trepidation that Music Editor Dazz Hassan accepted the challenge to speak with Macy Gray about her latest album and upcoming ‘The Way’ Australian Tour. Instead though, Gray was relaxed, composed, and exceptionally excited to be visiting Australia again as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

“I’m looking so forward to it, I love coming out there! I’m going to go to a couple of places I haven’t been to before- it’s going to be good!”

Appearing at The Big Slapple at The Convention Centre, Gray was last here only a few years ago and is keen to see what all the hype is about the Fringe Festival. A real success story, Gray shot to stardom in 1999 with her iconic hit ‘I Try’ whilst she was a single mum living at home with her own mom. Her debut album ‘On How Life Is’ changed her life and, self admittedly, she didn’t handle success and all its trappings so well. “Life changes everyday, it’d really take days to tell you exactly how, but things are different these days. My kids are all grown up and stuff, life’s good!” She certainly looks like she’s enjoying things, and it shows in the video from one of her new funky new tracks, Hands, which is a breakaway from her more R & B/soul style into a more retro-disco sound. “We shot the clip for ‘Hands’ in a warehouse with a bunch of my friends, and we played the song over and over again for about 10 hours- it was cool- we had a LOT of fun!”

The album transitions, with a love song called Stoned  featuring the image of some of the world’s most famous faces and despite what you may think, it’s not necessarily about weed. “It’s a love song about how you can be in a relationship and you try all sorts of things to make it work….like when you just need to talk it out, get it out of your system so to speak. My music really comes from my own life, so this whole album is very personal.” Often relegated to the R & B genre, Gray sees this as inaccurate and insists in her own words that “it’s probably because I’m black and have a strong black fan base that puts me in that category, but I don’t see myself as old school R&B, maybe a 2015 R&B version (laughs).”

 With six studio albums and a Grammy to her name, Macy Gray enjoys the creative and recording process feels that live performance still provides the ultimate experience. “I love being in the studio, it’s one of my favourite places. I like making music, coming up with cool stuff, hearing different sounds, I guess it’s the chaos of it all. But being on stage is more immediate…it’s narcissist heaven you know (laughs). You get on stage, everybody’s looking at you and screaming…they’re very different experiences.”

Despite the rush of the stage, she still admits to getting slightly nervous about performing, although feels that she’s more experienced and it’s easier than when she first started out. “Oh yea, I get nervous a little but I think I know what I’m doing now, I know how to engage the crowd, talk to them and singing wise I’m as good as I ever was, so yea I feel comfortable once I get going. ”

In a candid interview with Oprah Winfrey last year (2014), Gray confessed that her quick rise to fame didn’t bring out the best in her. She indulged, experimented with a few things, and became an asshole (her words) in the process. Fortunately though, this isn’t the Macy Gray I’m speaking with and instead she’s affable, warm, and has the exuberance of a schoolgirl. The initial concern about her being a tough interviewee is long forgotten as she shares personal details about her teen children, her love life, and the positive choices she’s making in her life. “I feel a little better equipped to deal with things these days, not that fame is bad for you but it can be a big deal when you’re in the spotlight and you forget who you are. But it’s not exclusive to being a musician or actor, it can happen to anyone.”

On the subject of acting, Gray has successfully dabbled in film with roles in Training Day, Spiderman and Lackawanna Blues among others. Most recently she’s appeared in an independent film called ‘Where The Children Play’. “ I love making movies and I hope to do a lot more. I really want to work on my acting, and the craft, it’s not a hobby per se and something I hope to stay with. We’ll see what happens this year, I’d really love to be on a TV show.”

On what is important in life these days, Gray promptly lists her children above all, and enjoys being there for them despite having a sometimes rigorous schedule. She also shares a belief in God as something that has sustained her and has helped her to become a better person. There can be no doubt that Gray is a changed woman and has embraced her mistakes, using them for positive change. She’s really looking forward to hitting Australia next month and sees Australian fans as somewhat special. “The first album (On How Life Is) went Six Platinum down there, and they actually gave me my first plaque from my label. I’ll always remember that moment. Aussie’s are different, sometimes they’re off the hook, other times laid back depending on where you play…it’s always a different experience for me but always good.”

Macy Gray will be appearing at The Big Slapple (Adelaide Convention Centre) as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival on Wed Mar 11 and will tour nationally.


Interviewed by Darren Hassan

Twitter: @DazzHassan

Macy Gray – The Way Tour

Special guests on select shows TBA

Saturday, March 7, 2015 The Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. / 132 849

Sunday, March 8, 2015 Concert Hall, Perth. / 132 849

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin. / 08 8980 3333

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 The Big Slapple – Adelaide Fringe Festival – Adelaide Convention Centre. / 132 849

Friday, March 13, 2015 Lismore City Hall. / 02 6622 0300 / 1300 066 772

Saturday, March 14, 2015 Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane. / 136 100

Lizotte’s, Newcastle. Tuesday, March 17, 2015 –

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 Glasshouse Theatre, Port Macquarie. / 02 6581 8888

Thursday, March 19, 2015 Enmore Theatre, Sydney. / 132 849

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