Macy Gray is often known as a one hit wonder, but there is depth to her career beyond “I Try”…
Natalie McIntyre (b.1967) in Ohio had been singing professionally for a decade before she ‘broke out’ with her signature tune, “I Try”, in 1999. Although she had performed live at several festivals around her home state and eventually in LA, initial enquiries into a recording contract were met with a flat “no”! It would not be until 1998, that she performed vocals on “Love Won’t Wait”, a track being recorded by Black Eyed Peas for their album, “Behind The Front”, that McIntyre landed a deal with Epic Records. Calling herself ‘Macy Gray’, she worked with The Peas producer, Darryl Swann, in shaping her own style and music.
Macy arrived with “Do Something” in 1999, which was a small hit in a few select countries around the world, but not America. She released her studio album, “On How Life Is”, that Summer, but it wasn’t until the second single, “I Try”, that people sat up and listened. The track would go on to become a huge hit across the world, topping the Australian singles chart and reaching No.5 in the US and No.6 in the UK, leading to strong album sales, that would eventually top seven million copies sold. Two further singles were lifted from the album, “Still”, a top twenty hit in the UK and “Why Didn’t You Call Me?”. Macy won a Grammy Award for “I Try” in 2001, the same year she re-grouped with Black Eyed Peas and Fat Boy Slim for the soundtrack to the film, ‘Rush Hour 2’.
Her 2001 follow up, “The ID”, arrived in September and would top the UK album chart. The album featured a contribution from Erykah Badu on the track “Sweet Baby”, which was a mid-charting hit internationally, although Macy seemed only to be able to sell albums on home soil from now on, with “Request + Line” with the Black Eyed Peas peaking at No.63 on the singles chart and No.31 in the UK later that same year. Macy mixed music and acting at this time, making both guest appearances as well as credible acting roles in films such as ‘Spider Man’, ‘Around The World In 80 Days’ and ‘Scary Movie 3’, released in 2003, the year in which she also recorded and released her third studio album, “The Trouble With Being Myself”, featuring the UK chart hit, “When I See You”.
With more TV and film appearances to her name, Macy released the albums “Big” in 2007, “The Sellout” in 2010, “Covered” and “Talking Book”, both in 2012, “The Way” in 2014 and “Stripped” in 2016. Her most recent studio album, “Ruby”, saw release in 2018, although sales and chart positions for all these projects were null and void. Macy did attain two US R&B chart positions with “Shoo Be Doo” in 2007 and with “Sugar Daddy” in 2018, while more recent years has seen her collaborate with an array of singers including Ariana Grande in 2016 and the song “Beautiful” for the album “Good Night Songs For Rebel Girls” in 2020. In 2021, Macy turned up ‘down under’ as a contestant on the Australian series, The Masked Singer, where she survived until the sixth round, before being voted off.
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