Natalie Renée McIntyre (born September 6, 1967), known by her stage name Macy Gray, is an American R&B and soul singer and actress. She is known for her distinctive raspy voice and a singing style heavily influenced by Billie Holiday.
Gray worked on her debut album in 1999 with producer Darryl Swann. Released in the summer of 1999, On How Life Is became a worldwide smash. The first single, "Do Something," stalled on the charts, but the second single, "I Try," made the album a success. "I Try" (which was originally featured in Love Jones and the Jennifer Aniston-starring romantic-comedy Picture Perfect in 1997) was one of the biggest singles of 1999, and subsequent singles ("Still" and "Why Didn't You Call Me") ensured the album became triple platinum in the US and quadruple platinum in the UK.
She then met writer-producer Joe Solo while working as a cashier in Beverly Hills. Together, they wrote a collection of songs and recorded them in Solo's studio. The demo tape gave Gray the opportunity to sing at jazz cafés in Los Angeles. Although Gray did not consider her unusual voice desirable for singing, Atlantic Records signed her. She began recording her debut record but was dropped from the label upon the departure of A&R man Tom Carolan, who had signed her to the label. Macy returned to Ohio but in 1997 Los Angeles based Zomba Label Group Senior VP A&R man Jeff Blue, convinced her to return to music and signed her to a development deal, recording new songs based on her life experiences, with a new sound, and began shopping her to record labels. In 1998, she landed a record deal with Epic Records. She performed on "Love Won't Wait," a song on the Black Eyed Peas' debut album Behind the Front.
In 2001, Gray won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "I Try", which was also nominated for "song of the year" and "record of the year". She then collaborated with Fatboy Slim, the Black Eyed Peas, and Slick Rick (on the song "The World Is Yours," from the Rush Hour 2 soundtrack), as well as acting for the first time, in the thriller Training Day. In August 2001, Gray was booed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition game after forgetting the lyrics to the American national anthem.
In 2001, she was the voice for Seeiah Owens in the video game SSX Tricky.
Also in 2002, she appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD in tribute to Nigerian Afropop pioneer Fela Kuti, Red Hot and Riot. She appeared on a remake of Kuti's classic track "Water No Get Enemy" alongside prominent neo soul, hip hop and R&B artists, D'Angelo, the Soultronics, Nile Rodgers, Roy Hargrove, and Kuti's son, Femi Kuti.
In 2002, she appeared in Spider-Man and contributed a remix of her song "My Nutmeg Phantasy" to its accompanying soundtrack. Gray also worked with Santana on the track "Amoré (Sexo)," for his album Shaman.
In 2003, Gray released her third studio album, The Trouble with Being Myself, to rave reviews. The lead single, "When I See You," became a radio hit in the US and a top-forty hit in the UK, although the album was not as well received by fans. Nevertheless, it became Gray's third top twenty album in the UK. A greatest hits collection and a live album were subsequently released: The Very Best of Macy Gray (2004) and Live in Las Vegas (2005). Additionally, Gray was featured on Marcus Miller's 2005 album Silver Rain, on a cover of Prince's 1986 song "Girls & Boys." She also appeared on the soundtrack to the film Chicago with Queen Latifah and Lil' Kim on "Cell Block Tango/He Had it Comin'."
Gray also performed the song on the short-lived UPN romantic comedy Second Time Around starring Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker in 2004.
She recorded a duet with Zucchero called "Like the Sun (From Out of Nowhere)", which featured Jeff Beck on guitar released in 2004 on Zu & Co., a duet collection. Her song "Time of My Life" was included in the soundtrack to 8 Mile. A cartoon based on Gray's childhood was being developed, but it never came to fruition.
She opened the Macy Gray Music Academy in 2005.
On July 7, 2007, Gray performed at the Brazilian leg of Live Earth at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Gray and her band members wore clothes bearing political messages. Gray's dress carried the message "Darfur Red Alert."
In 2008, Gray collaborated with Australian DJ and singer Kaz James on the song "Can't Hold Back." The single was released in early 2009 in Australia and is credited to Kaz James featuring Macy Gray.
In 2008, Gray launched a new campaign under the name "Nemesis Jaxson," with the single "Slap a Bitch."
In August 2008, Gray headlined at the 2008 Summer Sundae music festival in Leicester, England, performing cover versions of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?," Deee-Lite's "Groove Is in the Heart" and Radiohead's "Creep." For the gig, her band wore pink Andy Warhol wigs.
On September 28, 2008, Gray sang the American national anthem as part of the Israeli flag-raising ceremony at the Israeli consulate of Los Angeles.
Early in 2009, Gray recorded the song "Don't Forget Me" for the soundtrack of Confessions of a Shopaholic.
In 2009, Gray briefly competed in season 9 of Dancing with the Stars with professional partner Jonathan Roberts. They were eliminated in a double elimination in week one.
In 2011, Gray signed a deal with 429 Records and started recording a series of covers for her next studio album Covered. The album was officially released on March 26, 2012. The album's first single was "Here Comes the Rain Again" (originally performed by Eurythmics). On February 16, 2012, Gray participated in the Sanremo Festival as a guest, performing alongside Gigi D'Alessio and Loredana Bertè.
In 2012, she performed the Michael Jackson song "Rock with You" for a special performance of the West End musical Thriller – Live for BBC Children in Need Pop Goes the Musical.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey's Where Are They Now, Gray opened up about her problems with drug abuse, stating that she was ill-prepared for the level of fame she received. The interview coincided with the release of her album The Way, released in October 2014 on Kobalt Records. A world tour was announced shortly after its release.
In 2015, Gray was featured on the song "Into the Deep" by Galactic.
In 2016, Gray was featured on the song "Leave Me Lonely" by Ariana Grande.
In 2016, Gray's career continued with an album produced by Chesky Records, the record label founded by Grammy-nominated composer and musician David Chesky. Stripped was released September 9, 2016, and garnered unanimous praise from critics. The album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Jazz Chart. Earlier that year, she was featured on Ariana Grande's song "Leave Me Lonely" from her third studio album, Dangerous Woman.
In 2020, Gray was featured on the single "Out Of Love" by Canadian band Busty and the Bass. The band also released a notable cover of Gray's "I Try" in 2016.
In 2018, Gray was featured alongside Dolly Parton on a re-recording of "Two Doors Down" for the Dumplin' soundtrack.
In 2021, Gray competed in season three of the Australian version of The Masked Singer as "Atlantis".
On February 20, 2022, Gray performed The Star-Spangled Banner at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.