NPR : Tell Me More

Filed Under:

Macy Gray: 'I Still See My Voice As Odd'

Play associated audio

Macy Gray says the whole point of being an artist is not having any limits or constraints, unless you put them on yourself. Many people know Gray for her unique voice and the 1999 hit single "I Try." Now 14 years later, she's gone multi-platinum, won a Grammy Award, and put out six albums. Her most recent album is a collection of cover songs, appropriately titled Covered. She's now touring with Grammy-winning saxophonist David Murray, doing vocals for the title track of his new album Be My Monster Love.

She spoke with Tell Me More host Michel Martin about how far she's come along, and the roots behind her latest music projects.


Interview highlights

On how she feels about her voice

"I still see my voice as odd. It never went away. I'm still in turmoil about my voice, but I feel very blessed that a lot of people like it, and that I'm able to sing at least good enough to, you know, do stuff like "I Try" and "[Be My] Monster Love."

On doing cover songs

"It's something I've been toying around with for a while, like doing a cover album. We did these selective rock tunes and turned them into my own version of a soul song.

"Any time you create something, it's naturally gonna come out as your own or your own style or what you're used to or what you're best at, you know?"

On collaborating with other artists, including saxophonist David Murray

"A lot of collaborations you hear are – you know, they're friends and they happen to be in the same place, and it all happens really organically. I used to studio hop. I used to hear about people being in-studio, and then I'd run and act like I was in the neighborhood, and then I'd get on the record, you know. [Laughs].

"We [Gray and Murray] did a show in Paris called Afro-Picks. It was a tribute to Fela Kuti and other African artists. And then ever since then, we've been working together. And now I'm doing a full-on tour with him, and we did a record, [Be My] Monster Love, together. So it's just sort of growing at its own pace."

On advice for aspiring artists

"Take the time to get really, really good at what you do, and then put yourself out there. 'Cause once you get really good at what you do, then people find you, you know. Then people start talking about you, and then they come to you. And your life gets a lot easier, you know."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Biography Of Your Cubicle: How This Became The Modern Workplace

The office has long been seen as a symbol of boredom: It's a killer of spirits, a destroyer of spontaneity. But reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says a new book brings out its entertaining side.
NPR

California Farmers Finagle A Fig For All Seasons

Two growers are competing to harvest fresh figs earlier and earlier in hopes of transforming the industry for year-round production. But some fig lovers say they can hold out for summer fruit.
WAMU 88.5

On National Mall, Native Americans Protest Keystone XL Pipeline

Native Americans from across the country are visiting Washington this week to protest the construction of a controversial pipeline in the Midwest.
NPR

Life Outside The Fast Lane: Startups Wary Of Web Traffic Plan

The Federal Communications Commission's proposal would let Web companies pay for faster access. But entrepreneurs, like Reddit's co-founder, are wondering how they would have fared with such rules.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.