Grammy winner and multi-platinum recording star Macy Gray was having a very bad year. Her 2007 release Big was supposed to be her “big” comeback; instead, it was a commercial and creative disappointment, and a doubt-filled Gray was left questioning her future.
“Big was a wild experience for me. I really got into a position where I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my career, where I was going to go next, and if I had anything else to say or offer musically,” Gray recalls.
The temptation for many artists in Gray’s position is to play it safe and do what works for everyone else. In short: to sell out. Macy Gray, long regarded a musical maverick, admits she was tempted.
“I had all these ideas of things I can do, stuff I can pull out. I thought, maybe I can make a really commercial album, in the style of music that’s really popular now. But I got really lost in all that. I didn’t enjoy it, it wasn’t me and I didn’t sound very good on it.”
Thus was born The Sellout, a vibrant collection of 12 tracks due June 22. Named for what might have been, The Sellout is the comeback everyone expected of Big, showcasing both the smoky-voiced singer’s originality and her personal journey of the past three years.
“I just ended up doing what I do best, so that was my lesson learned: you can’t really be other than what you are most of the time.
“I had so much more fun being myself musically,” she adds. “Once I just resigned to doing my own thing, everything flowed really easily. But before that I was trying all kinds of stuff–stuff I’d never play anybody!”
Did she ever think of giving up, retiring from music completely? Never.
“I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t make music,” Gray says. “I think that’s one of the reasons God put me here. When I sing and I make music and I’m on stage I feel His glory. I would never abandon that.”