Macy Gray is a pop and jazz singer known for her distinctive voice and outgoing personality. Natalie McIntyre was born on September 6, 1967, in Canton, Ohio. Her mother, Laura McIntyre, was a math teacher, and her father, Otis Jones, was never present. She was shy as a child and was frequently teased about her raspy, high-pitched voice. She was, however, a very creative person who learned classical piano and wrote music.
Her love of hip-hop and old-school soul fueled her musical interests as well. Despite being offered a spot at the United States Naval Academy in 1985, McIntyre chose to study film at the University of Southern California (USC).
A friend offered McIntyre the singing part on his jazz demo while he was still a student at USC. McIntyre, who had taken the name Macy Gray (from one of her father’s colleagues at the time), took advantage of the situation and used it to kick-start her musical career. She began by singing lead for a local band and performing at hotels and nightclubs throughout the city. Gray left USC in 1989 to pursue a career in music full-time.
Atlantic Records signed Gray in 1994 after hearing her demo tapes. She made an album with the label, but it was never released, and she was eventually dropped by the label. She returned to Canton in 1997 to teach, but a music producer persuaded her to return to Los Angeles. She signed with Epic Records and released her first album, On How Life Is, in 1999.
The album took some time to gain popularity, but after the success of her song “I Try” the following year, it received widespread critical acclaim. The album received three Grammy nominations and went triple platinum by the end of 2000, selling more than 3 million copies.
On How Life Is was followed by The Id (2001), which charted at number 11 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold (selling 500,000 copies). Gray also began acting in films, appearing in minor roles in films such as Training Day and Spider-Man. Gray switched from Epic to Geffen after the release of her third major album, The Trouble of Being Myself (2003). Gray’s fourth album, Big, was released in 2007 after a four-year hiatus.
Gray has since moved between labels and contributed to numerous projects, including solo projects “The Way” (2014), “Stripped” (2016), and “Ruby” (2017). (2018). Gray most recently sang on Busty and the Bass’s song “Out of Love” in 2020.
Gray was married to Tracey Hinds until divorcing in 1997. Together, they have three children: Aanisah, Tahmel, and Happy.