Macy Gray interview

We caught up with the baby-voiced singer at Dubai Jazz Festival

Interview, Hot seat

What do you think of the Jazz Festival so far?
I love it – it has a fun, laid-back crowd. Our shows are really spontaneous, and we do a lot of mixing it up while we’re playing. Keeps it fresh.

Everyone knows you for the single ‘I Try’, but what’s your focus now?
I just finished another album, and that will probably be out by about May. So I’m working on that, and I read a couple of movie scripts before I left. It’s just the regular stuff, but I have a family, so that’s where
I spend my time the most.

Is it important to have a hit like that again?
I’m trying to get away, not from that song, but I think it’s really important not to be defined by a song. That’s my goal this year, just to keep pumping out a lot of music constantly.

You’re also famed for your distinct voice.
When I was a kid, it was my nemesis. Every time I talked the kids would laugh, so I just stopped talking. [Laughs] But that’s how life works out sometimes, you know. I’m still shy. Not as bad as I used to be, I used to be painfully shy…

Are your kids shy too?
My eldest definitely is. Then my other two aren’t, really. They all play music. My eldest is a drummer – she’s very, very good, she’ll do all this stuff and probably turn out to be the biggest drummer in the world. And my son has worked with a producer too, so it’s all great.

You do a lot of collaborations too. Is that something we can expect on the new album?
No, this album is called The Left, and it’s actually a new band that’s featuring me. So it’s not completely my thing.

What sort of music is it?
It’s still soul music, but there’s a lot of rock in it. We haven’t played together live yet, but they are guys I’ve known for a long, long time.

Is acting a main focus for you?
My first passion will always be my music, but I do enjoy acting and I’d love to do more movies. Part of it is becoming known as an actor and I haven’t really done that yet.

Is there any music around now that has caught your attention?
I love Florence and the Machine, and I’m a big Black Keys fan. I could listen to the Black Keys all day.

How are you finding Dubai?
I’ve been to a few of the tourist spots, but I haven’t got to any of the, like, ‘neighbourhoods’. I went to the mall and saw the ski slope, and the best hotel in the world – what’s it called?

You mean the Burj Al Arab? Are you staying there?
Not this time, but last time I came I stayed there. And I went to the beach. We leave tonight, unfortunately. Everyone jumps in the shower after the show and we go straight to Japan.
Macy Gray’s latest album, The Sellout, is out now.

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