In reality, I'm very restless, and I get bored very easily. It's the same with my career: I need to outperform myself with every film. I burnt myself out of skating. I was ready to focus on being a mom. But, then again, I wouldn't call myself an indie-rock supporter even if there are some really good bands out there and there will always be some real good new bands.
Like so many artists with downtime during the COVID pandemic Macy Gray explored many things, from cooking to starting her own toilet paper company which failed quickly she points out. The album is appropriately named because it is her first as an independent artist and her first as the official leader of a band, Macy Gray And The California Jet Club.
She has offered a few previews of the new album and the new band with the singles, the dramatic and striking "Undone" and "Thinking Of You," vintage Gray with a torch song feel. I spoke with Gray about the new music, the dishes she learned to cook during her break from music, the life-changing advice she got from Prince during an incredible two and a half hour meeting, Macy gray naked Oprah and Elton and more.
Steve Baltin: Did you do a lot of work during the pandemic? I know you have the two new songs now, but were you pretty prolific during this time, or were you more enjoying the rare downtime? Macy Gray: When it first happened, everybody said to take time off.
I was like, "Oh, you mean I don't have to go anywhere? I can't go anywhere? That's great news. And it wasn't like you could go on vacation 'cause everything was shut down. So yeah, I got busy, I got into things and started doing a whole bunch of stuff. Gray: For the first time in my life, I really got into cooking.
I just never knew that I would like cooking 'cause I can cook, of course, but I never enjoyed it or took time to learn new things or anything like that. And then I bought a bunch of bartender books 'cause I thought, "If the world explodes, people will still drink. I started making my album, and I was working on an idea for a TV show, busy stuff. I started a toilet paper company, that bombed and flopped in about two seconds. With stuff, anything, whatever I could think of. Baltin: What is the meal and what are the drinks you are making for your first dinner party, now that you have these new cooking and cocktail skills?
Gray: Alright, so I nailed steak.
I could be a steakhouse, like my steak is better than any steak I go out and get. That, and then I got really good at spaghetti, and my daughter taught me how to make macaroni and cheese, but that's not my best dish. And I've always been good with fish and stuff, 'cause fish, it's just not rocket science.
You put it on, you flip it a few times, and you have fish. But I got good at how long to cook it, and my mom taught me how to crust it and stuff like that, a little like restaurant-type stuff. But my spaghetti is out of this world, I'd kill every Italian restaurant with my spaghetti. Baltin: So now, next important question, what are the cocktails that go with both the steak and the spaghetti?
Gray: Okay, so we did get into that. Margaritas are sweet and go with neither, but I make really good margaritas. And then spaghetti and fish and steak, that's all wine, 'cause that stuff is so heavy, your drink has to be light as possible. Yeah, I didn't get into what goes with what, but I make really great margaritas. My favorite liqueur is Cointreau, Macy gray naked I discovered that goes with everything.
You can put it with a Coca-Cola, a diet cola, a coffee, a hot chocolate, delicious, and you'll get a proper buzz. That's my recommendation for today, Cointreau. Gray: What was my mine? Double cheeseburger and a large fry. That actually lasted up until my 20s, and then I fell more in love with pizza.
So if you're looking for some great gourmet health answer, I don't have it for you. I'm a terrible eater. Baltin: Were there one or two songs or albums or artists that were your early introduction into music? Gray: I grew up in '69, so I had all those big influences. When I was coming up everything was cool.
I have a bronze statue of myself, naked. i have these really big curls and water comes out of every curl. it's hot.
You still had classic rock, you still had all the Motown going on, you had the Jacksons, even jazz was really popular. Then I got to be a kid in the '80s, so you had the '80's music, you had reggae. So it was lucky to come up at that time.
And then hip-hop. I was in the fifth grade when I heard my first hip-hop song, I think. Anyway, so I got access to all that. Plus my mother was taking me to piano lessons once a week, and I had to practice every night for 30 minutes.
So I was really connected to all that. And my mother was a big Elvis [Presley] fan, so I knew every Elvis record. But as far as me just choosing someone, my first big [one] was Prince. Yeah, beyond, I painted my walls purple and everything. So that was ' And then you remember MTV was the '80s.
So and then all MTV played when it first came out was heavy metal and Rod Stewart, and so I knew all those records too. For my family and the city I was born, it was just black music. But what MTV did was it introduced everybody to everything. So I know all those metal bands, all that stuff, Sade, everybody from her to, I don't know, I remember Cinderella, all those bands. Poison, I knew all those songs. So I came up at a good time to have influences. Gray: Okay, so I'm playing the government in Toronto, and I look up, and I swear to you, nobody believes me, but I looked up and all of a sudden there was this light Macy gray naked, like it was coming from the sky in this balcony, looked like God was coming down.
And then we had a little break in the set where I step off to change clothes, and my tour manager said, "Prince is here. And then after the show, I got on my tour bus 'cause I was actually too nervous to meet him.
And he sent one of his guys out to my bus, and we went up, they gave us this private room at the club, and he talked to me for two and a half hours. I'll never forget one thing that he told me, and I didn't get it then, but I get it now, he said, "Just know that they're not coming to see you, they're coming for answers. If I had known that back then, things would be a lot of different. Gray: People just want to feel something. They show up and you make them cry, or you make them scream, or you make them take their shirt off, or they meet the girl of their dreams, or they sweat too much and then mess up their favorite shirt, they're coming for that moment, and they're paying you to give it to them.
Sex and drugs & shock'n' soul; singer macy gray lifts the lid on her highs and lows.
But he's right, it's not about you. Baltin: Do you remember the first shows that you saw that you had that feeling as a fan? Gray: Yeah, my first show I ever went to was Jackson Five, and that was way back. He was still, I think, a teenager maybe, and they used to perform and then run through the aisles and let all the girls chase them. And I remember Michael running up the aisle, and my mom is the one who caught him, and she pinched his cheeks. Meanwhile she's in her 30s, catching some little year-old.
I don't know how old he was, but I remember that very specifically, every minute of that, I remember. And then I went to see Prince a bunch of times. And I remember watching his band, and after Macy gray naked saw his band, when I had a real, real band, I made them do steps like he used to do.
Remember the Revolution had all those little steps? And I remember going to see Lenny Kravitz. I went to see him backstage, and he said, "We rehearse six hours a day for six weeks straight.