She really does, and I’ll tell you why…
In 1999, we first heard her raspy vocals wrapped around R&B melodies with conviction and pitch-perfect precision which turned out to be one of the most unique records we had ever heard. “On how Life Is” remains one of the finest releases of the nineties.
Now with her latest album “Stripped” (2016), she has softened, she has “adulted”, and she has shared space… along with sheer vocal fire—Gray adds authenticity, eccentricity and charisma.
Macy has clearly shared her love for the roots of jazz on “Stripped”—an experiment in time-honoured tradition— one microphone was used for the entire recording process. “We did the whole album in two days,” she told the Rolling Stone magazine.
However, what matters most to me, is that she is still entirely uncompromising. Her gravely sexy swagger is still unabashedly sincere, and she is still soulful… so very soulful. This throwback-revivalist-rhythm and blues-sound is providing a much needed counterpoint in the current music scene. Leon Bridges, Curtis Harding, Lianne La Havas, Ravyn Lenae, Gallant, and Daniel Caesar are just a few of the artists following suit.
I can’t wait to see her light it up live… and the sweet twist she will bring to all those cool covers!
From all accounts, Gray unravels herself from the superstar status of celebrity and instead comes across as a peoples’ performer from the first note to the closing chorus.
Mita Naidu sits on Coastal Jazz and Blues Society’s board of directors, and is the Director of Development and Communications at Wish Drop-In Centre Society