Macy Gray: Anything but Dull

September 29, 2017
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By Marley Amphlett 

Marley Amphlett talks with Macy Gray about politics, motherhood, music and addresses some of the feedback from the singer’s Perth show.

Following Macy Gray’s performance at Perth’s Astor Theatre on Wednesday night, a flood of articles swarmed online claiming that the ‘I Try’ singer had left fans bitterly disappointed.

Gray recently completed a European tour and has been performing Live DJ sets across Indonesia, Australia and Croatia.

These performances have been met with mixed reviews so far. A notably controversial show was on September 23rd at Finn’s Beach, Bali. A lack of communication left many fans disappointed.

Finn’s Beach have issued the following statement on Facebook.

“We are sorry for the disappointment of Macy Gray and are happy to provide a full refund of your General Admission ticket.

Similarly, the Astor Theatre performance got off to a rocky start, with some punters left confused as to what they were watching.

The show was advertised as a “Live DJ Set”, however show goers were expecting the songstress to perform her well known hits. The atmosphere improved significantly when Gray removed her headphones, walked away from her laptop and belted out “I Try.”

Articles about the Astor show claimed Gray was two hours late on stage. However, with doors opening at 7 and a support act who played for an hour, through to 9, the singer arrived on stage at 9:15pm; making her a total of 15 minutes late.

Facebook commenters made claims that she was drunk or high (alluding to her past involvement in drugs). Yet this is also not true as the singer was sober and only suffering from jet lag, from flying into Perth that morning, and fatigue.

Significant attendees at the show, author/blogger Constance Hall and her partner Denim Cooke, were left confused by the crowds lack lustre reaction to Gray.

Cooke enthusiastically leapt onto the stage and hugged the singer. “Can you believe some people left?” said Hall. “How can you not fan girl to this! Look at her she’s amazing!” she added.

Gray also noticed the lack of enthusiasm from other concert goers. “I ended up dancing by myself…it’s just one of those nights you know, but I did, I had a good time!” Gray stated during her performance that she would offer free tickets to those who were unsatisfied with the show.

Gray tells punters she will offer free tickets.

Images and footage by Marley Amphlett and Tom Ward

Despite the negative press for this show, Gray does intend to return to Australia with her band in April to perform the eagerly awaited tracks from her 10th studio album.

“The next time we come out we will have released a new album…it is the best album I have ever made. I’ve figured out what my purpose is in music and what I want to do and I think we really nailed it!

So what can we expect to hear on the upcoming release?

“There’s some really nice collaboration on this new album that I can’t tell you about yet!”

Gray discussed some of her past duets and covered tracks “I did a song with Kanye West once for a movie, but it didn’t come out…I met Thom Yorke in a lobby at an airport, that’s the closet I came to Radiohead!”

Gray rose to prevalence in 1999 when her single, ‘I Try’, became a worldwide hit. Grey describes her voice to new listeners as “Betty Boop smokin’ a joint!”

“That’s the best analogy of my voice I have ever heard!” she giggled.

Gray backstage at the Astor Theatre.

Images and footage by Marley Amphlett and Tom Ward

Gray’s other significant role in life is being ‘Mom’. Gray has three children, Aanisah, Mel, and Happy.

So how does Gray juggle a successful music career and motherhood? “Any Mum will tell you it’s challenging just being a Mum. There’s a lot going on, especially when they get older…you don’t know nothing until you have a teenager or a twenty year old! It’s crazy!”

So is touring a family affair for Gray?

“My kids used to come on tour with me when they were little, I used to take them wherever I went.” said Gray. “But you know they got older, they have school, they have sports and they have baseball games and boyfriends! …they need a life of their own” Gray explained.

Gray is based in America where the political climate is quite divided. But does Gray stand with President Donald Trump? “I hope that we are a powerful enough country to get past the whole Trump thing.” Said Gray. “I hope he doesn’t ruin everything for us…He’s not even provocative he’s just really an idiot!

Gray discussed her position on the ‘Take the Knee’ protest movement against police brutality and racial discrimination. She explained that the initial meaning behind the protest has been lost.

“Well it started out really innocent just Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco footballer), wanting to make a statement…then Trump opens his big mouth and just turns people off.

He gets on TV and says ‘If that was my football team I would fire them!’ now everyone’s kneeling and it’s like a ‘Fuck You’ to Trump.”

When asked about her opinion on Australia’s politics, in particular the same sex marriage plebiscite, Gray said she believes all same sex couples should be free to marry.

“I think as people you like who you like and you’re attracted to who you’re attracted to and you should marry whoever you’re going to marry…I don’t get where it becomes political…yeah it’s [the plebiscite] such a waste of time!”

With a career spanning almost two decades, who is responsible for inspiring Gray to keep creating new music?

“I study other singers…so I am constantly learning…It’s hard to say, to name one influence, because you’re so busy listening.

There’s Whitney Houston and Nina Simone and then you have a guy like Robert Plant, there’s so many greats!”

Gray is expected to be back on Australian soil early next year.

For more information on Macy Gray visit https://www.facebook.com/macygrayslife/

Gray during her Live DJ Set

Images and footage by Marley Amphlett and Tom Ward

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