Macy Gray: I Try
❤️The magical impact of the great American Soul divas like Aretha Franklin seemed lost throughout the 1970s and 80s. By the 1990s, the musical signature of Black America, symbolised by the Ghetto Blaster was stark and manufactured for the tough and mean unforgiven streets. NWA, Public Enemy, Nas, Notorious BIG, Tupac, Latifa…Politically, much of Hip Hop and Rap aptly evoked the stark realities of Reaganomics and W Bush but rarely inspired the soulful resonance of Diana Ross, Roberta Flack and other memorable divas.
During the lost years, singers like Whitney Houston, Eryka Badu, and male contenders like DeAngelo, Maxwell reminded us what we were missing but something deep stirred inside of me when I first heard Macy’s raspy, sexy voice on the radio.
Her voice was unique alright but so was Eryka Badu, evoking Billie Holiday. Maybe “I Try” did it for me because it was subtly in a sublime way and not a political hammer blow. And I guess for a million others, what the troubled times also needed were more hymns that inspired souls struggling to redeem their humanity in deeply personal and inter-personal ways.
Macy Gray’s songs became instant hits. My favourites were, “I Try” and “She Aint Right for you”, released as a video with Macy in tears, pleading, “Stay with me!”
Unfortunately, she herself did not stay long enough.
Missing Miss Gray ❤️
Notes from The Cut
Macy Gray’s raspy, rattling, soulful voice is one of the most distinct in R&B music. She released her critically acclaimed debut album On How Life Is in 1999 when she was 32 years old, and its most popular song, “I Try,” launched her into megastardom and delivered her a Grammy. In the roughly 20 years since, the Canton, Ohio, native (whose legal name is Natalie McIntyre) has amassed a global fan base, appeared in many films and TV shows, and released ten studio albums — Gray lives in Tarzana, CA – The Cut