Macy Gray has it covered at Milwaukee PrideFest 2014
Fri. June 6, 2014 by Gregg Shapiro
It's an awesome show and we always have a ball.
GS: (Gregg Shapiro) Your first album, On How Life Is, contained the huge hit single "I Try," for which you won a Grammy in 2000. What did winning that Grammy award mean to you?
MG: (Macy Gray) It's everything. It's really incredible. It's awesome, especially when you get nominated because all you want to do is win. It's better not to be nominated [laughs]. It was cool to be there and to be recognized.
GS: Do you have place of honor for your Grammy?
MG: Yes! It's actually right in front of me. It's in my living room, with my other awards, in a case.
GS: As a singer known for performing original material, you released a pair of albums in 2012, Covered and Talking Book, in which you interpreted other people's songs. What led you to those projects?
MG: It was something that I always wanted to try but my label was never into it because cover records historically don't do that well. Originally and creatively, it was on hold a little bit. I wouldn't say it was just for fun, but we had a ball doing it. It was like an experiment, something we wanted to try.
GS: Marijuana legalization is gaining ground in a variety of states across the US. Your new single "Stoned," as well as "Smoke Two Joints" (from Covered), are a couple of indications that you might benefit from such legislation.
MG: As far as legalization (is concerned), I'm kind of on the fence about it. I don't know if it's something the government should be in control of. It's such a culture. You have your own dealer and they deliver and they can give it to you on credit some times. I have friends that it would put out of work. It kind of takes the fun out of it. There are some states that made a lot of money (from it), but we don't know what they do with the money. Where is it going? I kind of like the marijuana culture. It's a whole underground thing that supports a lot of people who would probably be put out of work. I don't know yet. What do you think?
GS: It is its own little cottage industry. Government involvement would take it to a different level.
MG: Yeah. First they're going to tax it. It's going to be weird.
GS: In addition to making music, you have also had a prolific acting career. What do you like best about acting?
MG: I love being on set. I love creating characters. I love taking what's on paper and turning it into a real person. It's a major collaborative effort, so I always make good friends on the set. There's always a lot of people around doing incredible things you didn't even know could be done. I love the process of it. Of course, I love watching movies. But the process is always fun and challenging. It gets me
into something I haven't done before and that I'm not sure I can do yet. It always challenges me creatively.
GS: Are there any new movies coming out that your fans should be watching for?
MG: Yes. I'm doing an HBO movie. There are a couple coming out that I did last year. One's called Brotherly Love and one's called November Rule. I also did Lee Daniels' new TV show, but I don't know when that comes out.
GS: In June, you will be performing at Milwaukee PrideFest. Have you always
been aware of a following in the LGBT community?
MG: Oh, yes. We've always had. I could see it at my shows. I did a song called "Sexual Revolution" and it was on after that. It's cool. It's such a massive audience now. I think it's important as a musician. It's not like it used to be. It's not like, "Oh my God, a bunch of gays showed up at my show. What does that mean?" Now, it's necessary, because they're such a massive audience.
GS: Have you ever performed or spent time in Milwaukee?
MG: I performed there once. We were only there for a day. I've never been much to Milwaukee and I don't know much about it, unfortunately, except for beer [laughs] and the Bucks.
GS: What do your fans have to look forward to with your Milwaukee PrideFest performance?
MG: It'll be a really awesome mixture of all my albums and a couple of new ones that no one has heard. My new album comes out late this year. It's cool. It's an awesome show and we always have a ball.
PrideFest Milwaukee returns June 6, 7 and 8 on the Henry Maier Festival (Summerfest) Grounds. Single-day admission prices will be $13 in advance, $16 at the gate. Information and tickets available at pridefest.com.
Interviewed by Gregg Shapiro. Gregg Shapiro is both a literary figure and a music and literary critic. As an entertainment journalist, his work appears on ChicagoPride.com and is syndicated nationally.