Macy Gray's singing voice is a sultry, raspy tone that draws listeners in to hear her soulful, rhythm and blues
Growing up in Canton, Ohio, as Natalie McIntyre, it was her voice that made her a sensation when she first came on the music scene in 1999 with
her debut album, "On How Life Is."
Success and rock music excesses followed the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter into a
downward spiral of what she refers to as her "destructive period." Now a seasoned performer and mother of three, in 2007 Gray released "Big," her sixth album.
Gray has also found success in film and fashion.
Bankrate: Where did you come up with the name "Macy Gray"?
It was a name I made up. I saw it on a mailbox
in Canton one day and liked it, so it has no specific
significance in my life, really.
Bankrate: Can you explain how your childhood influenced your overall music?
I was a very shy, sad kid and very insecure. My
mother made me take classical piano lessons, so
I was alone a lot. I developed a really great
imagination and, being creative, I created my own
little world because of loneliness. I had a lot
of hair and didn't know what to do with it and
I wore glasses. I had bronchitis a lot and was
just a quirky kid who talked funny. I wasn't outgoing,
so I became an easy target for the kids.
Bankrate: So how did this affect your self-esteem as a woman in later years?
Macy Gray: I think it took a long time to really develop confidence in myself,
especially when you start out like that. You learn from your friends. When you start accomplishing things in life, it starts
to get better, but I think a part of the hurt always stays with you.
Bankrate: What's harder to take -- career or personal rejection?
Probably my career, because I'm so used to personal
rejection from when I was little. I mean, it's
still painful, but I'm so used to it. It's harder
for me to handle career rejection at this point.
I think you learn how to move on and maybe not
show as much as you mature. But I think an insult
is an insult, no matter how tough or how cool
you are. If someone hurts your feelings, you're
hurt no matter who you are.