The MCJ lifestyle and entertainment section
“My album would probably be real wack or something,” she said, laughing.
After her last album, 2007’s “Big,” made a small impression and flopped, the singer wanted to work with trendy producers in hopes of duplicating the triple-platinum success she achieved with her 1999 debut.
“Oh, you name it, like, whoever was hot,” Gray answered when asked whom she had called, though she wouldn’t be specific.
She said she reached out to those producers because “I thought, you know, maybe I don’t know what I’m doing … I started doubting myself.”
When her calls went unreturned, Gray co-wrote each of the album’s tracks while collaborating with producers Jared Lee Gosselin, Phillip White and Chase N. Cashe, among others.
Then she decided to call the disc “The Sellout.”
“Once you become, like successful, then all these people come in with all their opinions, telling you what you should do and what’s cool and what’s not, and who you should work with. And then suddenly your art isn’t just yours anymore,” Gray said.
“A lot of that can affect you as a person and as an artist, and so it’s just about how I had to keep my head above all that,” she continued.
The 42-year-old singer, who won a Grammy Award in 2000 for her debut song, the raspy pop tune “I Try,” says she’s learned that the record industry is completely ageist.
“For some reason the record industry thinks that only teenagers listen to music,” she said.
“People who are 30, 40, 50 need to be musically inspired and motivated too. The industry’s so geared to teenagers right now and writing something for the 20-year-old, but there’s millions and millions of people that want their issues and the things they’re thinking to be expressed. They want a song to sing along to,” she said.
Gray says Susan Boyle’s success last year showed that a void is waiting to be filled.
“She had the monopoly on it because there was nothing else out there,” Gray said of the British breakout singer, whose album has sold more than 3.7 million units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Gray is the mother of three children, ages 15, 14, and 12. She says her love for music is evident in all her kids, but her 14-year-old son has especially caught the music bug. He co-wrote a song on Gray’s new CD called “That Man;” he also wrote the music for the bonus track “Lost,” originally meant for his upcoming mixtape.
“I ended up talking him into letting me have it,” she said with a laugh.
Gray is currently shooting Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.” She says she’s nervous because of her co-stars, which include Janet Jackson and Whoopi Goldberg.
“You want to bring your A-game. Like, you don’t want to be the one in the movie that didn’t do that good,” she said.
August 19, 2012 //
Question of the week: "Recently two former Negro Baseball League stars were honored by the Milwa...
August 19, 2012 //
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