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Macy Gray hopeful for a ‘Sellout’ at the Wilbur

Shelly Runyon
Macy Gray hopeful for a ‘Sellout’ at the Wilbur

Macy Gray is on her way to Boston.

On Sept. 30, Gray says she will be singing for equal rights as she headlines MassEquality’s benefit at the Wilbur Theatre.

Expect to see a “real” show with a lot of “raw” elements, Gray said. “I’m very passionate about my country and I want to do anything I can to make it better,” she said, later explaining that it was an easy choice to say yes to MassEquality when they approachd her about a Boston performance.

Fascinated by politics, Gray has a strong political history.  She endorsed Barack Obama for president two years before he was a candidate; she wrote the song “Everybody,” in 2008 which she tied to a music-video that encouraged people to stand up for what they believe in and get out the vote; she participated in PETA’s “I’d rather go naked than wear fur campaign;” and she has been known to play poker for more than one good cause.

“I think as a human and as an American you are responsible to participate in the politics of your country,” she said.  “As an artist [when I’m recording] I don’t think about politics or humanitarian issues, but I would love to.” She said she’s most comfortable singing love songs and she hasn’t found commercial success in political songs, but would love to be like Bob Marley.  

The message of equality is one that Gray can relate. She said that she has never fit in: being black; a woman; and a single mother, “everything about me” is different she explained.  

“When I’m discriminated against, I know how to handle it so well, it just bounces right off of me,” she said. “You just learn how to deal with it, and keep it moving, and just focus on the people who like you as who you are.”

MassEquality is an organization that protects and promotes equality for same-sex marriages as well as advances lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Staying positive and keeping it moving are two things Gray does well. She had a tough time getting her latest album, “The Sellout,” off the ground.  Initially, she wanted it to be a commercial album with big-name collaborators, but plans fell through.

Without a major label backing the album, she decided to record the music that she loved on her own time. She found a “dirt-cheap” studio and spent months pushing herself to come up with music that felt right for her. She said she hopes this 45-minute album will leave people feeling, “enlightened” and “positive.”

The first single released off the album, “Beauty In The World,” is upbeat and poppy. She follows that single with a duet between her and Bobby Brown on “Real Love.”

“This is what I do best,” Gray said, “just make music that is upbeat” and makes people want to “just go out, have sex and dance.”

Gray promises more of the same in Boston next week. “We’ll be doing things we’ve never done,” she said. “Just come out and see the show and we’ll have a good time!”