R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

Just Being Herself


Grammy-winner Macy Gray invariably puts her vocal stamp on everything she does. The Sellout, her Concord Records debut, is classic Macy. That she invested considerable time and energy into its creation is evident from the infectiously memorable title cut to the endearing hip-hop-flavored, obviously autobiographical "The Comeback."

The Sellout reflects the singer/songwriter and actress' ability to traverse varied musical genres. From the pop feel of "Beauty In The World" (video) to the decidedly R&B sound of "Still Hurts," the set shows Macy's creatively fearlessness. There's an obvious nod to Prince via "Stalker" while "Real Love" (featuring Bobby Brown) has a surprisingly lilting groove. "Kissed It" is a stomper, "Lately" a upbeat pop piece, "Let You Win" an elegant acoustic highlight and "That Man" is filled with Gray's wry humor.

Macy explained that The Sellout emerged after a tough period in her career. The lack of response to her 2007 set Big left her uncertain, questioning and dealing with the kind of flaky folks whose ranks fill much of the music biz. Fortunately, the star of the award-winning HBO film Lackawanna Blues didn't cave or quit but spent time delving back into her own creativity. The result is an album that is already receiving much-deserved critical acclaim, a reminder that being true to oneself is vital for any real artist.