“These were songs that I would’ve probably written in another life,” says Macy Gray in her trademark rasp. She’s been asked to identify the common denominator linking the wildly varied songs on Covered, her stunning new collection of cover songs. “And,” she continues, “they’re almost all these kind of dark love songs, which is the mood I’m in right now – to sing these I-wanna-slit-my-wrists-but-I-love-you songs. They already said what I want them to say, perfectly.”
To the casual music fan, Macy Gray tackling a covers album might seem wholly out of left field – especially since the material she chose to reinterpret is largely drawn from indie rock tunes made over the last decade or so (Exceptions are Eurythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain Again,” from 1983, and Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” from 1991.) But Covered is not your typical covers album. It deftly redefines what such an undertaking is and can be, which makes it very much a Macy Gray project.
A gifted songwriter and dazzlingly singular singer, the mom of three teenagers has been overturning fan expectation and industry formula since kicking off her music career with her debut 2000 CD, On How Life Is. That musical calling card spawned the classic single “I Try,” and both the CD and single were massive global hits. They kicked off a career ride that includes multiple Grammys and MTV awards, over 25 million units sold, and a thriving acting career.