Grammy winner Macy Gray emerged from the late '90s with one of the most expressive and instantly memorable voices in modern soul. But these achievements have been overshadowed by a public persona that we'll politely call eccentric (or, as some say, intoxicated).
While not a runaway hit, Gray's most recent album, Big, produced by Black Eyed Peas' impresario will.i.am, has the chops to deserve great success. Still, it's on the live stage that Macy Gray truly lets loose.
Last year, chanteuse N'Dea Davenport, who had been enjoying a respectable solo career, reunited with the U.K. soul-funk outfit Brand New Heavies. After a decade apart, the band dropped its new disc, Get Used to It, which finds a re-energized BNH offering vibrant alternatives to the drab platitudes that plague urban pop.