Cleveland, Jan 27: Had it not been for a surprise invitation from David Bowie to open his current A Reality tour, Macy Gray would not have hit the road to promote her latest disc, "The Trouble With Being Myself."
"I wasn't really thinking about it, because I was involved with a bunch of other stuff," the funky R&B singer told Billboard.com.
"There wasn't a real need to go anywhere, I didn't think. But I love touring, so I was really glad that he did call. It's been cool because I get to play for people who wouldn't otherwise hear my music. And it is always packed when we go on. By the end of the show, everybody is on my side. It feels good."
While she feels upbeat about her music, Gray has experienced the tough side of the recording industry of late in the form of falling album sales. While the Ohio native's 1999 debut, "On How Life Is," went triple platinum and earned five Grammy nominations, her 2001 follow-up "The Id" shifted 593,000 copies and "Trouble" has sold just 116,000. All were released by Epic Records.
Still, Gray remains optimistic and obstinate regarding her career. "Yeah, the industry just really seems to be concerned about album sales but I'm just doing my thing," says Gray. "Every album has been really different for me. My first album was introspective and my second album was kind of a wild album. My label told me I could do whatever I wanted, so I did that. And then this album is kind of like a pretty kind of album, kind of calm. My next album is going to be completely different too."
After finishing her supporting duties for Bowie in early February, Gray will enter the studio for a concept album "probably no one has ever done before." Initially, she said the disc should be released by the end of this year, but she later retracted that forecast.
The Los Angeles resident remains busy with other pursuits as well. After filming parts last summer in two soon-to-be-released feature films ("Around the World in 80 Days" and "The Crow: Wicked Prayer"), Gray says she will pick one script from the many silver screen projects she's been offered to work on this summer. She is also readying the September debut of her autobiographical cartoon series "A Pretty Good Life" (network not yet announced), finishing her first screenplay and producing new R&B artist Jeremy Gregory's debut project.
Is Gray spreading herself too thin? "I'm having a good time," she maintains. "The industry seems to have this big concern about my success but I'm not really tripping on it."