Macy Gray is nervous.
She’s set to release her 10th studio album, Ruby, on September 21 and the wait is killing her.
“I think people are going to low it once they get ahold of it,” Gray says softly. “It’s just nerve wracking to put something out into the world.”
Ruby has already spawned the single “Sugar Daddy,” one of 12 songs that will also be available on red vinyl. Platinum singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor cowrote the song.
“She’s singing backup,” Gray says. “She wrote about half the song and she’s playing the piano. She was so cute. She’s so open and wanted to be a part of it.
“It was refreshing. We didn’t have paperwork and stuff. We were in the same studio and she just stopped in. She said, “I have an idea’ and we did it that night. It’s nice to be open and just not care. We just wanted to make a good song.”
On the forthcoming album, Gray also worked with guitarist Gary Clark Jr. on the song “Buddha” and producers Johan Carlsson (Ariana Grande, Maroon 5), Tommy Brown (Jennifer Lopez, Fifth Harmony) and Tommy Parker (Janet Jackson, Kelly Rowland).
“I hope we can do something together again,” Gray says about Clark. “I ran into him at Afropunk (Fest in Brooklyn). That’s when I threw it at him. I said, ‘Let’s do something together.’ He came through. Sometimes those things never happen.”
Gray rose to fame thanks to the 1999 hit “I Try” from her multiaward-winning platinum debut. She has since sold more than 25 million record worldwide, and earned Grammy, Billboard, MTV and Brit awards.
The recording of Ruby was one of her more difficult projects. Gray didn’t have a label and was “out in the world looking for people to work with.”
“I was trying to figure out what we needed to do for the album and figure myself out,” she says. “It was a big phase I went through, making this album. I’m glad I did. It’s paying off. It definitely my best record. I was blessed with awesome producers who understood me and where I needed to go as an artist.
“My voice has gotten a lot better from me doing shows every night. I’m a lot more seasoned, and there’s a lot more honesty and truth in it than before.”
Macy Gray, Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, 480.782.2680, chandlercenter.org, 7 p.m. Sunday, September 23, $35-$58.