Nancy McIntyre, better known as Macy Gray, was born in Canton, Ohio, in 1970. She was shy as a child and very self-conscious about her raspy voice. As a child, she studied classical piano and surrounded herself with all genres of music. McIntyre enrolled at the University of Southern California to study screenwriting.
At USC, McIntyre began to write song lyrics for her friend's productions. On one occasion, a singer did not attend a recording session, so McIntyre sung her own songs. Once her voice began to be heard on the streets of Los Angeles, McIntyre quickly developed a fan base. She began to perform with a jazz band at various clubs and hotels and established her own after-hours club, known as We Ours. At this time, McIntyre also adopted Macy Gray, the name of an elderly neighbor in Canton, as her stage name.
Gray signed a record contract with Atlantic Records, only to have the company refuse to release her album. Devastated, Gray returned to Canton. In April 1998, Epic Records signed Gray to a contract, and in 1999, Gray's debut album, "On How Life Is," was released. She received Grammy nominations as Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal for this album, but she lost in both categories. The next year, she won a Grammy for her song "I Try," and her debut album hit triple platinum in 2000.
Gray has struggled to follow up her initial album's success. She has released two more albums: "The Id" and "The Trouble With Being Myself," but their sales have been less than expected. Gray has also released numerous singles with other artists and also acted in two movies, including the 2002 hit Spider-Man.