Song of the Day: “I Try” by Macy Gray

Is there a more distinctive singer in pop history than Macy Gray? Janis Joplin comes to mind, but even she is not quite so unique.

So rather than opine on Gray’s one hit, a sentimental ballad with an earworm chorus, I’m going to try and describe Grays voice:

  • It’s certainly quite raspy. In fact, Wikipedia states: “[Gray] is known for her distinctive raspy voice.”
  • Smoky? Maybe I’m just thinking of the raspiness the smokers sometimes have.
  • Her enunciation is all from the jaw, as if she has a stuffy nose.
  • I’m just going to say it: She sounds like Donald Duck. Listen to “I Try” again and imagine Donald Duck as a soul singer, and it kinda works.
  • Macy Gray appeared in the first Spider-Man movie, the one with Kirsten Dunst kissing upside down Tobey Maguire in the rain. That’s not really a description of her voice, except that I instantly knew it was her.

I don’t mean for it to come across as a complaint. I actually think her vocal timbre is appealing in small doses. It’s like swig of pop whiskey.

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