Macy Gray Confirmed for Founders Fest 2019

Andrew Barber

Beer and music aficionados will once again be descending upon Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the 12th annual Founders Festival, organized by none other than the Founders Brewing Company. Among the impressive line-up of celebrated music artists this year is R&B legend Macy Gray, the Grammy-award-winning songstress most well-known for her platinum-selling track I Try.

This will be one of her first major public performances since the release of her highly experimental album Stripped, which was produced entirely with binaural sound. Long-time fans will likely be out in droves, but in case you’re unacquainted, let’s take a look back at the life and career of one of the most daring and celebrated soul singers of the past two decades. 


Much of Gray’s early career reads like a music industry fairytale. Throughout her time in college, she was heavily involved in songwriting but never managed to land a gig of her own. It wasn’t until she was working as a cashier in a Beverly Hill’s clothing store that she got her first big break.

It was here where she met the LA music producing titan Joe Solo, who took a copy of her demo tape and promptly offered to produce an album with her. It was her first album, On How Life Is, featuring the hit-track I Try, which catapulted her to international success.

The next few years saw a number of platinum-selling records released, which tended to be more popular overseas than in the US. In recent years, she has been working on a more experimental sound and still retains a strong cult following. 


Gray is equally well-known for her unique personality as she is for her distinctive sound. She’s a lifelong supporter of charitable causes, having opened her own music academy for underprivileged young talent back in 2005. She is also an avid poker and blackjack player, having played in a global poker tournament to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity

Her poker and blackjack hobby is one of the most well-known aspects of her personal life. She has previously revealed to news outlets that she has wagered many thousands of dollars on the game and considers herself an expert.

She no longer appears on big tournaments, meaning that it’s more likely that she indulges her habit on online platforms that offer poker and blackjack, such as Buzz Bingo. Whether she’s as talented online as she is on stage is unknown. 

What to Expect 

As mentioned, Gray has departed significantly from her previous sound and style. Her light, raspy voice is frequently compared to that of Billie Holiday, a figure who has frequently been described as a lifelong influence.

Her recent recordings are all highly experimental, minimalist works that focus on manipulating sound through specialist recording techniques. This could mean that Founders Festival 2019 may have some surprises in store for fans expecting the kind of stuff she’s more well-known for.

However, it is highly likely that she’ll bring the house down with a rendition of her more famous hits. This is a music festival, after all.

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