Macy Gray was born in Canton, Ohio, to Laura McIntyre, a math teacher, and Otis Jones. While studying scriptwriting at the University of Southern California, she agreed to write songs for a friend, and a demo session was scheduled for the songs to be recorded by another singer. When the vocalist failed to turn up, Gray recorded them herself. She then met writer/producer Joe Solo while working as a cashier in Beverly Hills. Together, they wrote a large collection of songs and recorded them in Solo’s studio. The demo tape landed Gray the opportunity to sing at jazz cafés in Los Angeles. Despite Gray’s dislike of her own voice, Atlantic Records signed her. She began recording her debut record but was dropped from the label upon the departure of her A&R man Tom Carolan, who signed her to the label. Macy returned to Ohio but in 1997 Los Angeles based Zomba Publishing Sr. VP A&R man Jeff Blue, convinced her to return to music and signed her to a development deal, recording new songs based on her life experiences, with a new sound, and began shopping her to record labels. In 1998, she landed a record deal with Epic Records. She was on one of the songs from the Black Eyed Peas’ debut album, “Love Won’t Wait”.