Macy Gray is keeping it positive these days. The pop/R&B singer's fifth album, "The Sellout," is due June 22 on Concord, and if lead single "Beauty in the World" is any indication -- "Stop and smell the flowers/And lose it, to the sweet music/And dance with me," she sings on the track -- the set promises to be uplifting.
"It's very optimistic," Gray told Billboard.com by phone from Amsterdam, where she was in town to perform "Beauty" on the Dutch version of "The X Factor." "There's a lot of great grooves and beats on it. "I think music needs some positivity -- everything right now is about going to the clubs or getting laid."
Video: Macy Gray performs "Beauty in the World"
The dance remix of "Beauty" is currently No. 3 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Club Play Songs -- a career-high for Gray on that chart, which saw her song "Sexual Revolution" reach No. 4 in 2002. Next up is "Kissed It," which Gray will unveil today (May 24) on Bravo as part of the network's "Summer by Bravo" promotion. The single, which Gray says is "definitely a big summer song," will be featured as the soundtrack for a pool party where "Bravo'lebrities" including Kathy Griffin and Rachel Zoe mingle and dance.
Gray also recently unveiled another album track, "Lately," during a performance on U.K. talk show "Later With Jools Holland." "It's a great disco song," she says of the track. The singer spent a year working on "The Sellout," which she co-wrote and executive produced, and worked with her go-to collaborators Team Moonslice on most of the tracks. "I just turned 40," she says of how "The Sellout's" lyrics reflect her new perspective on life. "I've definitely evolved as a musician."
Plans are underway for Gray to perform at clubs in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles leading up to the release of "The Sellout," and acting will also keep Gray on the grind this summer, thanks to Tyler Perry's latest film, "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf." Gray will co-star in the movie alongside Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kerry Washington.
But if you really want to know what Gray is up to these days, it's all in her music, she says. "This album is the diary of my life the past couple years. I've grown up and overcome things, and I think that can be inspiring to everybody."