WEST HOLLYWOOD, California — When Macy Gray said her new album would be big, she wasn't kidding.
Not only has the raspy-voiced songstress raked in the dynamic production duo of Justin Timberlake and the Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am — collectively known as the Jawbreakers — to helm the new LP, which is called Big and due later this year, she also locked down a collaboration with one of R&B's most celebrated vocalists.
"Natalie Cole is on the album," revealed Gray, who also laid down songs with Outkast and Sleepy Brown. Despite the A-list guests, Gray said she wanted to keep the outside influences fairly small. "We didn't need [a lot of guests]," she said. "The music is so hot that it speaks for itself." Gray also collaborated with Whiteleaf, a team of beatmakers who recently contributed to Floetry's latest, Flo'Ology.
Gray, who is currently in the process of mixing the album, said Big is "definitely the best album I've ever made," adding that it's a blend of classic Macy and new sounds. "It's [going to have] everything: hip-hop, R&B, rock and roll ... even, like, old folk music," she said. "We managed to come up with some new beats, so it's real hot."
Gray doesn't just have music on her mind. She has a small role as a madam in the Outkast film Idlewild, alongside Terrence Howard, Ving Rhames and Faizon Love (see "Outkast's Manager Swears Idlewild Is Almost Done; Group Plans Rosa Parks Tribute").
Gray will also be launching her new clothing line, Natalie Hines, this fall (see "Macy Gray Tries On Clothing Line, Rapper/Stripper/Burglar Role").