Being 6-feet tall never has been uncomfortable to her. Rather, she thrives on her difference, including her distinctive raspy voice. Her new album, “Covered,” covers alot, including her uniqueness and comfort with herself.
“I sometimes wonder what my career would have been like if I had presented myself as the perfect girl,’ she reflects, chatting in a London rehearsal studio. ‘Beyoncé is a master of that. The image she presents is so perfect, no one knows what she is really like.
‘That’s a great skill, but I could never be like that. There’s an art to being famous and I’ve never nailed it.”
Ohio-born Gray, 44, is earthy and unorthodox. She is known for her quirky dress sense and refusal to kowtow to record labels. And while she concedes her refusal to play the game might have held her back, she is unrepentant.
‘When I look back, there are things I could have done differently,’ she says. ‘I was once supposed to meet the producer William Orbit, but I was at a party and that seemed more important. I’ve made mistakes, but you can’t go back and correct those.
“Maybe I could have been more obvious, and sang some old soul classics,’ she says of one of the year’s more unusual albums. ‘But I listened to how Nina Simone did covers. She did Here Comes The Sun and My Way, and made those songs her own. That gave me the confidence to take rock songs and turn them into soul ones.”