Gray is back

Breaking the traditional, 'international barrier,' Macy Gray plays the Hebrew University's Student Day, with an additional show in Tel Aviv.

macy gray 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
macy gray 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
If you put on a great show, then it doesn't matter if you don't have hit records anymore. That's the message the Hebrew University student union has conveyed to American soul singer Macy Gray, who's headlining the annual Student Day concert in Jerusalem's Independence Park on May 20. Less than a year after performing in Tel Aviv, the raspy-voiced R&B Grammy winner will lead a lineup that includes Yehudit Ravitz, Shalom Hanoch, Idan Raichel, Geva Alon and Yael Deckelbaum. The show will be part of three days of celebrations in the capital combining Jerusalem Day festivities with student festivities. Among the attractions will be giant parties downtown, guided tours and young Jerusalem musicians and artists displaying their crafts throughout the city. "We thought it was time to change the rules of the game in the student festival market," said Carmi Wurtman, the show's promoter and CEO at 2b Vibes, in a press release explaining why a university festival, normally the domain of big name local acts, would break the international barrier. According to 2b Vibes international booking manager Hillel Wachs, Gray was the one artist who fit all the requirements. "We looked around to see who was available within our budget that would attract students. That was the main thing, to find someone that students would like, and it had to be tied into a specific day - which was set a year in advance. When we discovered that Macy was available, the student organizers were very excited," Wachs told Billboard (the one your holding). Gray's reputation as an electric live performer is what magnetized the students, not necessarily her recent recorded work. Since breaking out big time with her 1999 debut On What Life Is and winning multiple Grammy Awards, Gray has never matched her earlier peak. Last year's attempt at a slicker, contemporary style with the album Big, produced by a team including hip hop hitmaker and collaborations with Justin Timberlake, Natalie Cole and Fergie, didn't help restore her luster. But in performance, Gray, who will also appear on May 22 at Tel Aviv's Barby Club, can be a force of nature. And for Wachs, it's all about the show. For more information regarding Macy Gray's May 20 performance in Jerusalem, visit Her May 22 performance at Barby begins at 10 p.m. Tickets are NIS 170 and may be purchased by calling (03) 518-8123.