The DJ booth up on the W Scottsdale Hotel's WET Deck will host a special guest spin session tonight, and its someone you might not normally associate with the world of turntables and club nights.
Grammy-winning R&B singer Macy Gray will dialing up tracks on the mixers during her set this evening during the W's Thursday Night Swim and "Carribbean Cool Down" party. And best of all, you won't have to pay the usual Old Town cover charges to witness her set, as admission is free.
Mixing and matching tracks behind the turntables is just one of the ways the neo-soul chanteuse, who topped charts in the late 1990s and early aughts with such female R&B contemporaries as Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, has been changing things up in her music career over the past few years.
In addition to mussing up her signature afro with headphones and dabbling in the DJ world since 2008, Gray's most recent album Covered is a departure from her previous work and contains, as its title portends, soul and R&B covers of such rock and indie songs as Radiohead's "Creep," Wake Up" by Arcade Fire, and Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters."
Gray's reportedly dropped a few of said covers during the occasional DJ gigs she's performed at club and nightlife gigs around North America, including the swank Yoshi's Lounge in San Francisco, Boston's Wilbur Theatre, and the Time Supper Club in Montreal.
Her act is more in the selector vein than a session filled with beat-juggling or manufactured beat as she also works in various funk and soul hits as "Groove is in the Heart" and "Lady Marmalade" (thankfully, the original 1975 Labelle version and not the execrable 2001 tribute from the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack). She's also known to grab a mic and lend her velvet voice to whatever track that's being spun at any particular moment.
If nothing else, it should give tonight's island-themed affair at the W a certain funky feel. And even though admission is free, it's recommended you "dress to impress" (as with any event at the ultra-selective hotel) and leave your Macy Gray tee shirt at home.