Macy Gray is exploring tactile pleasures in the new video for her song “Hands,” a single off her Oct. 7 album, The Way. The video for the upbeat tune finds Gray hanging out with friends and using an unusual canvas for finger painting: a half-naked man. Yes, she is quite literally putting her hands on him just as she croons “got to get my hands on you.” Over the summer Gray also released the video for her song “Bang Bang”—yes, a different one—featuring swimmer Diana Nyad.
Gray talked to EW about writing “Hands,” filming the video, and hearing about the other “Bang Bang.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This is a really fun song. Can you talk to me about conceiving it?
It just started off with that guitar riff that you hear at the top and the producer kept playing it for me. And then, like, at 4 in the morning it just popped in my head, the whole, “Got to get my hands on you.” We all got so excited about it we finished it in like three hours. It was the fastest song I’ve ever done in my life.
What is the concept for the video?
The director, RAGE, came up with it. It’s just about affection, just about being close to people, putting hands on them when you’re dancing. It’s just a purely self-explanatory video about touching people.
What was the shooting process like? It seemed like a pretty fun video to shoot, what with all that paint and the shirtless dude.
Yeah, we had fun. It was like the easiest shoot I’ve ever been on, and it went really smoothly. Everyone in the back is mostly friends and stuff so everybody was hanging out, kind of knew each other. It was just a fun day the day went kind of how the video looked.
What was playing with the paint like?
I was ready for it. You know once you do it it’s like jumping in the pool. Once you get in it it will be fine. At first I was like I don’t want to paint all over my new dress, but then once we started playing with it I had fun.
How is this album different from your others?
It’s different in that it’s probably my best album as a musician. I feel like I’ve grown quite a bit. This record is a reflection of how far I’ve come as a singer and musician and as a writer. Just technically, as far as me being an artist I feel I’ve gotten so much better over the past few years and so this album really shows that off for me.
You’re out on tour again; what has that been like?
It’s been awesome. All the shows have been sold out. We’re doing small clubs because we’re introducing this new album. It’s really cool to see that people still remember the songs from like 10 years ago and are hanging out with me still today. And the new stuff is actually going over really really well. We did “Hands” last night and they went crazy.
You also released “Bang Bang.” What was the process of releasing that like for you?
It’s all been cool. It’s a new experience of putting music out back to back like that. It’s a new day in music and everything’s a little different now. It’s cool that you can make a video and then put it online the next day and all that stuff. But “Bang Bang” was an experience. We shot it at my house and it was actually the first video I’ve shot in a really long time so it was cool.
There’s another “Bang Bang” out right now. Have you heard that song? Do you feel competition with it?
I don’t know if I feel competition with it. It was weird. It was definitely like, WTF. Because I didn’t know her song was coming and I definitely didn’t know it was called “Bang Bang.” It was just the wildest coincidence I’ve ever seen. I had no idea. I was shocked. They are totally different songs I don’t think they really compete.