Tamyra Gray

Last updated

Tamyra Gray
Born (1979-07-26) July 26, 1979 (age 39)
Takoma Park, Maryland
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Genres R&B, soul
Years active2002present

Tamyra Monica Gray (born July 26, 1979) [1] is an American actress, singer and songwriter, who finished fourth place on the first season of the musical reality competition American Idol in 2002. Post American Idol, Gray has begun acting on Broadway and television. She had a recurring role on the third season of the drama series Boston Public in early 2003.

<i>American Idol</i> reality game show and singing competition

American Idol is an American singing competition television series created by Simon Fuller, produced by Fremantle USA and 19 Entertainment, and distributed by Fremantle North America. It initially aired on Fox from June 11, 2002, to April 7, 2016, for 15 seasons. On March 11, 2018, the sixteenth season debuted on ABC.

<i>Boston Public</i> television series

Boston Public is an American drama television series created by David E. Kelley and broadcast on Fox. Set in Boston, the series centers on Winslow High School, a fictional public high school in the Boston Public Schools district. It features a large ensemble cast and focuses on the work and private lives of the various teachers, students, and administrators at the school. It aired from October 2000 to January 2004. Its slogan was "Every day is a fight. For respect. For dignity. For sanity."

Contents

Personal life

Gray was born in Takoma Park, Maryland and later moved to Norcross, Georgia. She graduated from Stone Mountain High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia in 1997. She began singing at an early age. She competed in several beauty pageants and was named Miss Atlanta in 1998. Gray attended Georgia State University, majoring in business law and entertainment management. Prior to American Idol, she worked a variety of jobs including daycare worker, party motivator, telemarketer, waitress, and running her own cleaning service. She also filmed Coca-Cola commercials and worked with artists like her friend Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and rapper DMX with hopes of finding an opening into the entertainment industry.

Takoma Park, Maryland City in Maryland

Takoma Park is a city in Montgomery County, Maryland. It is a suburb of Washington, D.C., and part of the Washington metropolitan area. Founded in 1883 and incorporated in 1890, Takoma Park, informally called "Azalea City", is a Tree City USA and a nuclear-free zone. A planned commuter suburb, it is situated along the Metropolitan Branch of the historic Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, just northeast of Washington, D.C., and it shares a border and history with the adjacent neighborhood of Takoma, Washington, D.C. It is governed by an elected mayor and six elected councilmembers, who form the city council, and an appointed city manager, under a council-manager style of government. The city's population was 16,715 at the 2010 national census.

Norcross, Georgia City in Georgia, United States

Norcross is a city in Gwinnett County, Georgia, United States. The population as of the 2010 census was 9,116, while in 2015 the estimated population was 16,634. It is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metropolitan statistical area.

Stone Mountain High School

Stone Mountain High School is a college preparatory and public high school located in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States, near Stone Mountain and in the Atlanta metropolitan area. It is one of the oldest high schools in the DeKalb County School System.

Gray married Color Me Badd singer Sam Watters (whom she worked with on The Dreamer ) on September 2, 2006, in Capri, Italy. About 45 guests were in attendance, including her then-manager, Lisa Braude. Gray's photographer sold the wedding photos to American press, and the low-key relationship soon became public after People magazine broke the story. [2] She is now stepmom to Kieran, Sam's son from a previous marriage. On March 23, 2010, Gray announced to Entertainment Weekly that she was expecting her first baby with Watters. [3] On July 17, 2010, Gray gave birth to daughter Sienna Marie. [4]

Color Me Badd band

Color Me Badd is an American contemporary R&B group that was formed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The original members of the group were lead singer Bryan Abrams, second tenor Mark Calderon, second tenor Sam Watters and baritone Kevin Thornton. They formed in 1985 and broke up in 1998 before reuniting in 2010, with various lineups since. As of 2016, they operate as a trio with Abrams, Calderon and Adam Emil.

Samuel Joshua "Sam" Watters is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and record executive. Watters was a member of the multi-platinum selling 1990s R&B group Color Me Badd and co-authored many of their hits including “I Adore Mi Amor”, and “All 4 Love”. Watters has also written and produced songs for Grammy-winning and nominated artists such as American Idol winners Fantasia, Kelly Clarkson and Jordin Sparks, and other superstars such as Céline Dion, Whitney Houston, Leona Lewis, and Anastacia. Watters is a member of the production/songwriting team The Runaways including fellow hitmakers Rico Love, Wayne Wilkins, Ryan Tedder, and Louis Biancaniello.

<i>The Dreamer</i> (Tamyra Gray album) Tamyra Gray album

"The Dreamer'" is the debut album by American Idol Season 1 4th placed finalist Tamyra Gray. It peaked at number 23 on Billboard 200 with a first-week sales of 39,000.

American Idol

In 2002, Gray became one of the ten finalists on the first season of American Idol , eventually finishing fourth. Her performance of the Burt Bacharach classic "A House Is Not a Home" was described by Judge Simon Cowell as "one of the best performances on television" that he had ever seen.

Burt Bacharach American pianist, composer and music producer

Burt Freeman Bacharach is an American composer, songwriter, record producer, pianist, and singer who has composed hundreds of pop songs from the late 1950s through the 1980s, many in collaboration with lyricist Hal David. A six-time Grammy Award winner and three-time Academy Award winner, Bacharach's songs have been recorded by more than 1,000 different artists. As of 2014, he had written 73 US and 52 UK Top 40 hits. He is considered one of the most important composers of 20th-century popular music.

A House Is Not a Home (song)

"A House Is Not a Home" is a 1964 ballad recorded by American singer Dionne Warwick, and written by the team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the 1964 film of the same name, starring Shelley Winters and Robert Taylor. The song was a modest hit in the United States for Warwick, peaking at #71 on the pop singles chart as the B-side of the top 40 single, "You'll Never Get to Heaven ". Another version of the song, by Brook Benton, which was the version that appeared in the film, was released at nearly the same time. It debuted two weeks earlier on the Billboard Hot 100. Benton's version split airplay with Warwick's, and ultimately peaked at #75.

Simon Cowell English reality television judge, television producer and music executive

Simon Phillip Cowell is an English television music and talent show competition judge, A&R executive, entrepreneur, entertainment manager and consultant, television producer, and critic. He has judged on the British TV talent competition series Pop Idol, The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, and the American TV talent competition shows American Idol, The X Factor and America's Got Talent. Cowell is the principal founder and chief executive of the British entertainment company Syco.

Gray was also featured on two tracks on the American Idol Christmas CD—a solo version of "Silent Night" and a duet version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with Ruben Studdard. She also appeared on the Idol Christmas Special on Fox with Clarkson, Studdard, and other finalists from the first two Idol seasons.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is a song written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Frank Sinatra later recorded a version with modified lyrics. In 2007, ASCAP ranked it the third most performed Christmas song during the preceding five years that had been written by ASCAP members. In 2004 it finished at No. 76 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs rankings of the top tunes in American cinema.

Ruben Studdard American singer

Christopher Ruben Studdard is an American R&B, pop and gospel singer and actor. He rose to fame as winner of the second season of American Idol and received a Grammy Award nomination in 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his recording of "Superstar". In the years following Idol, Studdard has released seven studio albums, including his platinum-selling debut, Soulful, and the top-selling gospel follow-up, I Need an Angel. He is most well known for his recording career, which has produced hits including "Flying Without Wings", "Sorry 2004", and "Change Me", but he has also segued into television and stage work. Most notably, he starred as Fats Waller in a national tour revival of Ain't Misbehavin', which spawned a Grammy-nominated soundtrack.

Fox Broadcasting Company American television network

The Fox Broadcasting Company is an American commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of Fox Corporation, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. The network is headquartered at the 20th Century Fox studio in Los Angeles, with additional major offices and production facilities at the Fox Television Center also in Los Angeles and the Fox Broadcasting Center in New York City.

During the third season of American Idol, she returned to the show on several occasions to sing "Raindrops Will Fall" and "Star", songs she co-wrote for her debut album, and to sing the National Anthem to open the final results show of the season. Gray also co-wrote the American Idol season three single "I Believe", which was performed by Idol finalists Fantasia Barrino and Diana DeGarmo. Barrino then released "I Believe" as her American Idol single, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.

I Believe (Fantasia song) single released by Fantasia Barrino

"I Believe" is the debut single released by singer and American Idol season 3 winner, Fantasia Barrino. The song significantly helped Fantasia rise to fame. The song was co-written by former American Idol contestant Tamyra Gray and was released on June 29, 2004. "I Believe" peaked at number one on US Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian Singles Chart and number four on Australian ARIA Singles Chart. It was included on her debut album Free Yourself, released on November 23, 2004.

Fantasia Barrino American R&B singer, songwriter, and actress

Fantasia Monique Barrino-Taylor, known professionally by her mononym Fantasia, is an American R&B singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the third season of the reality television series American Idol in 2004. Following her victory, she released her debut single, "I Believe," which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequently, she released her debut album, Free Yourself, which went on to be certified Platinum by the RIAA and earned Barrino three Grammy nominations in 2006.

Diana DeGarmo American singer and Broadway actress

Diana Nicole DeGarmo is an American singer/songwriter and actress. She rose to fame in 2004 as the runner-up of the third season of American Idol, releasing her debut studio album, Blue Skies, later that year. The following year, DeGarmo ventured into a career in musical theatre. She has starred in two Broadway, one off-Broadway and three national tours. She made her television acting debut in a six-month arc as Angelina Veneziano on The Young and the Restless. DeGarmo has since released two extended plays, Unplugged in Nashville (2009) and Live to Love (2012). She is married to fifth season American Idol finalist Ace Young.

List of performances on American Idol

Semifinals

On June 19, 2002, Tamyra became a finalist of American Idol.

Finals

During the season, many critics and fans thought that Tamyra would make it to the finals, and perhaps win. However, on August 21, Tamyra was placed in the Bottom 2 (along with Nikki McKibbin), and then eliminated from the show. The judges expressed their shock at the audience decision, while making supportive comments to Gray.

Music career

After American Idol, creator Simon Fuller signed Tamyra to his newly formed independent record label, 19 Records, a division of his 19 Management, Gray's first solo album, The Dreamer , which Gray wrote herself, was eventually released on May 25, 2004. The album sold 39,000 copies during its first week in release and has sold 122,000 to date. The H. Hector and J. Vasquez mixes of Tamyra's lead single, "Raindrops Will Fall," peaked at number five on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart; another set of remixes of the same song also hit number nine on that chart. Gray later parted ways with 19 Entertainment but remains close with Fuller, who attended her wedding to Sam Watters in Capri, Italy.

Gray performed a duet with American Idol season one winner Kelly Clarkson on Clarkson's debut release Thankful . The song, entitled "You Thought Wrong," was co-written by Gray but never released as a single.

Gray was a co-writer and back-up singer on Jessica Simpson's album A Public Affair , which was released August 29, 2006. She is listed fourth in writing credits on the songs "If You Were Mine" and "The Lover in Me", and sang back-up on "If You Were Mine" . The CD debuted on Billboard's 200 Chart at number five.

Gray also co-wrote the number one Billboard Hot 100 song "I Believe."

Gray was reported to be in the process of recording a new album. Gray called it more club-friendly, hip-hop-based project than her debut. She is also in the process of finding a record label. Tamyra tweeted that she was in the studio recording a new album with Ryan Tedder and the production team The Runaways which her husband Sam Watters is part of. [5] They had planned to release her album through a major label in 2010.

Gray wrote and sang the demo for "Powerless" off Kristinia DeBarge's debut album.

Acting career

She landed the recurring role of Aisha Clemens, a student in an abusive relationship, on Boston Public , appearing in seven episodes in 2003. She showcased her singing abilities, famously covering Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father" and Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You". She has had guest roles on episodes of Half and Half , Las Vegas , Tru Calling , What I Like About You (TV series) , Ghost Whisperer and All Of Us . With other American Idol alumni, she appeared on The Tyra Banks Show in 2006.

She has starred on Broadway twice. In November 2004, Gray was cast for a limited engagement of twelve weeks in the role of Priya in Broadway's struggling Bombay Dreams . Due to continued poor grosses, the show closed early on January 1, 2005. She joined the cast of Rent as Mimi Marquez on May 29, 2007 and was scheduled to play the role until November 25, 2007, however, that six-month contract was extended. Gray performed in Rent until June 15, 2008 and was replaced by Renée Elise Goldsberry.

In October 2005, Gray made her big screen supporting role debut in the independent film The Gospel , which debuted at No. 5 at the box office, and also had strong DVD sales when it was released to stores on January 3, 2006. Gray has one song, "Now Behold the Lamb", featured on the movie's soundtrack, which climbed to No. 1 on Billboard's Soundtrack Chart. Her second movie role was in the 2008 movie Rachel Getting Married .

Also in 2005, Gray appeared in a short film for H&M's new line of denim jeans, and performed the Dreamgirls show stopper "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". Tamyra was featured in print advertisements for the H&M denim and her version of the song played in H&M stores.

In 2011, Gray starred in the musical "Twist," a theatrical version of Oliver Twist set in New Orleans during the Depression, that was produced by Debbie Allen at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California. The musical was originally scheduled to run from June 14 to July 17, but was extended through July 24 due to strong ticket sales and a string of sold out shows. [6] In January 2016, she took over the role of Kate on the national tour of If/Then . On January 8, 2018, she took over the role of Papa Ge in the 2018 revival of Once on This Island . [7]

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
2005 The Gospel Rain Walker
2008 Rachel Getting Married Singing Friend

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
2003 Boston Public Aisha Clemens7 episodes
2003 Half & Half Zora KaneEpisode: "The Big Foot in My Mouth Episode"
2004 Tru Calling Carly AndersEpisode: "Death Becomes Her"
2004 What I Like About You Danielle2 episodes
2005 All of Us HerselfEpisode: "Creeping with the Enemy"
2006 Las Vegas PattyEpisode: "Like A Virgin"

Discography

Albums

YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positionsCertifications
(sales threshold)
US US
R&B
2004 The Dreamer 2316
  • US sales: 123,000
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Singles

Other songs

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References

  1. "Tamyra Gray Broadway and Theatre Credits". Broadway World. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  2. "EXCLUSIVE! Tamyra Gray Marries in Italy".
  3. "'American Idol' alum Tamyra Gray is pregnant". Entertainment Weekly.
  4. "Tamyra Gray, Sam Watters Welcome Daughter Sienna Marie". People.
  5. "idollive.net - Informationen zum Thema idollive". www.idollive.net.
  6. Desk, BWW News. "Tamyra Gray & Cleavant Derricks Lead TWIST Musical at Pasadena Playhouse this Summer".
  7. "Norm Lewis & Tamyra Gray to Join Broadway's Once On This Island".