From Television Wiki
|Born|| July 26, 1979|
Takoma Park, Maryland
|Origin||Atlanta, Georgia, United States|
|Website||The Official Homepage of Tamyra Gray|
Tamyra Monica Gray (born July 26, 1979) is an American actress and singer, best known for her rise to fame as one of the finalists on the first season of the reality television program American Idol in 2002. She has since expanded into acting, most notably with a recurring role on the third season of the drama Boston Public in early 2003.
Gray was born in in Takoma Park, Maryland and later moved to Norcross, Georgia. 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 day care 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.
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. She is now stepmom to Kieran, Sam's son from a previous marriage.
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.
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.
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. DeGarmo released "I Believe" on her first single album. Barrino then released "I Believe" as her American Idol single, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.
List of Performances on American Idol
- June 18, 2002 "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" by Jennifer Holliday
On June 19 of 2002, Tamyra became a finalist of American Idol.
- July 16, 2002 "Touch Me in the Morning" by Diana Ross
- Theme: Motown
- July 23, 2002 "A Fool in Love" by Ike & Tina Turner
- Theme: 60' Music
- July 30, 2002 "If I Were Your Woman" by Gladys Knight & the Pips
- Theme: 70's Music
- August 6, 2002 "Minnie the Moocher" by Cab Calloway
- Theme: Big Band
- August 13, 2002 "A House Is Not a Home" by Luther Vandross
- Theme: Burt Bacharach Songs
- August 20, 2002 "New Attitude" by Patti LaBelle and "Feel the Fire" by Stephanie Mills
During the entire show, many critics and fans thought that Tamyra would make it to the finals, and even win. However, on August 21, it came as a shock across the nation, that Tamyra was placed in the Bottom 2 this week and afterwards, eliminated from the show. Many did not see this, as they thought that Nikki McKibbin would be eliminated. Nevertheless, Tamyra was not shocked at all, saying that she had seen it coming. The judges also expressed their shock and made supportive comments.
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 #5 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart; another set of remixes of the same song also hit #9 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 sung back-up on "If You Were Mine" . The CD debuted on Billboard's 200 Chart at #5.
Gray is in the process of recording a new album. Gray calls it more club-friendly, hip-hop-based project than her debut. She is also in the process of finding a record label. Tamyra is now in the studio recording a new album with The Runaways; they plan to release her album through a major label in 2009.
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 Goldberry.
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 late-2006, Gray announced on her fansite www.tamyra.org that she had left Braudé Management, and said she would look for a new management and label after finishing up material for her second album.
- The Dreamer (May 2004)
- "Raindrops Will Fall"
- "You Thought Wrong" (featuring Kelly Clarkson)
- Tamyra Gray at the Internet Movie Database