"Figuring all that out took a long time," she said, of her past and her troubles.
Macy Gray rose to fame in the early 2000s after her Top 5 hit I Try broke through. Her popularity opened a lot of doors for her, but little did she imagine that she would end up feeling lonely.
Gray, 54, told PEOPLE that the sudden rush of fame and fortune that accompanied her whirlwind success was at once thrilling and challenging. "I got really beside myself for a long time. I was suddenly really wealthy, and I had a lot of people wanting to be my friend," she said. "I was just a real asshole. I was having a blast, [but] eventually it will make you lonely and miserable, especially if you're drinking every night and doing all kinds of crazy stuff."
The Grammy-winning singer, who will release her 11th studio album The Reset next month, soon found herself caught up in drugs and alcohol. Despite being "sober" for several years, she claims that lifestyle took a toll on her, in the early years of her success.
Eventually, Gray was forced to check her priorities after her 2001 sophomore effort The Id failed to make as big a splash as her first, On How Life Is. "I think it was just seeing it for myself that I couldn't just do whatever I want and get whatever I want," she shared. "Figuring all that out took a long time."
But it is all in the past for Gray, who now lives in Los Angeles with her two oldest children, Tahmel, 26, and Aanisah, 27, while daughter Happy, 24, studies photography in New York City She shares the kids with ex-husband Tracy Hinds.
Despite having various projects in the pipeline, Gray says she is happy being single—claiming that it does not stop her from writing a killer love song if needed. "I'm not a fan of dating, so I figure I'll run into somebody and they'll really light my fire, and then I'll have no choice," she says, joking, "Everybody says that you really have to work at [relationships], and as soon as they say work, I'm like, girl, I don't need any more jobs!"
Later, Gray spoke about how she just couldn't wait to get the chance to take The Reset on tour in May, since this is the first time she's actually made an album that she has wanted to make, since her debut.
"I'm letting a lot of stuff go and am able to focus on what I want to accomplish," she says of her outlook now. "It makes life a lot easier. I'm good. I'm still having a good time."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Jerod Harris