Macy Gray talks about being friends with Nicole Scherzinger (@NicoleScherzy)

There is an entertaining moment on Macy Gray’s new album where the American soul singer engages in a spot of studio banter with her friend Nicole Scherzinger, the former Pussycat Doll and current paramour of British motor ace Lewis Hamilton.

After affectionately mocking Macy’s squeaky vocals, Scherzinger suggests the wonderfully off-kilter Gray needs to revamp her image: she should become a ‘well-rounded artist like Britney Spears’ — or try singing like Alanis Morissette to attract Canadian fans.

We’ve been friends for ages,’ Macy says. ‘When you see Nicole in pictures, all you get is her glamour. You don’t get the personality that goes with it.’

The interlude is played for laughs, but it offers an insight into an artist whose eccentricities have often hampered her commercial chances.

Take a listen to a short preview of “I Try Is Cool And All, But…” which is a song from Macy Gray’s upcoming album featuring Nicole.

Nicole Scherzinger (@NicoleScherzy) will appear on Macy Gray’s album

Macy Gray is going the interpretive route for her next album, covering songs by the likes of Kanye West, Metallica and Radiohead.

Produced by Hal Willner, 429 Records will release Gray’s “Covered” on March 27. Gray chose mostly indie rock songs from the last decade that she has been performing live in recent years. Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” and My Chemical Romance’s “Teenagers” are among the songs Gray has overhauled. A few spoken word skits break up the music.

Gray, who was inspired by Nina Simone’s covers, will embark on a worldwide tour to support the album. She recently finished filming on “The Paperboy” that stars John Cusack, Zach Efron, Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey.

Her last album, “The Sellout” was released in June 2010. It has sold 37,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The “Covered” Track List:

"Here Comes The Rain Again" (Eurythmics)
“Creep” (Radiohead)
“You Want Them Nervous” (skit featuring J.B. Smoove)
“Smoke 2 Joints” (The Toyes)
“La La La (Teaching The Kids)” (featuring Layann Al Saud, Avery Albert, Happy Hinds & Siena Stelber)
“Teenagers” (My Chemical Romance)
“The Power of Love” (featuring Hugh Salk)
“Nothing Else Matters” (Metallica)
“Sail” (AWOL Nation)
"I Try Is Cool And All But…" (skit featuring Nicole Scherzinger)
“Maps” (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
“Love Lockdown”/”Buck” (Kanye West/Nina Simone)
“Mel Rap” (featuring Mel Hinds)
“Bubbly” (featuring Idris Elba) (Colbie Caillat)
“Wake Up” (Arcade Fire)
“Really?” (skit featuring MC Lyte)