4.9 13
by Tamyra Gray

The wink that Simon Cowell gave Tamyra Gray when she had to leave the first season of American Idol (prematurely, many think) clearly meant quite a bit. Even though Gray didn't win or even come in second place, she now seems to have the most interesting and diverse career of any of the American Idol contestants. Despite some label problems early on, Gray…  See more details below


The wink that Simon Cowell gave Tamyra Gray when she had to leave the first season of American Idol (prematurely, many think) clearly meant quite a bit. Even though Gray didn't win or even come in second place, she now seems to have the most interesting and diverse career of any of the American Idol contestants. Despite some label problems early on, Gray remained prominent while she made her debut album by acting on shows such as Tru Calling and Boston Public and, of course, appearing on the third season of American Idol. And, with Justin Guarini's self-titled debut album a non-starter, the forces behind the show redoubled their support behind Gray, not only featuring her on the show but also entrusting her to write "I Believe," the song that the winner of the series' third season recorded as her first single. Gray also wrote or co-wrote all of the songs but one on The Dreamer, an album that reveals Gray as more than the elegant contestant who turned out flawless, seemingly effortless performances week after week until illness brought on by American Idol's grueling schedule claimed her voice. The American Idol contestants that have had the most success in their recording careers are the ones with the most distinctive personalities: spunky, down-to-earth Kelly Clarkson and sweet, big-voiced Clay Aiken. Their albums reflected these images, but The Dreamer's mix of old-school soul, funk and singer-songwriter pop acknowledges the ambitious Gray from the show and, in its best moments, suggests a fun, funky side that wasn't always evident on American Idol. Essentially, The Dreamer is the first American Idol neo-soul album, complete with horn and string-laden arrangments and back-in-the-day references, the most charming of which is "Good Ol' Days," a shout-out to 1985 where Gray sings "Fat Albert and Prince were my two favorite things." The Dreamer works best in this upbeat, funky mode, exemplified by its first two tracks, "Star" (which sounds more soulful and immediate here than it did on American Idol and the fun, nostalgic "The Only Thing." The album's ballads, however, are less consistent. Too many of them tend to be meandering and formless, and seemingly constructed of nothing but vocal vamps. Gray's voice is lovely and powerful enough to carry off songs like "Legend" and "Raindrops Will Fall" (which also sounds better than it did on TV), but "Like a Child" -- which, despite its interesting production, isn't much of a song -- and the pretty but rambling "Yesterday/Today" tend to make the album slump. These songs tend to raise the issue of just how good a songwriter Gray actually is; her voice is so strong that she can make even the clunkiest song, like "God Bless the Dreamer" (which, to be fair, Gray didn't write), sound better than it actually is. Still, the album has enough winning moments, like the sweet, old-school love song "17"; the sassy kiss-off "Ha Ha"; and the disco-funk of "Don't Stop (Keep it Coming)" to overcome its slumps and show that Gray does have talent as a songwriter that should be nurtured by working with stronger collaborators on her next album. Even though The Dreamer doesn't quite deliver on all of its ambitions, it's still a strong debut and one of the better ones that the American Idol phenomenon has produced.

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Product Details

Release Date:
19 Recordings Europe


  1. Star
  2. The Only Thing
  3. Legend
  4. Raindrops Will Fall
  5. Ha Ha
  6. 17
  7. Don't Stop (Keep it Coming)
  8. U've Only Got 1
  9. Faces
  10. Like a Child
  11. Yesterday/Today
  12. Good Ol' Days
  13. God Bless the Dreamer

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tamyra Gray   Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Sid Page   Violin
Mark James   Guitar
Keith Allen   Background Vocals
Guy Barker   Trumpet
Louis Biancaniello   Keyboards
Vernon "Ice" Black   Bass,Guitar
Cheryl Brown   Background Vocals
Denyse Buffum   Viola
David Campbell   Conductor
Chris Camozzi   Guitar
Larry Corbett   Celli
Joel Derouin   Violin
Armen Garabedian   Violin
Berj Garabedian   Violin
Jessica Jones   Background Vocals
Peter Kent   Violin
Josefina Vergara   Violin
John Wittenberg   Violin
Susan Chatman   Violin
Di Reed   Background Vocals
Eg   Bass,Guitar,Strings,Keyboards
Suzie Katayama   Celli
Bob Peterson   Violin
Derek Martin   Drums
Sam Watters   Background Vocals
Joseph Stone   Oboe
Darrin McCann   Viola
Luke Brighty   Guitar,fender rhodes
Tyree Mills   Background Vocals
Mark Jaimes   Bass,Guitar
Kecia Sanders   Background Vocals
Derrick Martin   Keyboards
Dan Smith   Celli
Yvette Mitchell   Background Vocals
Derrick Joshua   Bass,Guitar
Priscilla Jones-Campbell   Vocals
Dameon Aranda   Guitar
Michael Biancaniello   Guitar
Bonita Brisco   Background Vocals
Sonya Byous   Background Vocals
Ron DeShay   Background Vocals
Edward Eason   Background Vocals
Sterlena Hithe   Background Vocals
Roseland Holmes   Background Vocals
J & S Singers   Background Vocals
Demeka Jackson   Background Vocals
Cammie Knight   Background Vocals
Nicole LaBeach   Background Vocals
Felicia McNair   Background Vocals
Traneen Young   Background Vocals
Jimmy Fisher & Contagious Praise   Background Vocals
James McMillan   Keyboards
Mario de León   Violin
Matthew Funes   Viola
Postmaker   Horn
Guy Baker   Trumpet
Tamra Gray   Background Vocals
E.G.   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Louis Biancaniello   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Audio Production
David Campbell   Arranger,String Arrangements,Oboe Arrangement
Gil Cang   Producer
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Brad Gilderman   Engineer
Steve Hall   Mastering
Steve Kelly   Instrumentation
Toby Smith   Producer,Instrumentation
Simon Hale   String Arrangements
Eg   Composer,Programming
Andy Saunders   Engineer
Sam Watters   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Ben Chapman   Producer,Audio Production,Instrumentation
Derrick Martin   Arranger,Programming,Producer
T. Gray   Composer
Peter Murray   String Arrangements
Chris Dodd   Producer,Audio Production,Instrumentation
Derrick Joshua   Arranger,Producer
James McMillan   Programming,Producer,Audio Production,Vocal Producer
Sam Walters   Audio Production
Toby Smith   Audio Production

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Customer Reviews

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The Dreamer 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For her first cd this was great! Better than anyone of the idols. She is a powerhouse! Tamyra shows her vocal range with style. Her songwriting capabilities are good and will be better with time. She has a great sense of self and her songs are not stereotypical.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tamyra wow! Not only has this girl got some serious pipes, but her song writing talent is beyong her years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
tamyra makes great messages better singing them with her AMAZING voice! this album is a must have!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time I listened to this CD i thought it was alright. But after listening to it again, I realized how good the songs were. My favorites include "HA HA," "FACES," "RAINDROPS WILL FALL," "STAR," and "THE ONLY THING." The other songs are good, but I thought that these were the best. Go out and buy this CD!!!! Its worth your money!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought Kelly Clarkson's album and was disappointed. I listened to Clays and decided his song choice was weak. I bought Tamyra's based on her performance of "Raindrops" on AI the other week. I am blown away. It is a great CD. I think the song choice is particularly strong. I do hope this CD sells well as she is a talent that deserves recognition. She writes all but one song. I found it hard to find this CD in the shops so we need to get the word out that this is one of the best CDs from AI if not from any artist this year.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've waited so long for Tamyra's debut album and am so excited it's finally here!! It's so great and really covers a variety of genres. Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are very few c.d.'s that have turned out good from the American Idol Series (not that I don't like American Idol, its just they often get bad songs that don't showcase thier voices) this along with Clarkson's "Thankful" and Locke's "One Love" is a GREAT C.D. that is not collecting dust on my shelf. She has a diverse taste of songs that truly showcase her wonderful voice....BUY IT!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
"The Dreamer" is an amazing CD. Although I was hoping for powerhouse ballads you get a funky MoTown beat and lyrics that are fun. Tamyra did an amazing job having a hand in her music...this reflects in songs like "Faces!" Although "Like a Child" lacks the lyrics her voice and the power of the arrangement more than overcompensates. It is a great album with a beautiful voice and a striking talent!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Dreamer is a very nice debute for what should be a long successful career for Tamyra Gray. Well done. It's not he best I've ever heard, but well worth owning.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is absolutely amazing! Def. one of the best cds an Idol has put out. (besides Kelly Clarkson) If you dont alrady have this cd GO BUY IT NOW! She is a young Whitney Huston!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
the dreamer is an awesome cd and tamyra gray has a beautiful voice. she gives us a break from all of those depressing love songs about broken hearts and lost loves. faces, star, and the only thing are my favorites. i would recommend this to anyone who likes music, it doesn't matter what kind. the dreamer is the best way you could spend your money on a cd.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tamyra is like a young Whitney Houston.
Guest More than 1 year ago
She is the best person to ever sing on the AI stage. Rock on Tamyra! =)