Bonnie McKee

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Bonnie McKee
McKee at The Citadel Outlets' 12th Annual Tree Lighting Concert in Commerce, California on November 9, 2013.
Background information
Birth name Bonnie Leigh McKee
Born (1984-01-20) January 20, 1984 (age 30)
Vacaville, California
Genres Pop, dance-pop, synthpop, pop rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, actress
Instruments Vocals, piano
Years active 2002–present
Labels Reprise, Epic, Kemosabe
Associated acts Katy Perry

Bonnie Leigh McKee (born January 20, 1984) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Her debut album, Trouble, was released in 2004.[1] McKee released the lead single from her currently untitled second studio album "American Girl" in July 2013.[2] Her second studio album is scheduled for release in Spring 2014.

McKee has co-written eight singles that have reached #1 in the United States or the United Kingdom,[3][4][5][6][7] which have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide combined.[8][9][10][11] She has also co-written over 50 songs that have been recorded by other artists. McKee is particularly known for collaborating with pop singer Katy Perry, and the duo have co-written the hits "California Gurls," "Teenage Dream," "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," "Part of Me," "Wide Awake," and "Roar" together. McKee also co-wrote "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz, which became the second best-selling song by a British artist in the digital era.[12] Throughout her career as a songwriter, McKee has also written for Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Lea Michele, Ke$ha, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepsen, Leona Lewis and Adam Lambert, among others.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Bonnie McKee was born in Vacaville, California and raised in Seattle, Washington.[13] She studied classical piano and became a member of the Seattle Girls Choir Prime Voci at age 12, and toured with the choir throughout North America and Europe. She recorded two albums with the choir, titled Jackson Berkey Meets The Seattle Girls' Choir and Cantate 2000.[14] She briefly attended The Bush School, where she recorded a demo as part of a class project, before being kicked out soon after.[15] At age 12, McKee's mother gave a demo CD featuring her singing Bette Midler and Fiona Apple songs to a friend of hers, the co-founder of the Sub Pop label, Jonathon Poneman, who was intrigued by her songwriting talents. According to McKee, this was the moment when she realized she had to be "more than just a singer," but a songwriter as well.[13]

2004–05: Trouble[edit]

By age 15, McKee was writing songs and performing in the Seattle area. McKee’s raw demo tape got to Colin Filkow, an ex-Priority Records label executive. Filkow recognized that she was a rare talent and signed her to his management company, Platinum Partners Artist Management in Beverly Hills. He flew her to LA, and welcomed her into his family, she was only 17 at the time. He inspired her to sing and write songs and to trust her instincts. Filkow took Bonnie's demo to dozens of labels, publishers, agents and entertainment lawyers. After more than a year Filkow signed Bonnie to Warner Bros Records in one of the most lucrative signings ever for a new artist.

Her debut album Trouble was produced by Rob Cavallo and commercially released on September 28, 2004.[16] McKee performed the single "Somebody" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and the song was featured in the motion picture Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! The music video for "Somebody" was directed by Wayne Isham, and was featured on MTV's Buzzworthy and VH1's You Oughta Know. Trouble received positive reviews in Blender, Nylon, The Los Angeles Times, and Teen People, but was commercially unsuccessful. McKee began work on a second studio album, which never came to fruition.[15] According to McKee, she "downward-spiraled" and began to abuse crystal meth, an addiction she struggled with for several years.[17] She was dropped from the label after defacing the CEO's car with lipstick during the middle of the night.[17]

2006–11: Songwriting and acting roles[edit]

McKee has co-written worldwide hit singles with Katy Perry (left) and Taio Cruz (right).

Following her release from Reprise Records, McKee spent many hours in the recording studio, learning how to use Pro Tools and crafting new songs. She also focused on acting, landing a role in the motion picture August Rush and appearing on the television series CSI: NY and American Dreams. In 2011, she appeared as a guest judge on Bravo's Platinum Hit with Kara Dioguardi and Jewel.[18]

In 2009, McKee was introduced to music producer Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, by her manager Josh Abraham. Gottwald had collaborated with McKee's longtime friend Katy Perry on her debut album One of the Boys. Together, they (along with Max Martin and Benny Blanco) began writing songs, ultimately producing the hits that would appear on Perry's second album, Teenage Dream which went on to become multi-platinum worldwide. McKee co-wrote three singles from the album, "California Gurls," "Teenage Dream" and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)" each of which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold millions of copies around the world,[19][20] also earning McKee several BMI Pop Awards in 2011 and 2012 for her role as a songwriter.[21][22] McKee also co-wrote three other #1 hits during this period, Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me," Taio Cruz's "Dynamite," Rita Ora's "How We Do (Party)," as well as Perry's singles from Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, "Wide Awake" and "Part of Me."

2012–present: Songwriting, "American Girl," and second studio album[edit]

McKee performing live in Commerce, California, on November 9, 2013.

In 2012, McKee co-wrote two songs that appeared on Adam Lambert's album Trespassing, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart.[23] She also appeared as a featured performer on "Thunder" from Rusko's album Songs, released on Mad Decent.[24] She also co-wrote songs that were later recorded by Christina Aguilera, Kesha, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cody Simpson and Rita Ora, as well as others. McKee recently signed a recording contract as a solo artist with Epic Records,[25] and is currently at work on her second studio album. She has garnered recent attention for her fashion sense, appearing on E! Entertainment Television's Fashion Police,[26] and appearing on the pages of the New York Times, New York Post, and Schön! Magazine. In 2013, McKee was awarded with three more BMI Pop awards for her songwriting work on Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" and "Part of Me" as well as Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me."[27]

McKee performing on the KIIS Jingle Ball Village Stage at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in 2013

McKee's second album is scheduled for release in Spring 2014. The lead single is "American Girl." The song was released on July 23, 2013.[28] She posted a promotional video for "American Girl" on YouTube in June 2013 which featured several cameo appearances by Katy Perry, Nicole Scherzinger, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kesha, Jenny McCarthy, Kelly Osbourne, Adam Lambert, Jason Derulo, Becky G, Joan Rivers, Macklemore, Karmin, Taio Cruz, Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe, Kiss, Jane Lynch, George Takei, Kathy Griffin, Lance Bass, Jewel and other artists. The official music video for the song was released on July 22, 2013.[29] In October, McKee released a new song titled "Sleepwalker." McKee confirmed that the song was not her forthcoming album's official second single, but rather an "inbetweengle," a portmanteau meaning "in between single," meant to tide fans over until her next official release.[30] The music video premiered on October 17, 2013 and starred McKee and Kelsey Chow.[31] McKee announced on a live uStream that should would be releasing a visual EP in May, which will lead up to the release of her second album.[32] A second single, "S.L.A.Y" will be released at the end of April. The song was premiered during Karmin's "Pulses" tour, which she will be opening for.[33][34]

Personal life[edit]

McKee identifies as bisexual, stating on an episode of In Bed with Joan "I think it's one of those things where, you know, I think all little girls kind of play 'doctor' with their girlfriends, and then I kind of never grew out of it." She has been in a long-term relationship with a man for seven years.[35]

Songwriting discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

BMI Pop Music Awards

  • 2013 ("Part of Me" Katy Perry)
  • 2013 ("Wide Awake" Katy Perry)
  • 2013 ("Hold It Against Me" Britney Spears)
  • 2012 ("Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" Katy Perry)
  • 2012 ("Teenage Dream" Katy Perry)
  • 2012 ("Dynamite" Taio Cruz)
  • 2011 (“Dynamite” Taio Cruz)
  • 2011 (“California Gurls," Katy Perry)

Grammy Awards



Title Album details


List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US Pop
"Somebody" 2004 Trouble
"American Girl" 2013 87 25 51 39 82 TBA
"S.L.A.Y." 2014 To Be Released


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! Singer Uncredited
2004 American Dreams Janis Joplin Episode: "Shoot the Moon"
2007 August Rush Lizzy
2009 CSI: NY Eleanor Ravelle Episode:"Help"


  1. ^ Trouble - Bonnie McKee : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic
  2. ^ "iTunes - Music - American Girl - Single by Bonnie McKee". Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Katy Perry Closing In On Michael Jackson's #1 Singles Record - Music, Celebrity, Artist News |
  4. ^ Britney Spears 'Hold It Against Me' hits #1 spot - PopWrap
  5. ^
  6. ^ Rita Ora bags third consecutive UK #1 single with ‘How We Do’… :Toya'z World // Urban Pop Culture at your Beck & Call…
  7. ^ Trust, Gary (2013-09-04). "Katy Perry Dethrones Robin Thicke Atop Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  8. ^ Katy Perry Breaks Own Digital Sales Record With 'Last Friday Night,' Closing in on Michael Jackson No. 1s Record | Billboard
  9. ^ RIAA - Country Days Of Summer - May 21, 2013
  10. ^
  11. ^ Trust, Gary (2013-09-11). "Katy Perry Rules Hot 100 For Second Week Lorde Reaches Top 3". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  12. ^ The Nielsen Company & Billboard’s 2011 Music Industry Report | Business Wire
  13. ^ a b "Bonnie McKee, ABC TV Show Music & Songs by Artist". ABC. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Cantate 2000: Seattle Girls Choir, Jerome Wright (Conductor), Jackson Berkey (Composer), Jackson Berkey, Seattle Girls¿ Choir ¿ Prime Voci" "Carrie Brady" "Helen L...
  15. ^ a b Fallon, Kevin. "Bonnie McKee Strikes Out on Her Own". NewsWeek. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  16. ^ Trouble - Bonnie McKee : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic
  17. ^ a b Diehl, Matt. "Singles Lady: Bonnie McKee Is Looking Out For Number One". Billboard. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Platinum Hit Season 1 - Bonnie McKee Creates a Photograph with Every Lyric - Video - Bravo TV Official Site
  19. ^
  20. ^ Katy Perry Sells Most Digital Singles in Dismal Year For Record Sales | Music News | Rolling Stone
  21. ^ 2011 BMI Pop Music Award List | Press |
  22. ^ Carole King Named BMI Icon at 60th Annual BMI Pop Awards | News |
  23. ^ Adam Lambert Scores First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 With 'Trespassing' | Billboard
  24. ^ Songs - Rusko : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic
  25. ^ Bonnie McKee, 'Teenage Dream' Co-Writer, Signs With Epic Records - The Hollywood Reporter
  26. ^ Fashion Police Show: A Style Perp Fights Back! on Fashion Police | E! Online
  27. ^ BMI (2013-05-15). "Adam Levine and Top Songwriters Honored at 61st Annual BMI Pop Awards". Broadcast Music, Inc. Retrieved 2013-06-04. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ Rubenstein, Jenna Hally. "New Video: Bonnie McKee, 'American Girl'". MTV. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  30. ^ Davis, Rebecca Willa. "NYLON MAGAZINE". Nylon. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  31. ^ "Bonnie McKee - Sleepwalker (Official)". YouTube. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Bonnie McKee Opens Up About Being Bisexual". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  36. ^ a b "Bonnie McKee Album & Song Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^

External links[edit]