Bonnie McKee
Birth Date:
January 20, 1985
Birth Place:
Seattle, Washington, USA
5' (1.52 m)
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"I'm not afraid to be a pop star. People associate pop music with crap, and that doesn't necessarily have to be true. Madonna, Prince and the Beatles are pop stars. 'Pop' is short for popular, and that doesn't have to mean cookie-cutter." Bonnie McKee.

Began singing at age 2 and writing her own songs at 12, classically trained pianist and pop singer/songwriter Bonnie McKee got signed with Reprise records after she was being kicked out of high school. The 5' pop rebel who hooked on drugs (but has since cleaned up) and dated men twice her age at 15, released her debut album ''Trouble'' in 2004, which spawned singles ''Trouble'' and ''Somebody'' (had previously been released on the soundtrack album for the 2004 hit movie "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!").

More recently, McKee could be seen as Kerry Russel's classical pianist best friend Lizzy in the newly-released mystical musical drama film, "August Rush" (2007).

"When I was 8 years old, my mother would say, 'You're such a sexpot,' I was always putting on lipstick and lying on top of my grandmother’s piano in sunglasses. I wanted to be a bad girl so much.'' Bonnie McKee.

Teen Rebel

Childhood and Family:

"My mother named me Bonnie Leigh Mckee but I leave out the Leigh cause it sounds too country. All I ever wanted was to be a star. This is how it happened. I was born in Vacaville, California, and then finally ended up in Seattle for the 'important years.'" Bonnie McKee.

Born in Vacaville, California, on January 20, 1985, Bonnie Leigh McKee spent her formative years in the Seattle, Washington. At 15, she was hooked on drugs and dated men twice her age. The rebellious teen got her GED after being kicked out of high school.

Bonnie once revealed about her upbringing, ''I had a fairly normal childhood, but somehow I just turned out different. I was dealing with some family trouble and wound up getting into some bad stuff really early on, just bouncing around with no direction. It was a really rough, dark time. And then I got involved with this guy who was much older than me. He was my first love, my first real experience with relationships. He really took care of me when nobody else knew how."

She also admitted there are things she has missed, saying "I have recurring dreams about going back to high school and getting a diploma and being a cheerleader and having a network of friends I can keep forever. I'd also like to go to college, live in dorms, and have that kind of community around me. That's a part of life that I have yet to experience."



"When I was a kid, my grandmother inspired me to start taking piano because she plays really beautifully. But my father was the one who got me singing. When I was really young, he would take my older brother and me to the theater. I became totally obsessed with musicals like 'Les Miserables' and 'The Phantom of the Opera.' My dad got me singing songs, then taught me the difference between sharp and flat [keys]. Eventually, I joined a choir. A few years later, when we moved from California to Seattle, I joined the Seattle Girls' Choir, which is a world-class choir--I'm very proud to say I was affiliated with it. We even sang for the Pope at the Vatican!'' Bonnie McKee.

Raised in a musical family, Bonnie McKee developed her love for the theater and singing, and took piano classes for seven years as well as studied privately with a vocal coach. She joined the world class Seattle Girl's Choir and toured Europe in 2000 as a member of its top Prime Voci choir, including a concert in Rome at the request of Pope John Paul II.

At the age of 12, McKee began writing her own songs for her demos, six of which would appear in her debut album. McKee recalled, "I was young and doing all this classical musical training, but at the same time, I was also really into pop singers like Madonna, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston. So when I was 12, I recorded a demo of me singing all these pop songs and sent it out. I got a whole bunch of responses, but everyone said that if I wanted to make it, I'd have to write my own songs. So I started writing my own stuff and made a demo for a high school project. This was, of course, before I got kicked out of school."

After being kicked out of school, McKee, whose voice is classified as mezzo-soprano and has deep-throated vocals with a wide range, got signed with Reprise records. At 14, she wrote songs for what would be on her debut album, most of them reflect events in her own life at that time. By 15, she was performing on her own and had produced her own six-track EP, which was re-recorded and became the core of her first major label album, ''Trouble.'' The album, which featuring a dozen self-penned tracks, produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day) and Bob Power, was released on September 28, 2004. Influenced by Fiona Apple's music, it spawned two singles, "Trouble" and "Somebody." The latter song had previously been released on the soundtrack album for the 2004 hit movie "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!"

"I was signed to Warner Brothers and moved down to California at sixteen. I had already been kicked out of high school, so I went ahead and got my GED. I then moved to New York to record the album, scratched all but one song, came back to LA and started over. Bing bang boom 'Trouble' was born and here I am today!" Bonnie McKee.

Album ''Trouble'' unfortunately sold fewer than 17,000 copies and got very little airplay. Meanwhile, in March 2004, McKee appeared in "Shoot the Moon" episode of the NBC serial dramedy ''American Dreams,'' as a young Janis Joplin. In 2005, she toured with Ryan Cabrera, and in the following year, her management company, McGhee Entertainment, reported that a new album is in the process of being written and recorded.

"The sophomore album is always a bitch because you have your whole life to write the first album, and a year and a half to write the second one. But I have a head start cause I've got three years worth of songs prepared plus the ones that didn't make the first album. I wonder if I'll ever catch up with myself. I'll still be singing songs I wrote when I was fifteen when I'm thirty!! Oh, wait, I'm never gonna turn thirty. I'm just going to keep turning nineteen until being young goes out of style!" Bonnie McKee.

Most recently, in 2007, McKee appeared in a mystical musical drama film called "August Rush," which was directed by Kirsten Sheridan. In this retelling of Dickens' "Oliver Twist," McKee played Lizzy, a classical pianist with an "edge," and the best friend of Kerry Russel's lead character. In her big screen debut, McKee joined a string of incredible cast members including Robin Williams, Johnathan Ryhs Meyers, Terrance Howard and Freddie Highmore.

"I play Lizzy, Lyla's [Kerry Russel] best friend/accompanist, which meant I got to spend a lot of time dusting off the old music theory books and learning pages upon pages of classical music. I guess all those piano lessons after school finally paid off!! Thanks, Mom!!" Bonnie McKee.


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