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Bonnie Leigh McKee (born January 20, 1984) is a singer-songwriter signed to Reprise Records. Accomplished rock music columnist Jaan Uhelszki has said that McKee "elevates post-teen rebellion and broken romance to high art".
Bonnie was born in Vacaville, California, and spent her formative years in the Seattle area. Taking an early interest in the exposure to music and the theater offered by her father, Bonnie began singing at age five with the Seattle Girls' Choir. She 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.Read Full Bio >>
Bonnie's youth was somewhat unconventional. She earned the moniker "Trouble" with her participation in the rave scene and difficulties working in traditional schools. Through this period she had a tendency to act beyond her years, experimenting with drugs and being unusually open about her sexuality. (Amid rampant speculation, she has stated that she has "no sexual preference.") These experiences raised some eyebrows, and greatly influenced her early songwriting; Blender magazine called her album the written result of being "fifteen, hooked on drugs, dating men twice her age." Eventually she found her way into Seattle's Nova Alternative High School, but finally opted for a GED certificate when Reprise took an interest in her work.
She had progressed to writing her own music by the time she was twelve. By fifteen she was performing on her own and had produced her own six-track EP. This material, re-recorded, formed the core of her first major label album, Trouble, released on September 28, 2004.
McKee's first major brush with national exposure came in the March 7, 2004 "Shoot the Moon" episode of the American Dreams TV series, in which she portrayed Janis Joplin. Her song "Somebody" was featured in the 2004 film Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, garnering enough notice to cause her album to be released ahead of its (previously delayed) schedule.
She toured with Ryan Cabrera in 2005. In 2006, her management company, McGhee Entertainment, reported that a new album is in the process of being written and recorded.
In the non-fiction book "The Long Tail" by Chris Anderson, McKee is used as an example of how the internet, specifically Yahoo's Launchcast service, forced Reprise to change how they marketed McKee. According to the book, Reprise was going to target the adult contemporary audience (women in their 30s and 40s), but when an early track release on Launchcast revealed a strong preteen, teen and 20-something female audience, Reprise gave McKee more "edge" and targeted them instead. Not understanding the nature of a younger audience in the digital age, their re-positioning backfired in terms of album sales and "Trouble" sold fewer than 17,000 copies and got very little airplay.
Bonnie's voice is classified as mezzo-soprano. Deep-throated vocals with a wide range. She is capable of hitting notes in the whistle register, as heard in "When it All Comes Down". Her whistle register is heard twice in the song.
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