Pop singer/songwriter Bonnie McKee recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. McKee opened up about hearing her music on the radio, her new single "American Girl" and what her fans can expect from her upcoming album.
"The minute that I wrote ['American Girl'] I kind of felt like this should be my first single — this really kind of represents me as an artist and also as a writer," said McKee. "It's very colorful and visual."
Named the "Best Secret Weapon" by Rolling Stone in 2011, McKee, a former Seattle resident, was encouraged by Sub Pop Records co-founder Jonathan Poneman to write songs at age 12. At 16, a demo of McKee's original songs was heard by radio host Nic Harcourt, who subsequently played her song "Somebody" on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic." The demo led to a deal with Reprise Records and the release of McKee's debut album, Trouble, in 2004. Co-produced by GRAMMY-winning producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day) and GRAMMY-nominated engineer/producer Bob Power, Trouble featured 12 tracks written by McKee, including "Somebody," which cracked the Top 40 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart.
In 2009 McKee was introduced to GRAMMY-nominated producers and songwriters Dr. Luke and Max Martin and the trio subsequently began writing songs together. McKee has co-written songs for artists such as Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, and Britney Spears, garnering multiple No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles chart, including Katy Perry's "Roar," "Teenage Dream" and "California Gurls."
In 2012 McKee signed a deal with Antonio "L.A." Reid's Epic Records, which will issue her sophomore album in early 2014. The album's first single, "American Girl," peaked at No. 10 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. The promotional lip-sync video for the track features guest appearances by artists such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Ke$ha, Kiss, Macklemore, and Perry, and has more than 1.6 million views on YouTube.
McKee will kick off her first U.S. tour with the Jonas Brothers on Oct. 11 in Philadelphia, with dates scheduled through November.