A sharp and thoughtful artist lurking beneath the surface of a sunny, playful chanteuse, Nellie McKay is a singer and songwriter whose performing style is largely informed by vintage jazz and vocal pop, with occasional dashes of indie rock and hip-hop. McKay’s songs are witty and stylish variations on the themes of the Great American Songbook (she’s been compared to Cole Porter more than once), but often feature pointed satirical observations on politics and society. Nellie McKay will perform at Fogartyville on Saturday, March 30 at 8pm. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Advance tickets are available online at wslr.org or by calling 1-800-838-3006.
Born in London, England, McKay spent most of her first ten years living in Harlem, New York, and she developed a keen interest in retro fashions and female pop vocalists of the ’40s and ’50s. After spending two years studying vocal jazz in New York City, McKay headed out on her own, and developed a following that led to her signing with Columbia Records. McKay’s debut, 2004’s Get Away from Me, was a critical favorite, but her insistence on doing things her own way led to her being dropped by her record label.
Nellie McKay has won a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Polly Peachum on Broadway in The Threepenny Opera, performed onscreen in the films PS I Love You and Downtown Express, and her music was used in Rumor Has It, Monster-in-Law, PS I Love You, Gasland, Last Holiday and Private Life.
McKay co-created and starred in the award-winning off-Broadway hit Old Hats and has written three acclaimed musical biographies – I Want to Live!, the story of Barbara Graham, third woman executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin,Silent Spring: It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature, an exploration of environmental pioneer Rachel Carson, and A GIRL NAMED BILL – The Life and Times of Billy Tipton, named one of the Best Concerts of 2014 by The New York Times.
Nellie’s music has been heard on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Weeds, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Nurse Jackie, and SMILF, and she has appeared on TV shows including The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, Ferguson, and The View. Nellie has made numerous radio appearances on NPR’s Mountain Stage, A Prairie Home Companion, eTown, and Marion McPartland’s Piano Jazz. Her writing has also appeared in The Onion, Interview and The New York Times Book Review.
photo from Fogartyville