Bonnie McKee Readies Solo Career, Will Be Unstoppable

Bonnie McKee just tweeted that she’s in New York shopping for record deals. Here’s why you should care:

At the age of 16, the self-described wild child’s big voice and startlingly self-assured songwriting chops ignited a fierce bidding war between Interscope and Warner Brothers. After eventually signing with Warner, Bonnie’s debut LP, Trouble, was released in 2004. It was a radio-friendly collection of provocative yet polished pop-rock, but — mismanaged and mismarketed to an oversaturated public — the album failed to make a commercial splash.

It wasn’t until Bonnie was dropped by Warner that her songwriting career really kicked into gear, after her friendship with Katy Perry (who Bonnie met in a Los Angeles thrift store) led Bonnie to begin collaborating with hitmaker Dr. Luke.

With Luke and a handful of other famous friends, Bonnie co-wrote “California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” and upcoming single “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” for Katy’s sophomore effort — as well as “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz and “Hold It Against Me,” “Inside Out,” and “How I Roll” for Britney’s Femme Fatale. (Reportedly, she’s also penned tracks for Kelly Clarkson’s upcoming fifth album.)

Between the confessional intimacy of her early work (especially “Somebody” and “Sensitive Subject Matter” from Trouble) and the infectious giddiness of her recent tracks with Luke, Max Martin, and Bloodshy & Avant, it’s obvious that Bonnie’s a force to be reckoned with as a writer. But she’s also a powerful vocalist entitled to far more than the limited exposure she’s received so far as a recording artist.

The most gifted songwriters can stumble on their way to the spotlight — Ester Dean’s anticlimactic solo career comes to mind — but Bonnie’s one artist whose comeback will be fully earned. As far as I’m concerned, anyone responsible for writing the hook on “Teenage Dream” deserves my full attention.

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