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Nellie McKay

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Birth name
Nell Marie McKay

Nellie McKay

Years active

Nellie McKay Nellie Nellie McKay Photo 3183639 Fanpop
April 13, 1982 (age 42) London, United Kingdom (

Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Rock, pop, jazz, reggae, rap, funk, disco

Singer-songwriter, actress

Vocals, piano, ukulele, cello, xylophone, glockenspiel

Singer-songwriter ·

Robin Pappas, Malcolm McKay

P.S. I Love You, Downtown Express, Nellie McKay: The New Face of Jazz

Similar People
Robin Pappas, Cyndi Lauper, kd lang, Bill Irwin, Nellie Bly


Nellie mckay performs caribbean time live at 91 3 wuky lexington ky

Nell Marie "Nellie" McKay is a British-born American singer-songwriter, actress, and former stand-up comedian, noted for her critically acclaimed albums, and for her Broadway debut in The Threepenny Opera (2006). Her music has showcased different genres, from jazz to rap and disco to funk.


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Nellie McKay's Project Song at NPR

Early life and education

McKay was born in London to an English father, writer-director Malcolm McKay, and an American mother, actress Robin Pappas. While growing up, she lived with her mother in Harlem, in Olympia, Washington, and in rural Pennsylvania.

McKay studied jazz voice at the Manhattan School of Music, but did not graduate.

Her performances at various New York City music venues, including the Sidewalk Cafe and Joe's Pub, drew attention from record labels. She signed with Columbia Records.

Get Away from Me

Nellie McKay NELLIE MCKAY WALLPAPERS FREE Wallpapers amp Background

The recording sessions for McKay's debut album Get Away from Me took place in August 2003 with Geoff Emerick as producer. Emerick was known for working as the Beatles' engineer on such albums as Revolver and Abbey Road. The title is a play on Norah Jones' Come Away with Me. McKay is said to be the first woman to release a double album as her first release. Originally, her contract with Columbia called for 13 songs, but McKay aggressively lobbied her label for a double album, including bottles of wine, a PowerPoint slideshow, and a mock photo of her threatening Emerick with a gun. (Allmusic).

Nellie McKay Nellie McKay If I had You Cliff Edwards Cover YouTube

Get Away from Me was released in February 2004. Jon Pareles of The New York Times called the album "a tour de force from a sly, articulate musician who sounds comfortable in any era." The album was included on several "Best of 2004" lists.

McKay was one of the major breakout artists from the 2004 SXSW Festival and was a finalist in the 2004 Shortlist Music Prize. She toured the northern United States in July 2004 as an opening act on the first half of the Au Naturale tour co-headlined by Alanis Morissette and Barenaked Ladies.

Rumor Has It...

McKay wrote and recorded several songs for the motion picture Rumor Has It.... The songs were released on the iTunes Store on 27 December 2005.

Pretty Little Head

Pretty Little Head was released in the United States on 31 October 2006 on McKay's own label, Hungry Mouse, and was marketed by SpinART Records. The album was divided into two discs and included a 44-page color booklet. The album included the intended 23 tracks as originally planned. Release of the album in other countries, including Canada, was delayed until 21 November 2006.

After SpinART declared bankruptcy in 2007, Pretty Little Head was released by Sony.

The Threepenny Opera

McKay made her Broadway debut as Polly Peachum in the Roundabout Theatre Company's limited-run production of The Threepenny Opera, co-starring with Alan Cumming, Jim Dale, Cyndi Lauper, and Brian Charles Rooney. The role earned her a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance.

Obligatory Villagers

McKay's third full-length studio release debuted on 25 September 2007. With both of her previous albums lasting over 60 minutes and spanning two discs each, Obligatory Villagers, with only nine tracks (ten if purchased from iTunes), totaling 30 minutes was her shortest release to date. The album was produced on McKay's own label, Hungry Mouse, and released by Vanguard Records.

The album was recorded at Red Rock Recording Studio, in the Pocono Mountains, where McKay went to high school.

Normal as Blueberry Pie - A Tribute to Doris Day

On October 13, 2009, she released her fourth studio album, Normal as Blueberry Pie - A Tribute to Doris Day on Verve Records. The album contains twelve covers of songs made famous by Day, as well as one original tune. Barnes & Noble featured an exclusive edition, packaged with the bonus track "I Want To Be Happy." iTunes also featured an exclusive edition with a different bonus track, "I'll Never Smile Again."

Home Sweet Mobile Home

On September 28, 2010, McKay and Verve Records released her fifth album. Home Sweet Mobile Home includes original tracks. It was produced by McKay and her mother, Robin Pappas, with artistic input from David Byrne.

My Weekly Reader

On March 24, 2015, McKay released her sixth album, My Weekly Reader, a covers album of songs from the 1960s. Songs include Moby Grape's "Murder in My Heart for the Judge", The Small Faces' "Itchycoo Park", the Steve Miller Band's "Quicksilver Girl", Frank Zappa's "Hungry Freaks, Daddy," The Beatles' "If I Fell", and Herman's Hermits' "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter".

Other work

On February 1, 2007, McKay joined Laurie Anderson, Joan Osborne, Suzanne Vega and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra for Four Scored, a single performance of reworked songs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

McKay also had a role in P.S. I Love You, a 2007 film directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. McKay was cast as Ciara Reilly, sister of Holly Kennedy, played by Hilary Swank.

She has written two Christmas-themed songs, "A Christmas Dirge" and "Take Me Away".

McKay is featured in the song "How Are You?" on David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's concept album Here Lies Love, released in 2010. The album chronicles the life of Imelda Marcos, the widow of former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos.

McKay, along with violinist Philippe Quint, starred in and contributed music to the independent film Downtown Express, directed by David Grubin.

Her musical show "I Want to Live!" is based on the life of murderess Barbara Graham, who also inspired a 1958 film with the same name.

Political views

McKay is a vocal feminist, and wrote a satirical song relating to feminist issues called "Mother of Pearl". McKay also "is a proud member of PETA" (album notes); her song "Columbia Is Bleeding" dealt with the issue of Columbia University's cruelty to animals. She also wrote a 2004 song ("John John") about her feelings in favor of political candidate Ralph Nader.

She has performed at events for the progressive radio station WBAI, Planned Parenthood, Farm Sanctuary, and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, among many groups.

McKay was one of several musicians to write a song in support of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis.


  • 2004: Get Away from Me
  • 2006: Pretty Little Head
  • 2007: Obligatory Villagers
  • 2009: Normal as Blueberry Pie - A Tribute to Doris Day
  • 2010: Home Sweet Mobile Home
  • 2015: My Weekly Reader
  • Soundtracks and covers

  • 2005: Rumor Has It... : "Pasadena Girl", "Face of a Faith"
  • 2005: Monster-in-Law : "Won't U Please B Nice"
  • 2005: Weeds : "David"
  • 2007: P.S. I Love You : ""P.S. I Love You"
  • 2010: Terrible Thrills, Vol. 1
  • 2010: Downtown Express
  • 2010: Boardwalk Empire : "Wild Romantic Blues"
  • Collaborations and other appearances

  • 2005: "If I Needed Someone" off the album This Bird Has Flown - A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul
  • 2010: "How Are You?" off the album Here Lies Love by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim
  • Other songs

  • "The In Crowd"
  • "John-John"
  • "Teresa"
  • "Late Again"
  • "A Christmas Dirge"
  • "Take Me Away"
  • "The Cavendish"
  • Songs

    The Dog Song
    Face of a Faith
    Pasadena Girl
    PS I Love You
    I Wanna Get Married
    Bruise on the Sky
    Won't U Please B Nice
    Mother of Pearl
    It's a Pose
    BB Blues
    There You Are In Me
    Suitcase Song
    Long & Lazy River
    If I Ever Had a Dream
    Baby - You've Got What It Takes
    Bee Charmer
    Sentimental Journey
    Crazy Rhythm
    Murder in My Heart for the Judge
    Wild Romantic Blues
    we had it right
    Baby Watch Your Back
    Beneath the Underdog
    Unknown Reggae
    Columbia Is Bleeding
    Lali Est Paresseux
    Close Your Eyes
    Toto Dies
    Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine


    Widowbird (post-production) as
    Talia Brin
    Widowbird (post-production) as
    Talia Brin
    Mabel's Dressing Room (Short) as
    Downtown Express as
    P.S. I Love You as
    SpotlightON Unique Music Television (TV Series) as
    Featured Artist
    Downtown Express
    Private Life (performer: "Quicksilver Girl", "Meditation", "I Wanna Get Married") / (writer: "I Wanna Get Married")
    SMILF (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode)
    - A Box of Dunkies & Two Squirts of Maple Syrup (2017) - (performer: "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying")
    Mad Men (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode)
    - Christmas Waltz (2012) - (performer: "Christmas Waltz" - uncredited)
    Downtown Express (performer: "Ain't No Train", "Lighter When I Fall", "When I Look at You", "Don't Do That Anymore", "Lettin' Me Fall in Love", "Transience (Sticks and Stones)")
    Nurse Jackie (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode)
    - When the Saints Go (2011) - (performer: "The Very Thought of You" - uncredited)
    The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode, 2010) (writer - 1 episode, 2010)
    - Episode #7.67 (2010) - (performer: "Caribbean Time") / (writer: "Caribbean Time")
    Boardwalk Empire (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode)
    - Paris Green (2010) - (performer: "Wild Romantic Blues " - uncredited)
    Grey's Anatomy (TV Series) (performer - 4 episodes)
    - State of Love and Trust (2010) - (performer: "Do Do Do" - uncredited)
    - Oh, the Guilt (2006) - (performer: "Clonie")
    - Who's Zoomin' Who? (2005) - (performer: "The Dog Song")
    - Save Me (2005) - (performer: "David")
    GasLand (Documentary) (performer: "If I Had You")
    NCIS (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode, 2008) (writer - 1 episode, 2008)
    - Dog Tags (2008) - (performer: "The Dog Song" - uncredited) / (writer: "The Dog Song" - uncredited)
    P.S. I Love You (performer: "P.S. I Love You")
    Qwerty (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode)
    - Episode #2.15 (2007) - (performer: "A Christmas Dirge")
    Last Holiday (performer: "I Feel Pretty")
    Rumor Has It... (performer: "Black Sheep", "BB Blues", "Just One Of Those Things", "Pasadena Girl", "Face of a Faith", "Baby, You've Got What It Takes") / (producer: "Black Sheep", "BB Blues", "Just One Of Those Things", "Pasadena Girl", "Baby, You've Got What It Takes") / (writer: "Black Sheep", "BB Blues", "Pasadena Girl", "Face of a Faith")
    Weeds (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode)
    - You Can't Miss the Bear (2005) - (performer: "David")
    Monster-in-Law (performer: "Won't U Please B Nice") / (writer: "Won't U Please B Nice")
    What Goes Up (special thanks)
    Mercy for Animals Hope Gala: Virtual Red Carpet (Short) as
    Voices of Compassion as
    Self - Performer
    Beings: Nellie McKay (Short) as
    Hidden Heroes Gala: Diane Warren Tribute (Short) as
    American Songbook at NJPAC Hosted by Michael Feinstein (TV Series) as
    - Salute to Broadway Composers (2017) - Self
    - Episode #4.3 (2017) - Self
    American Songbook at NJPAC (TV Series) as
    - Nellie McKay (2015) - Self
    One Night Stand (Documentary) as
    The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (TV Series) as
    Self - Musical Guest / Self
    - Episode #7.67 (2010) - Self - Musical Guest
    - Episode #6.77 (2010) - Self - Musical Guest
    - Episode #4.122 (2007) - Self
    - Episode #4.118 (2007) - Self
    - Episode #1.115 (2005) - Self - Musical Guest
    GasLand (Documentary) as
    Soundtrack (performer: 'Oversure')
    My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story (Documentary) as
    Open the Debates: Super Rally in Denver, CO 2008 (Video) as
    Pancake Mountain (TV Series) as
    - Episode #1.9 (2007) - Self
    Late Show with David Letterman (TV Series) as
    Self - Musical Guest / Self
    - Episode dated 22 January 2007 (2007) - Self - Musical Guest
    - Hilary Swank, Todd Barry, Nellie McKay (2004) - Self
    Late Night with Conan O'Brien (TV Series) as
    Self - Musical Guest
    - Carson Daly/Michelle Trachtenberg/Nellie McKay (2006) - Self - Musical Guest
    - Jeff Goldblum/Joy Behar/Nellie McKay (2004) - Self - Musical Guest
    Live from Lincoln Center (TV Series) as
    - American Songbook: Audra McDonald & Friends - Build a Bridge (2006) - Self
    Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players: Off and on Broadway (Video) as
    The Great Wall Concert (TV Special) as
    The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn (TV Series) as
    - Interim host D.L. Hughley (2004) - Self
    Later... With Jools Holland (TV Series) as
    - Episode #24.1 (2004) - Self
    Archive Footage
    The Jimmy Dore Show: Clips (TV Series) as
    - Joe BIden's Campaign Staff Is 'Freaking Out!' (2019) - Self


    Nellie McKay Wikipedia

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