About Me – Tony McKee Music
There’s a sound that hasn’t been heard on country radio in quite some time – the sound of a new artist pushing the boundaries while being true to who they are. New artist Tony McKee has never taken a backseat to anything, including his career. He is making a mark in the new era of country music as he takes the driver’s seat for this crazy ride that is just about to start.
A native of Campbellsville, KY, it’s clear this artist always had music in his blood. His entire family sang or played a musical instrument. With his mother’s love of Elvis Presley and his father’s love for George Jones and Buck Owens, these three legends became a staple in his life. This lit a fire in McKee that could not be put out. It wasn’t until his early years in church and listening to the radio that gave him the drive to pursue music. “I remember singing a lot to cassettes and songs that I recorded off the radio,” says McKee.
As the youngest of the family, McKee and his brother were typical boys growing up, always getting into something and played several sports in their backyard like baseball, kickball, croquet, and basketball. While his father was away most of the year doing pipeline construction, “Mom looked after us and would keep (at least that is my recollection of it) a list of all the ‘stunts’ we pulled while he was away. This of course, made his return kind of a scary thing,” remembers McKee.
McKee’s talents began to soar as high school ended; however, he hit a drastic change going into his senior year. When his father passed away on Father’s Day, he hit a slump and this affected him in a very negative and angry way which, in return, hurt his schooling and home life. He was always shy in school and never was able to fit in with everyone else, but that was where music got the best of him and always knew it was his passion. “I was not the best student in high school. I was lazy and just didn’t want to do my homework. I tried to fit in but it always blew up in my face.” Despite his personal high school career, his surreal feeling as a performer came at his high school graduation senior class show. McKee took the stage and performed Friends are Friends Forever by Michael W. Smith. “It was at that moment when I looked and saw a standing room only auditorium, that I wanted to be a professional entertainer. All eyes were on me and I could shine like they had never seen me do before.”
This jack of all trades guy decided that college wasn’t for him right after high school. He took several years off before continuing his education. He then realized being told what to learn wasn’t for him. “I tried three different colleges and dropped out all three times. I just wasn’t a fan of being told what I have to learn or what I have to be.” Afterwards, he decided to push forward and turn his life around and work on film scores incorporating a variety of music into movie soundtracks and films. He was doing keyboard work, composing the string part, laying it down and building from that. Even though he dabbled in keyboard, guitar, and studied percussion, “I can’t say that I can sit down at a piano now and make you fall in love with my skills,” laughs McKee.
Describing his style and sound as real, organic and country, you can find McKee either on the road performing or in the studio laying down new material. In his spare time, he’ll be crushing weights with his friends at the gym or doing anything outdoors – hiking, camping, bike riding. He is also an avid UK fan and a movie buff, enjoying the classic Hollywood movies.
Already distinguishing himself with a debut single under his belt, sharing the stage with Eric Lee Beddingfield and performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival down under in Australia, he’s ready to prove to himself that this guy can pull this career off. “Hands down, my Mom has been the most supportive of my music. I think in her eyes, I’m a little Elvis and those are some mighty big blue suede shoes to fill.”
Dedication is a trait that sticks with McKee. “I just want to connect with everyone I meet. Sure, I have the starry-eyed goals of winning this award and that award and being adored by my fellow recording artists, but the main thing for me is to always be a person that the fans come up to me and say, ‘you’re real and that’s what I love about you.’
With his motto “never forget who you are, what you stand for and believe in or where you came from,” McKee is on the right path – pushing the boundaries in country music while seeping in infectious melodies and injecting emotion into every song he sings.