Singer/songwriter Bonnie McKee has more in common with Katy Perry than you might think. McKee is credited as a co-writer on some of Perry’s biggest tracks, from “California Gurls” to “Teenage Dream.” But in addition to sharing tracks, both have experienced the rollercoaster of a record label letting them go from a contract.
“I’ve known Katy and Ke$ha since back in the day,” McKee told me in an interview that aired Wednesday on “The Ralphie Show.” “It feels like kind of a badge of honor to be dropped, honestly. It’s like you get to have a trial run and learn all your lessons and everything, and then the next time around you have more experience; you know what to do.”
Perry went through two trial runs before landing at Capitol Records and becoming a household name. McKee, who also penned tracks for Ke$ha, Taio Cruz, and others, was on Warner Brothers before finding her way as a songwriter and eventually her home with Epic Records.
“I don’t get paid to write songs,” McKee claimed of how her particular pay structure works. “I only get publishing (rights).”
Basically, McKee gets no money upfront, but can make a considerable amount of cash on the other end after sales, airplay, placements, and other considerations. The singer now has her own song, “American Girl,” and is working on her first album with Epic. She can only hope the track finds as much success as the eight other chart topping singles she has contributed to.
“It’s a major feat to have anything you write be on the radio,” she said. “I’m incredibly grateful and lucky to have had those opportunities.”
Judging by the lip-sync video released for “American Girl,” McKee’s friends are pretty pumped for her second run as a solo artist. Ke$ha, Tommy Lee, Jason Derulo, Cruz, and Adam Lambert are a few of the celebrities who submitted pieces for the project. Perry also created a lip-sync video, and has been doing a little songwriting of her own recently. “The Ralphie Show” reported that Perry and boyfriend John Mayer co-wrote a track for Mayer’s upcoming album.
“I’ve heard about it,” a tight-lipped McKee let out. “I heard through the grapevine, actually.”