Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Andy McKee is an award-winning fingerstyle guitarist with adept, technically proficient skills and whose playing touches upon bluegrass, progressive rock, and classical music. Though recognized as a growing talent in the fingerstyle guitar community since the early 2000s, McKee achieved even greater prominence in 2005 after the video for his song "Drifting" went viral. Born in 1979 in Topeka, Kansas, McKee first began playing guitar at age 13. Originally influenced by such virtuoso heavy metal and progressive rock acts as Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, and Metallica, McKee eventually found himself drawn to the acoustic fingerstyle approach of artists like Preston Reed, Michael Hedges, Don Ross, and others. Largely self-taught, McKee earned his GED and quit high school to focus full-time on guitar playing. The risk paid off, and in 2001 McKee took third place in the National Fingerstyle Guitar Competition in Winfield, Kansas. Also in 2001, McKee released his debut solo album, Nocturne. Two years later, he won first place in the Miscellaneous Acoustic Instrument category of the New Jersey State Fiddling and Picking Championships. In 2004, McKee released his second solo album, Dreamcatcher, and finished in second place in the fingerstyle competition at the Canadian Guitar Festival.
In 2005, McKee released his third album, Art of Motion, on Candyrat Records, featuring the song "Drifting." Around this time, McKee's online video for "Drifting" began nabbing thousands of views on YouTube, as well as garnering a significant number of up votes on the news aggregator site Digg. Ultimately, "Drifting" became a featured video on YouTube, having collected over 49,000 views. McKee's viral success quickly spread to his other videos, which helped him sell his albums and propelled him to a new level of international recognition. In 2007, riding his newfound wave of success, McKee released his fourth solo album, The Gates of Gnomeria. That same year, he appeared on vocalist Josh Groban's holiday album Noel. In 2008, McKee teamed with fellow fingerstyle guitarist (and early influence) Don Ross for the duo album The Thing That Came from Somewhere. A year later, he returned with the EP Common Ground. In 2010, McKee delivered his sixth album, Joyland, on Razor & Tie. Also in 2010, McKee guested on guitarist Lee Ritenour's album 6 String Theory. In 2012, McKee reached a new level of exposure once again when he opened for Prince on several of the legendary pop artist's Australian tour dates. In 2014, McKee released his second EP, Mythmaker.