Andy McKee is among the worlds finest acoustic guitarists. His youthful energy and attention to song structure and melodic content elevates him above the rest. He entertains both the eye and the ear as he magically transforms the steel string guitar into a full orchestra via his use of altered tunings, tapping, partial capos, percussive hits and a signature two-handed technique.
McKees crossover success has helped him to achieve millions upon millions of YouTube viewers, underscoring his emergence as one of todays most unique and influential artists. He has been featured as a cover story in both Acoustic Guitar Magazine in the U.S. and Acoustic Magazine in the UK, and is also the figurehead of the unique Guitar Masters tours. McKees tour dates have taken him through Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, including tours with legendary acts including Prince and Dream Theater.
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. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi
Andy McKee is one of the world’s finest acoustic soloists. After receiving hundreds of millions of views collectively on the internet for his guitar performance videos which were originally posted on YouTube by the independent record label “Candyrat”, Andy’s success is a testament to the changing nature of the music industry as well as people’s desire for something new and interesting to listen to. At one point, Andy held the #1, #2 and #3 positions for Top-Rated Videos of All Time on the hugely popular website. His videos are still among the highest rated on Youtube. Consequently, Andy has performed to sold out shows all over the world.
After starting with an interest in electric guitar, Andy turned to the acoustic guitar at the age of 16 and began enjoying and studying the music of Michael Hedges, Don Ross, Billy McLaughlin and Preston Reed. To this day he still sites these four musicians as his primary influences in acoustic music. At the same time, Andy draws inspiration from various other musicians and groups such as; Earth Wind and Fire, The Yellowjackets, Bjork, Imogen Heap, Pantera, Eric Johnson, Peter Gabriel, Dream Theater, Bruce Hornsby, and many others.
While there are countless amazing guitar players in the world, it is Andy’s attention to song structure and melodic content that elevates him above the typical guitarist. It can be observed that Andy likes to try different things with the guitar such as; altered tunings, partial capos, percussive hits, and tapping. But in the hands of Andy these are not mere parlor tricks, they are compositional tools used to create some of the finest crafted music for the steel string acoustic guitar.