A tip from a friend led her to the doors of The Songwriting School of Los Angeles and into the Wednesday night advanced class, The Songwriter's Workshop. The Workshop is a peer-driven setting, a non-curricular class where advanced writers present songs and songs-in-progress each week for feedback from one another, special guests, and a faculty moderator.
“I brought songs from ‘Gracie and the Atom’ there to get them ready to play solo. I'd written them for many trained voices and I'm just one untrained voice, so it was tricky. The class helped me so much that I ended up bringing new material as well as songs from ten or more years ago. Everything I brought turned out so much better after getting the group's feedback.”
These days McKinley is still very much in the business of juggling these so-called opposites. In fact, she’s now in the midst of writing another musical, this one centered on Edison and Tesla’s “war of the currents.”
“You'd be surprised how many great rhymes there are for words like ‘transformer’ and ‘kilowatt-hours,’” she adds.
Listening to McKinley elegantly interweave the themes of both physics and the human experience, one can’t help but be reminded of the reflections of Carl Sagan in his poignant Cosmos, or more recently, Bjork’s tribute to the cosmos Biophilia. Perhaps music and science are separate paths leading to the same destination – truth. Indeed, when Azealia Banks’ “212” asks, “What are you made up of?” physics might respond, “Oxygen and carbon,” but a deeper look, and a listen to McKinley’s work, suggests there’s much more to the story, and there’s humanity to be found even at the molecular level.
Read about and listen to McKinley at her website.
- Written by songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and student at The Songwriting School of Los Angeles Marny Anne