Boston born and bred, McKinley started a career in film and television upon entering her freshman year of high school. By 16, she had already signed with a New York talent agent, began taking weekly private voice instruction and attended a long series of intensive music programs that specialized in voice performance. After high school, she attended The Boston Conservatory of Music majoring in Musical Theater and Voice and has now held an accomplished career spread over 3 decades as a professional singer, dancer, actress, voice-over artist and print model. McKinley is best known for her powerhouse voice and stylistic versatility and ability to cross genres effortlessly. She is renowned for her spirited and emotional performances with a presence on stage that is exuberant and passionate yet warm and disarming. She has shared the stage, and in some cases, recorded with greats such as Dick Johnson, James Cotton, Clay Obsorne, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Jay Geils, Fred Lipsius (Blood, Sweat and Tears), Jerry Portnoy (Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters) and Herb Pomeroy.
After the release of several favored straight-ahead jazz albums, McKinley released a courageous “soul” inspired jazz album in remembrance of the late Marvin Gaye. The cover album generated a heightened local buzz and attracted the attention of the St. Louis based label MAXJAZZ who signed McKinley and re-released (and re-titled) the album “Til Tomorrow - Remembering Marvin Gaye”. Jazztimes Magazine hailed the work as “a rich, sensual salute” and the albums steady success in straight-ahead and crossover markets, both nationally and internationally, have legitimized her career as a prominent artist. McKinley has toured nationally and overseas and her music can be heard on over 500 national and international radio stations, cable and internet music outlets including XM radio, Pandora and iheart Radio.
She currently holds a position as Assistant Professor in the Voice Department at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. and continues to tour regularly.