After Writing for Pop’s Biggest Stars, Bonnie McKee Wants People to Step Into Her Own World

After Writing for Pop’s Biggest Stars, Bonnie McKee Wants People to Step Into Her Own World

Brian Ziff* Bonnie McKee was at one of the lowest, darkest moments of her life when she had a validating experience with Lana Del Rey . The singer approached her at a party in 2019 and held up her phone to show what she had been listening to on her way there: McKee's 2015 song “Bombastic.” McKee was shocked that Del Rey even remembered who she was; they had only met once at a Coachella party years prior. They exchanged phone numbers that night and spoke on the phone days later. Del Rey said she was a fan of McKee, the songwriting mastermind who has written music for people like Katy Perry , Britney Spears , and Kesha . Del Rey also asked McKee her YouTube series, where she used to chronicle her journey trying to break through as a pop star around 2013. “I think that you should go back to being a redhead,” Del Rey told her during their call. (McKee had already made an appointment to do exactly that.) “Having someone that I respect so much just fall out of the sky and tell me exactly what I needed to hear was a God moment,” she tells Rolling Stone . “Lana is a guardian angel to me.” At that time, McKee was focused on songwriting after being dropped as an artist by Epic Records six years prior. She had released some singles and her Bombastic EP since then, but her artist project was mostly behind her. When she met Del Rey, she had also just ended “a really toxic relationship” with someone who constantly told her she was “foolish” to think she could start her artist career again. He'd say she needed to get her priorities straight and dismiss her dreams of being an artist: “When somebody tells you something over and over again, you start to believe them.” Although McKee has been described as “Hollywood's secret weapon,” she always had her eyes set on being an artist — even when she was co- the best songs off Teenage Dream. (“ California Gurls ” became […]

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