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 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 Peter Eldridge (New York Voices), Duke Levine, Dave Mattacks, Dick Johnson (Artie Shaw Orchestra), Clay Osborne, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Fred Lipsius (Blood, Sweat and Tears), Jerry Portnoy (Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters), the legendary Herb Pomeroy and others. She appeared as a regular featured artist alongside the great J. Geils in his named Jazz & Blues Review to sold out audiences throughout New England.
After self-releasing several favorable straight-ahead jazz albums ('Right In Front Of You' and "Stay The Night'), McKinley drew from deeper influences of her youth and revealed a more “soulful” sounding jazz album - carefully choosing a set in remembrance of the late Marvin Gaye. Her expressive work on this album generated an emphatic buzz of curiosity – soon to follow was a recording contract and an extended release of the project re-titled “Til Tomorrow - Remembering Marvin Gaye” (MAXJAZZ/MackAve). Jazztimes Magazine hailed the work as “a rich, sensual salute”. The album steady stream of success both nationally and internationally, legitimizing her standing as a prominent and salient new artist. With a heightened joy for the process of creativity and performance, McKinley is continuously evolving seeking imaginative ways to illustrate her passion and elevate her art.
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 iHeartRadio, Spotify, Pandora and XM Radio.
Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Voice Department at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. She also continues to tour regularly and appears as a guest artist. She recently released a new recording "Dragonfly" in April 2018.