As unlikely as it sounds, "W" magazine has compared the London-born, Harlem, NY-raised McKay to both Doris Day and Eminem. On The Saturday Early Show, she performed songs from her debut album, "Get Away From Me."
McKay began piano lessons at eight, and started playing the sax when she was about nine. She took an interest in the sax when she saw President Clinton playing saxophone on the "Arsenio Hall Show."
McKay continued to make music in school jazz bands and marching bands. She enrolled in the Manhattan School of Music in 2000 and stayed for two years. Later, she made appearances at various piano bars in New York's Lower East Side and Greenwich Village.
After playing in one New York City performance space, a local magazine wrote an article on the young artist. That led to a deal with Columbia Records.
McKay says she was involved with every aspect of "Get Away From Me" -- even the artwork. The album mixes jazz, hip-hop and '60s pop.
"This record is my life," she says. "I can't imagine not being involved in every aspect of it. The people who open the album, not industry folk, just people people, they're going to associate everything inside -- every picture, every graphic, every piece of clothing, every attitude or pose -- with my name, 'cause it's on the cover. I want to be involved with every plan and every decision."