Blessed with a rafter-reaching soprano range and a voice that emanates grit and fire, Toree McGee describes her music as a blend of “Woodstock rock ‘n’ roll, and sparkly country.” This eclectic style is equal parts percussion-driven swagger and playful melodies. Behind the northern California native’s powerful, edgy vocals is a candid, bubbly personality, along with a natural, effervescent stage personality inherited from a family lineage filled with performers.
McGee’s grandparents were part of a traveling gospel quartet, and her father had been a singer in garage rock band. Her father instilled in McGee a love of classic rock and her passion for music, while her mother gravitated toward classic country.
The vivacious entertainer’s own performing career began early, as a karaoke singer at The Red Caboose, a biker bar and grill owned by McGee’s aunt and grandmother. “Before I could speak in sentences, I was singing in front of people,” McGee recalls. Often, McGee and her sister, along with their parents, would spend weekends helping out at the establishment. “It made us really well-rounded, because we got to know and observe people from all walks of life. “
McGee grew up in a close-knit community, her days a flurry of school, church, family time, and plenty of music. She was enrolled in vocal lessons by age seven, and participated in choirs and singing competitions throughout high school.
Her musical style embodies elements of her influences, ranging from the soulful country sounds of The Judds and LeAnn Rimes, to the rock of Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith, and especially the engrossing vocals of Janis Joplin. “I was a really big fan of Janis Joplin for a long time,” McGee says. “I loved her uniqueness and how you could feel her emotion when she sang. But the whole rock ‘n’ roll kind of jagged edge thing wasn’t really me all the way. I always had a sunshiny personality, and I wasn’t as hardened as the rock scene was. Country music always made me happy, and everything always brought me back to that.”
“My goal was always to sing and to sustain myself as a singer,” McGee says. Armed with faith and pluck, McGee placed her bet and traded four years of college for the real-world education of full-time performing.
By her late teens, she was performing in several cover bands, in addition to her own live shows. “If I had taken four years to go to school, I wouldn’t have the experience of playing with a live band, or have had so much time to develop my voice and the direction I wanted to go.”
McGee began writing songs and soliciting material for her upcoming six-song EP, perfecting her sound into a unique fusion of country, soul and rock that would reflect her edgy roots and support her powerhouse vocals. “Run Right Back To You,” which boasts McGee as the sole writer, is among the standouts on the project. “I was inspired by the concept of returning to a person, even though they are not right for you,” McGee says. “I felt so drawn to that concept that I knocked out this song in about 45 minutes. It just poured out, and is one of my favorites on the project.”
McGee laid down tracks in Nashville for the EP at famed studio Ronnie’s Place, alongside musicians who have performed with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, among others. Her current single, “Amen” has been gaining airplay on Northern California radio stations and has recently climbed to the #1 slot on 95.3 KRTY’s ‘Hot 9 @ 9’ segment. It has also gained the attention of Sirius/XM radio, as well as local news stations which will soon be featuring her music and story. McGee also had her first big act accompanying performance, opening with a 30 minute set for country music superstar, Clay Walker in San Jose. Her single off her self-titled EP, “Amen” was released on March 31,2015.
Her full EP will officially be released in May 2015.
“I wanted to blend my love of hard rock and country together,” McGee says of the project. “I have this heavy-hitting, gravelly tone I can get in my voice, and I didn’t want to lose that side of me that played in bars and grew up in bars. But country has always been my favorite genre of music. That’s where I want to be, but I want to bring a bit of that old style of rock with me.”
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