Katy Perry, Lady Gaga Were Early Sparks In Bonnie McKee’s ‘Pop Explosion’

'American Girl' singer opens up to MTV News about the artists who helped her make the leap from songwriter to pop star.

Bonnie McKee proudly declared her independence as a solo artist on her feisty “American Girl” single, proving that she’s ready to step out from behind the shadows and top the charts herself.

“I kind of like to fuse the singer/songwriter thing with a modern pop stuff because I do love pop music,” she told MTV News. “I was raised on Michael Jackson and Madonna and Prince and all these people [and] that’s what I want to hear. I hear Janet Jackson and I get psyched; and I hear Carole King and I get psyched. But I like to dance, personally, so that’s where I’m trying to go.”

McKee’s decision to be her own artist comes at a time when a number of songwriters, like Bruno Mars, have emerged from the studio and crafted their own pop success. She credits him, as well as a handful of other A-listers, for making it acceptable to make the leap. “I think that people like Bruno Mars and even Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Pink, Alicia Keys — all of these people were signed and dropped songwriters as well,” she said. “I think I’m just another in a long lineage of songwriters turned artists, and I’m proud to be one.”

However, she still holds her strictly songwriter days close to her heart, using a lot of what she learned working alongside super producers like Dr. Luke and Max Martin to help shape her album. “Absolutely, all of the experience that I’ve had behind the scenes has taught me so much,” she said. “I’m so grateful to have the experience on my first album [2004's Trouble], I was green. I was a babe in the woods. It’s nice to come back.”

Now, McKee is poised to drop what she calls is a “deep album disguised as a pop explosion.” She worked with her producer/musician boyfriend Oliver “Oligee” Goldstein from the band Oliver for most of the tracks, including “American Girl.”

“When I wrote ‘American Girl,’ I felt like it was the quintessential Bonnie McKee song,” McKee explained. “It was really bright visuals and colorful pictures and that’s kind of what I wanted to do was give my fans a glimpse into my head and what my life was like as a teenager growing up in America. I wanted to give my own American experience.”