Nellie McKay sings, croons, raps, grooves and — barks? — to glowing critical acclaim.

Why you should listen

Playful, quirky, hilarious, endearing: not attributes of your typical political agitator. But singer-songwriter-producer-activist Nellie McKay merits the description. Her music is whimsical, colorful, catchy and as engaging as it is restless. Toying with antique genres and yet undeniably contemporary, it flirts with multiple styles of delivery while maintaining a sharp social conscience.

For these and other eccentricities, McKay has gained a devoted fan following. On stage and off, she's an outspoken advocate of animal rights, a friend and ally to any arch political quip and -- lucky for us -- artistically uncompromising. After cutting two major-label records, her own indie label, Hungry Mouse, produced her latest, Obligatory Villagers.

What others say

“McKay crafts piano-based standards that bristle with smart, thorny lyrics and address everything from cloning to pet adoption, and she delivers them with lingering languor, then rat-a-tat bravado.” — Entertainment Weekly

Nellie McKay’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Nellie McKay

4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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"The Dog Song": Nellie McKay on

August 22, 2008

Animal fan Nellie McKay sings a sparkling tribute to her dear dog. She suggests we all do the same: “Just go right to the pound/ And find yourself a hound/ And make that doggie proud/ ’cause that’s what it’s all about.” Nellie’s TED performance of “The Dog Song” is dedicated to this handsome fellow, Carmello, […]

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"Mother of Pearl" and "If I Had You": more Nellie McKay on

July 11, 2008

Link fixed: The wonderful Nellie McKay sings “Mother of Pearl” (with the immortal first line “Feminists don’t have a sense of humor”) and “If I Had You” from her sparkling set at TED2008. (Recorded February 2008 in Monterey, California. Duration: 5:34.)   Watch Nellie McKay’s 2008 performance on, where you can download it, rate […]

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