Cassandre McKinley

Position
Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments
Faculty Bio E-Mail
Telephone
617-747-6923

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Boston native Cassandre McKinley is a singer, recording artist, composer, producer, vocal coach, and educator. As an artist and singer, she channels genres ranging from soul, jazz, and blues to R&B, pop, and country, unifying them into a singular sound. This freedom from stylistic boundaries defines McKinley’s approach to making music. In her youth, McKinley studied voice, dance, and theater, and by 19, after attending Boston Conservatory, she was signed with an agent and working as an actor, singer, dancer, print model, and voice-over artist. She has five solo records, including 2006's Til Tomorrow: Remembering Marvin Gaye (Maxjazz/Mack Avenue), hailed by JazzTimes as “a rich, sensual salute,” and 2018's Dragonfly, which features the robust vocal interpretations that she'd become known for. Her music can be heard on hundreds of national and international radio stations and cable and internet music outlets, including iHeartRadio, Spotify, Pandora, and Sirius XM. Currently an associate professor of voice at Berklee College of Music and an instructor at Berklee Online, she continues to perform regularly as a solo artist and featured guest artist.

Career Highlights
  • Solo artist releases: Dragonfly (Drexi Records, 2018), Til Tomorrow: Remembering Marvin Gaye (Maxjazz/Mack Avenue, 2007), Baring the Soul (Drexi Records, 2004), Stay the Night (CDS, 2001), and Right in Front of You (CDS, 1999)
  • Collaborations with Peter Eldridge (New York Voices), Dave Mattacks (Paul McCartney, Elton John), Herb Pomeroy, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Duke Levine, and Doug Bell
  • Vocal coach to actress/singer Anya Taylor-Joy (Last Night in Soho, Playmobil: The Movie)
  • New York cast of West Side Story (Rosalia) in 1991 with Davis Gaines, Karen Ziemba, and Kathleen Marshall
  • Featured track on Spotify's Vocal Jazz playlist
  • Features in JazzTimes, Jazziz, DownBeat, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the New York Times, and the Washington Post
  • Featured artist/vocal coach, Boston Pops
  • Featured artist for Bose
  • Performed at the 2006 Monterey Jazz Festival 
  • Studies in Alexander, Estill, and LoVetri techniques
Education
  • Boston Conservatory, musical theater major/voice minor, 1987–1990
  • Berklee College of Music, 2016–2018
In Their Own Words

"As an experienced recording artist and performer, I love sharing my real-life perspective and insight into the industry with my students so they are able to establish reasonable expectations and career goals for themselves. Knowing what is expected of you as an artist is imperative to a successful launch into music as a career. Having someone speak to them honestly about those expectations, how to prepare musically (and emotionally), sets them up for a more empowered and rewarding introduction when the time comes."

"My students and I have a unique bond that I foster by encouraging open, honest communication and enforcing a solid work ethic. This results in positive, productive lessons and a shared excitement when goals and milestones are met. I live for those moments because it truly highlights how awesome that teacher/student bond really is."

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