Ticket to Somewhere
It is said that when preparation meets passion, people find themselves in a position to do big things. In the summer of 2000, an awkward teenager from the small city of Wheeling, West Virginia discovered the first half of this equation: passion. Armed with a guitar, a notebook, and a pen, Derrick McKee became a singer/songwriter as he wrote and recorded his first song, 'A Chance,' at his computer desk. Moments later, while listening to his ballad, Derrick fell in love with the art of songwriting. By the end of the night, Derrick had penned five songs and had no plans to stop. Towards the end of high school, Derrick had written over twenty songs and had even recorded a rough, 8-track demo titled Live From the Living Room. Not knowing much about the music business or where to start, Derrick contacted several club owners regarding the possibility of performing. After several setbacks, Derrick was given a chance to open for a couple regulars at Generations Pub in Wheeling. Derrick immediately became addicted to performing live and quickly developed his own acoustic act, which became a Generations Pub staple in it's own right. As Derrick's first day of college approached, he had no idea what to major in or what classes to take. All he knew was that he was going to be involved in music in some way, shape, or form. After reading an article which described a career in music production, Derrick went to his advisor and said, 'I'd like to be a music production major.' 'That's great,' said the advisor. 'Unfortunately, West Virginia University does not offer that major at this time.' A bit dismayed, Derrick continued seeking advice and knowledge from his advisor, his friends, and his family. After a long discussion with his former boss, Derrick decided to study business marketing and communication, while attending music production programs and workshops during the summer. A year later, Derrick co-produced his first studio demo, the Blue Skies Mourning EP, which he used to recruit musicians into a band under the same name. For the next couple years, Derrick and Blue Skies Mourning performed as much as possible within the greater Pittsburgh region, and was even named one of the top unsigned bands in West Virginia by WVAQ/West Virginia Radio Corporation. In addition, they were voted one of the top unsigned bands in the Pittsburgh region via a competition run by the Zippo Hot Tour. Unfortunately, Blue Skies Mourning disbanded as the members graduated from college and went in different directions; however, several optimistic thoughts stuck in Derrick's mind, one of which was a quote from the Semisonic song, 'Closing Time': Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. Rather than choosing to look at the band's break up as a stumbling block, Derrick chose to look at it as a learning experience and hit the ground running. In January of 2006, Derrick re-entered the recording studio and began work on what would eventually become his debut album, Ticket to Somewhere. The album, which actually features seven re-worked songs originally found on his high school demos, is a logical starting point for a musician who values not only the story found in each individual song, but the overall progression and development of an artist which unfolds over the course of albums. While it has been nearly six years since some of the songs on Ticket to Somewhere were written (one of which, 'Lift Me Up Again,' was written on that first night), Derrick sings them today with the same hope and vigor as he did when they were his latest creations. The difference today is that Derrick has spent six years fulfilling the second half of that explosive equation, preparing himself in the business of music, as a musician, and as a person. Now, with the future infront of him and Ticket to Somewhere on the horizon, Derrick is ready to step out the front door and embark on a ride which he has been waiting on for six years. His only hope now is that you come along as well.