Ellisha"Teapot"McKinney hails from Minneapolis, MN where she was born and raised. The youngest of four children born to Kenneth and Lenora, it was obvious to her parents that Ellisha would be a bright and shining star. It actually reads on her birth certificate, "Today a star is born!" Ellisha took to singing at an early age singing on recordings for her mother and her friends at the tender age of 2 years old. By the time she was 4 and 5 she had routines to accompany her vocals that would entertain the family for hours. Her mother can recount Ellisha rehearsing without end on a miniature organ to all of her childhood albums in her first studio in her bedroom.
When her talents could no longer be confined to the house Ellisha joined her first choir, the Sweeties Choir at the First Church Of God in Christ at the age of 6. She also began participating in various talent shows throughout elementary and middle schools. Her talents were quickly identified and utilized by teachers and faculty who began to include her as well in school musicals and school assemblies. Being slightly reserved in high school she had to be persuaded to fill in vocally for another student who pretended to be sick to get Ellisha to sing for an assembly. It was not long before she again was the featured vocalist for game openings, assemblies and even her own graduation.
Ellisha went on to attend Howard University after high school where she quickly earned the nickname, "Teapot" after a show stopping audition of her Jazzy rendition of the nursery rhyme, "I'm A Little Teapot" for the Howard Gospel Choir. She remained at Howard for two degreed programs, Criminal Justice/Sociology and Jazz Studies/Voice. It was during her second degree that her strong contralto voice was developed and her range expanded from 2nd soprano to 2nd tenor.
Ellisha has sung background vocals for Shirley Ceaser, Bee Bee and Cee Cee Winans, Karen Clark-Sheard, and many others. She has toured with the award winning Howard Gospel Choir and in 2001 toured extensively with Tony Terry's "A Better Man" CD release tour. She recently had the pleasure of singing background and doing duet work with the Grammy Award winning Gordon Chambers. As well as the auspicious opportunity to open for Mint Condition and the world famous AL GREEN!
Ellisha also enjoys a solo career where she has given her gifts on many stages in the DC Metropolitan area including The Image House, Bar Nun, and the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage to name a few. She's done some successful radio commercial work for the Minneapolis and DC areas, she's performed privately for the likes of Bobby McFerrin and has arranged and written for various local artists. She also enjoys a successful career as a vocal instructor in which she has been teaching for the past 15 years. She was recently a keynote speaker at the 2008 Soul Music Summit in Atlanta,GA where she spoke on Vocal Care. Some of her vocal clients include Eric Roberson, Frenchie Davis,Geno Young, Curt Chambers of Franklin Bridge and up and coming artists Rashida Jolley, Ray Mooring, Mike Thompson of The Lissen Band, David J. of Ndelible and Miah of EU. She has also recently worked with recording artist David Anthony and Angela Johnson. And Teapot was the vocal consultant to "Sunday's Best" Y'Anna Crawley.
On November 16, 2003, Ellisha independently released her debut album, "Same Man, Different Name". It's a well put together conceptual album about her experience with love and how love affected her life. It's a plethora of music including R&B, Rock, House and Gospel. Clearly in this project she is not afraid to leave any stone unturned. She openly and refreshingly exposes her heart for the sake of the music and her craft. "Same Man, Different Name" is a collection of passions, love, fears, revelations, self-discovery and peace with a clear direction that will have your head boppin', your heart thumpin' and your mind whirlin'! Read Ellisha's views about music at www.rhythmflow.net
If you wish to reach Teapot please do so at: WWW.MYSPACE.COM/ELLISHATEAPOTMCKINNEY