released Jan 5th, 2010

from the album - Keep Drivin'
YouTube - Katharine McPhee - Keep Drivin

from all music

Though Taylor Hicks' quirky soulfulness made him 2006's American Idol, runner-up Katharine McPhee's classic good looks and voice and affinity for traditional pop made her a strong contender throughout the season. In fact, she was one of the first semifinalists to make it to the final 12. A native of Sherman Oaks, CA, McPhee began singing at age two. Her mother, Patricia McPhee, is an established singer in her own right, performing and recording as Peisha McPhee. She helped Katharine develop as a vocalist and gave her more formal training than many American Idol hopefuls receive. Though McPhee sang and acted throughout her childhood and high-school years, she began taking singing more seriously in college, attending Boston Conservatory as a musical theater major. After three semesters, however, she left for Los Angeles to audition for film and television work. McPhee scored roles in the film Crazy, a musical about Hank Garland, and an MTV series, You Are Here, which didn't make it to the air. She also appeared in productions of Annie Get Your Gun and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir before auditioning for American Idol in 2005.

Once McPhee made the final 12, her performances of songs such as "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Come Rain or Come Shine," and "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" made her one of the favorites of American Idol judges and viewers. After the American Idol season ended, McPhee was signed by show creator Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings Limited label and released her first single, Somewhere Over the Rainbow/My Destiny; it became the second best-selling single of 2006. That summer, after bouts with bronchitis and laryngitis, she joined the rest of the finalists and Hicks on the American Idols LIVE! tour and also toured with Andrea Bocelli, who appeared on American Idol as a guest judge. McPhee began recording her self-titled debut album in the fall, working with collaborators such as Timbaland's production partner, Nate "Danja Hand" Hills, Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, and songwriter Kara DioGuardi. "Over It," which was written by the songwriting team of Billy Steinberg, Josh Alexander, and Ruth-Anne Cunningham, arrived a few weeks before Katharine McPhee was released in early 2007.

album review from usa today

Katharine McPhee's fans certainly have had to be patient for her sophomore album, Unbroken, which originally was scheduled for a November release. Coming out the first week of the new year, however, should get the now-blonde Season 5 runner-up more attention from the media and Unbroken a better debut spot on the charts. A track-by-track review of the long-awaited second set follows.

It's Not Right (Lucie Silvas/Gary Go). Katharine jumps into a relationship, then wonders if maybe she's gotten herself in over her head. You could think of this song as a thematic precursor to Had It All. My favorite part of this track is the descending line played by a piano that sounds like it belongs on a Coldplay record and doubled with strings. I also like the way Katharine's snakes the melody around it at the end of the chorus when she sings "It's not ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ight."

Had It All (Kara DioGuardi/Mitch Allan/David Hodges). You've heard the saying, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." This catchy number -- co-written by American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi and a couple of Idol-album regular contributors -- is written from the viewpoint of that other side, when the regretful singer realizes she had everything she needed but foolishly gave it away for something that seemed more promising.

Keep Drivin' (Katharine McPhee/Chris Tompkins/Rachael Yamagata). The first of six songs Katharine co-wrote for Unbroken (pop singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata and Before He Cheats writer Chris Tompkins) continues the theme of regret from Had It All, with an eerie, minor-key melody reinforcing the feeling. Katharine's breathy vocals on the chorus make me think of Aimee
Mann during the 'Til Tuesday era.
Last Letter (Barry Dean/Luke Laird/Katharine McPhee). Where the three previous songs had more of a piano base, Last Letter begins with only acoustic guitar. And if she's been consumed with feelings of regrets and self-doubt so far, here she turns the negative emotions cathartically outward. "It makes me happy to use you a little ... to write this song," she sings, in what's clearly a song about closing the book emotionally on a relationship that didn't end well. Of course, the song's dirty little secret is that the guy she's singing to might not have even thought about her since the break-up. Co-writer Luke Laird's credits include Carrie Underwood's Temporary Home and Last Name; Barry Dean's include Crazy Dreams from Carnival Ride and Martina McBride's God's Will.

Surrender (Katharine McPhee/Indgrid Michaelson/Marshall Altman). This ballad has a rhythm track with a strong backbeat that obscures just how sweetly old-fashioned it is harmonically. And the song's tone is ultimately the most positive so far in the album. The self-doubt still lingers, but with the recognition that someone else values the singer so much it makes her pulse quicken and her heart race. It also has one of my favorite lines of the album: "How many days till I love me the way that you love me?"

Terrified featuring Jason Reeves (Kara DioGuardi/Jason Reeves). Frequent Colbie Caillat collaborator Jason Reeves wrote this with Kara DioGuardi, and it's easy to imagine Colbie singing this chorus, which sounds much more lighthearted than the song's title suggests. In some ways, it's about almost exactly the same thing as It's Not Right -- the overwhelming emotions the come with with giving into a new relationship -- only this time the emotions feel scary-good, not scary-bad.

How (Lucie Silvas/Mike Busbee/Alexander James). A low-key, slowly building rocker about starting to take control of one's life but not being quite sure how to do it. Still, the album's general tone has shifted from regret to cautious optimism.

Say Goodbye (Troy Verges/Aimee Mayo/Chris Lindsey/Hillary Lindsey). Some people will find this hushed break-up ballad achingly lovely, but I tend to get lost in the jumble of similes. His words are like a circus, she feels like an actress, her heart's like a circus. Scissors, actresses, circus -- sounds like this song has the making of a CSI episode. Oh, wait -- this song was in a CSI episode.

Faultline (Lucie Silvas/Rachel Thibodeau). Lay some rumbling spy-guitar on top of this track, and it would sound like it belonged in a James Bond film. It's got a nice dynamic to it, and Katharine sings the fire out of it. FWIW, co-writer Rachel Thibodeau was also one of the writers on Billy Currington's country smash Good Directions.

Anybody's Heart (Barry Dean/Luke Laird/Katharine McPhee). Katharine's voice barely rises above a whisper on this exquisitely fragile song about lost innocence and broken hearts. She sings, "All I wanted was to feel safe, safe in your arms." But of course you know that didn't happen.

Lifetime (Boot Ottestad/Katharine McPhee). With its staccato "ah-ah-ah" backing vocals, this song sounds almost completely different from anything else on Unbroken (and has a different producer, co-writer Boots Ottestad; everything else, except for track 4 is produced by John Alagia). It's has a wonderful message that the woman who sang all the preceding songs would need to hear: "All the dreams in life that you've been letting go/Blink and then you'll miss it and you'll never know/This could be the moment that turns into a lifetime."

Unbroken (Paula Cole/Katharine McPhee). Katharine wrote the title track with Paula (Where Have All the Cowboys Gone) Cole, a song that acknowledges how a relationship's pains and troubles can actually strengthen it.

Bonus track: Brand New Key (Melanie Safka). I'm 46, and I never wore roller skates that required keys (they were used to clamp the skates to one's shoes), so I've long suspected this song was almost dated when it was a hit for Melanie back in 1971. It's extremely catchy (one you hear that vaguely sexual refrain, "I've got a brand-new pair of roller skates, you've got a brand new key," it's hard to get out of your head), and it's freewheeling melody is probably fun as all get-out to sing, especially when accompanied by the subtle Bo Diddley groove Kat's version has. Still, considering that she has said she didn't know the song before the Unbroken sessions, I can't imagine what possessed her to record it.