Nellie McKay, Will Dollinger release song benefiting Russian gay rights advocacy (video)

Famed singer, songwriter and actress Nellie McKay has joined singer, and DC political tech guru, Will Dollinger in releasing a new song on iTunes about anti-LGBT violence in Russia.

The song, called “Vodka,” will benefit the gay rights work of progressive advocacy site AMERICAblog and LGBT activist group Queer Nation NY.

Both AMERICAblog and Queer Nation NY have been at the forefront of the effort to raise international awareness of the human rights crisis facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Russia, Africa, and beyond.

“Vodka” was written, and is sung, by Dollinger and McKay.  It’s about the increasing violence faced by LGBT people, and especially youth, in Russia as the country continues its growing crackdown on all minority voices.

Dollinger and McKay are donating 100% of the proceeds from the sales of “Vodka” to AMERICAblog and Queer Nation NY because of the extensive work AMERICAblog and Queer Nation NY have done on the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia for gay and trans people over the last few years.

The song will be available for purchase on iTunes starting next week.

Singer Nellie McKay, photo by Rick Gonzalez.

Singer Nellie McKay, photo by Rick Gonzalez.

I wanted to take a moment to personally thank Will, who has been a great supporter of AMERICAblog for years, and Nellie McKay, who I’ve been a huge fan of since I first saw her sing at a benefit for either the Children’s Defense Fund or Planned Parenthood during the 2004 GOP convention in NYC.  I was simply blown away by Nellie’s vocals (and she’s charming as all get-out in person, too). She is a unique and beautiful singer, and has a wicked sense of humor and life, to boot. If you’re not familiar with her music, Google her. You won’t be disappointed.

But why trust me?  Here’s David Byrne (yes, that David Byrne, of the Talking Heads):

“Her last two ‘cabaret’ shows I saw have been jaw-dropping. They both completely subverted the genre,” said David Byrne, a fan who enlisted Ms. McKay to sing on his concept album “Here Lies Love.”

Among Ms. McKay’s charms, Mr. Byrne said, are the ways she playfully mixes what he called a “tragic noir vibe” with her “wicked sense of humor.”

McKay is also quite the activist, on issues ranging from veganism to feminism and animal rights, and has spoken out about her concerns on fracking and the surveillance state, among other issues.  So it’s no surprise that she responded to Will’s call for assistance on the Russia project as well.

Here is the “Vodka” video, and below that is Dollinger’s press release about the project:


Here’s the press release, with more information about the project:

Atlanta, GA, 2014: Singers Will Dollinger and Nellie McKay announce the release of their new joint single “Vodka” to focus attention on the plight of LGBT youth.

Will Dollinger

Will Dollinger

“I wrote the song after having read on AMERICAblog about the horrible situation in Russia. I have known Nellie from activism and protesting in New York. We are both very activist oriented and I knew she would be a great addition on the song. I played the song for her and asked her if she could contribute a rap. She said yes right away, and the result is a powerful call to action that is up there with some of her finest work.”

All of the money from iTunes purchases will be donated to AMERICAblog and Queer Nation NY to continue their work exposing and campaigning on LGBT rights in Russia. “AMERICAblog and Queer Nation NY have been doing the crucial work to bring the issue onto the international stage” says Dollinger.

Nellie McKay, by Brian Blauser.

Nellie McKay, by Brian Blauser.

Nellie McKay has won a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Polly Peachum in the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera and performed onscreen in the film PS I Love You, as well as writing original music for the Rob Reiner film Rumor Has It and contributing to the New York Times Book Review.

Her music has also been heard on the TV shows Weeds, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Privileged and Nurse Jackie, and Nellie has appeared on numerous TV shows including Late Show with David Letterman (with the Brooklyn Philharmonic), The View, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Live with Regis & Kelly and CBS Saturday Morning.

In 2010, the Chase Brock Experience produced a ballet of her third album, Obligatory Villagers, while Nellie recently finished contributing to the soundtrack for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Home Sweet Mobile Home is McKay’s latest album of all-original material and features the musical wanderlust, lyrical playfulness and unique point of view that has characterized her music since her breakthrough debut Get Away From Me.

Will Dollinger is an Atlanta-based singer songwriter who is currently wrapping up production of his second CD, “Dirty Money.”


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • Anonymous

    It’s so sad :(
    But you are using your influence, which can make big changes…and that is our best hope!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I know, I think that, and the news from Africa, has been kind of a downer for people. But that’s the only way we can beat them, is by exposing what they’re doing, educating people, and then hoping that the pressure, via business and governments and more, causes change. But yeah, it’s hard to look at. Trust me, I know :)

  • Anonymous

    Personally, when I think about Russia I feel very discouraged. :/ So many people getting hurt there of all kinds. I hope this song will help, idk. I can’t really stomach news about Russia anymore. So many people getting beaten and dying for nothing.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    She’s gorgeous. And NICE, and funny, and smart. I wish I were straight :) Almost.

  • 2karmanot

    Good News!!!

  • FLL

    Congrats, John. Score!

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    She’s pretty. Never heard of her, but sounds great.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yep, I remember her playing the ukulele in NYC as well.

  • paulabflat

    check out nellie’s mother of pearl on youtube.
    she gives great uke, too.

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