Nellie McKay has been dropped by Columbia Records after a dispute over her sophomore album, “Pretty Little Head,” turned ugly.
The singer-songwriter, whose 2004 album, “Get Away From Me,” was a breakout hit, said Columbia decided not to distribute her new album, which had been set for release Tuesday. McKay had pressed for a 23-song, 65-minute version, while Columbia wanted a 16-song, 48-minute cut.
“It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why — they kept the coffeepot, I got the dog,” the 21-year-old McKay said in a statement. “All that matters to me is that I can continue to make irritating music which will baffle and enrage.”
Calls by The Associated Press to Columbia Records, which is owned by Sony BMG, weren’t immediately returned Tuesday.
The split was first reported by Billboard magazine, which said that at recent shows, McKay had given the personal e-mail address of Columbia chairman Will Botwin to fans, encouraging them to urge the release of the album’s longer version.
“I thought we had resolved things favorably,” McKay told The New York Times for Tuesday editions. “We were just finalizing the artwork.”
Botwin, however, left the company and was replaced by former Epic Records chairman Steve Barnett. At a New York concert following the executive change, McKay dedicated a song to Botwin and said the way he was forced out was unfair.
Soon after, McKay was told her album wouldn’t be released by Columbia in any form.
“Pretty Little Head” had already been supplied to the press, drawing very positive reviews from Spin and Blender magazines.
McKay has contributed six new songs to the soundtrack of the recently released Rob Reiner film, “Rumor Has It...”
She will co-star with Alan Cumming, Cyndi Lauper and Ana Gasteyer in the musical “The Threepenny Opera,” opening on Broadway in March.