AboutKatharine Hope McPhee(born March 25, 1984) is an American actress, singer and songwriter.
From humble beginnings as a native of Sherman Oaks, CA, McPhee began singing at two years old. 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 she auditioned for American Idol in 2005.
Though Katharine McPhee made it to the final two, gaining fame in May 2006 coming runner-up on the fifth season of American Idol(losing to Taylor Hicks), it was her classic good looks, voice and affinity for traditional pop that made her a strong contender throughout the season. In fact, she was one of the first semifinalists to make it to the final 12 on the show.
After her Idol season ended, McPhee was signed to show creator Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings Limited label and released her debut single My Destiny which also featured Somewhere Over the Rainbow(as a double A-side to allow radio stations to pick either song to play) which resulted in becoming 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 then began recording her 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.
Katharine McPhee, her self-titled debut album was released by RCA Records on January 30, 2007, debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200, selling 381,000 copies (as of December 2010). The album's first single, Over It, was written by the songwriting team of Billy Steinberg, Josh Alexander, and Ruth-Anne Cunningham who arrived a few weeks before the album was to be released. It was a Pop Top 30 hit and was certified gold in 2008.
Her second album, Unbroken, was released by Verve Forecast Records on January 5, 2010, and debuted at #27 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album featured the single Had It All, which peaked at #22 on the AC chart.
McPhee then released her fourth album, Hysteria, on September 18, 2015.
She has also established an acting career with roles such as: co-starring in "The House Bunny" in 2008 and "Shark Night 3D" in 2011. From February 6, 2012, to May 26, 2013, McPhee played Karen Cartwright, one of the lead roles on the short-lived series, Smash (tv show). From September 2014 to April 2018, she starred in "Scorpion" as Paige Dineen.
As well as her standout Broadway role as Jenna in "Waitress"(becoming the final female performer to play the lead role during the show's run) from April 10 to June 17, 2018, then again from July 5 to August 19, 2018 - as well as her second time around from November 25, 2019, through to January 5, 2020.
In 2021, McPhee returned to the small screen as she starred in a family comedy TV series "Country Comfort" that is on Netflix.