Born Robin McElhatten in Rochester, New York, she started studying classical piano when she was 5. As a teenager, because she was intrigued by jazz harmonies, she switched to playing jazz piano, performing in ensembles at school. She attended the University of Miami during 1994-96 and graduated from Berklee in 1999. McKelle worked in Los Angeles, toured as a backup singer, and decided to move back to Boston where she taught voice at Berklee for three years. After working locally in a trio and taking third place in the 2004 Thelonious Monk Vocal Jazz Competition, she launched her solo career. Her debut CD, Introducing Robin McKelle, teams her with a big band filled with top Los Angeles musicians, reviving superior older songs and making them sound fresh. Her most recent work are a retunr to her love of R&B, Soul and even Americana. Her latest album Soul Flower is being released in the USA on Okeh Records/Sony Music on June 11th 2013.
McKelle performs regularly at jazz festivals and clubs in Europe and is just beginning to become well known in the United States.