Trail Of Broken Hearts - A Jon McLaughlin Fansite

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List of articles, press material, interviews and reviews featuring Jon McL.

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DAVID MAGAZINE
Why you should know who Jon McLaughlin is

By BUCK C. COOKE
Aug. 20, 2008
Atlanta, GA

HE'S HANDSOME, TALENTED AND puts on a passionate live show. So why have most people never heard of Jon McLaughlin?

McLaughlin’s debut album, “Indiana,” received wide acclaim, and his performance at last year’s Academy Awards of “So Close” from the Disney movie “Enchanted” garnered stellar reviews.

Others may remember him as the answer to the question: "Who is that cute guy who opened for Kelly Clarkson?"

Well, now's your chance to get in on all the buzz. McLaughlin rolls into Atlanta Aug. 22 to promote his new album, “OK Now,” due out in October.

The piano man tells David all about how the new album is less driven by the ivory 88 than his debut, and how he taps into some retro roots.

“I am into the ‘80s right now, so there’s a little bit of pop influences on the record,” he says. “It’s really diverse, stylistically. There’s a straight-up jazz song on there. It’s more upbeat and danceable.”

For “OK Now,” McLaughlin says he “definitely went into the writing and recording process way, way, way more open."

“I am a piano player. I love Ben Folds Five,” he admits, but also, “I like Radiohead, and in the past, I would hear a song by them but never think that I could write music like that.

"Going into this album, I was open to anything and everything, not to feel that I can’t write any genre of music.”

The results should yield more radio play and sales for McLaughlin. He combines artful turns of phrase with considerable skills behind the piano, and the results are spellbinding.

“BEATING MY HEART,” the lead single for “OK Now,” still features the piano, but the track is guitar-driven and would fit right in on pop and adult contemporary radio. On “We All Need Saving,” McLaughlin went for “an a capella thing.”

“It’s stacks of me singing these ‘ooos’ like a choir,” he says, adding that the song evolved in many forms: “Me at the piano, me on the guitar, a big band version…”

On “Four Years,” McLaughlin speaks directly to teenagers.

“You realize the rest of your life is before you and that high school is only four years," he says. "Your life is more than the stupid, petty, little things that annoy you. I wish I could go back in time and not worry about the stupid stuff.”

AS HE GEARS UP for his show in Atlanta, one of the last stops on this leg of his tour, McLaughlin reflects on the special place our city holds in his heart.

“I think the first time I played Atlanta was at Eddie’s Attic, and it was probably the worst show I have ever played,” he laughs. “We had a great turnout, and I totally freaked out. It knocked me off my game that people were there. I didn’t know what to do.

"Afterward, I thought, ‘I can’t do this for a living. I wasted everyone’s time.’”

Good for all of us, and apparently thanks to some of us, it all turned out alright.

“Atlanta’s one of the only cities that has supported me since the beginning,” he says, adding that this tour is wowing even him.

“The fans have been seriously great,” McLaughlin says. “I leave this tour feeling like I want to write a thank you card to every single person who came to the show.”

That's OK, Jon. Just keep doing what you're doing. We'll listen. Oh, and keep posing for pictures.

Billboard Magazine Review Scan

Almost Pop
McLaughlin Dabbles in Crossover Sounds On Island Album
by Mikael Wood
September 6, 2008


Right click and 'view image' to view fullsize

Take 5 (+2) with Jon McLaughlin

By Amy Sandova
October 9, 2008

“Beating My Heart” the first single from Jon McLaughlin’s sophomore album OK Now (Island/Def Jam) has been making waves on the radio (both figuratively and literally) for weeks. Produced by Jon Fields (Switchfoot, Jonas Brothers), the album has a soulful, bluesy pop-rock inspired by the likes of Billy Joel, Elton John, and perhaps even John Mayer (though Jon is resistant to compare himself to his peers). Jon was kind enough to “Take 5 + 2” with Backseat Writer on the precipice of his album release, which was this Tuesday, Oct. 7.

You’re a Christian who’s also a musician, but you find the whole division between secular and Christian music a bit nonsensical. Why do you think it’s not always beneficial to listeners to throw music into these categories?

I think the categories prevent people from listening to good music. There’s a lot of good music out there and there’s some bad music, too (I have written my share) - the problem is that when I get put into a category of “Christian” music or “secular” music, or whatever, my music takes on all the stereotypes that that genre brings with it. So whatever a particular person feels about “Christian” music, good or bad, they’re going to put some of that on my music before even hearing it. And there are people out there who won’t listen to “Christian” music simply because it’s in that genre, and there are those who won’t listen to “secular” music for the same reason.

So, you’re that cute singer who belts out “So Close” in the movie Enchanted. Being a fan of Disney ballads, what was it like to perform one written by Academy Award winning composer Alan Menken, who wrote songs for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast? (Psst! Tell us a little bit about being on the set with Patrick Dempsey, Amy Adams, and the rest of the cast!)

I can’t even tell you what an honor it is to be associated with names like Disney, Alan Menken, Steven Schwartz… it’s ridiculous! Being on the set of the movie was really fun - I felt a bit out of my league working with Patrick Dempsey, Amy Adams, James Marsden, and Idina Menzel. They were all the nicest people and it was cool to get a glimpse of what their lives are like working late nights on the set and putting in such long hours.

After your appearance in Enchanted, sales of your first album on Island/Def Jam soared, causing many people to cling to your heart-wrenching song, “Beautiful Disaster.” What inspired the writing of this song?

The great thing about “Beautiful Disaster” is that it’s relatable. That’s also the unfortunate thing about the song. Everyone has a weird, warped image of themselves on some level and this song doesn’t really offer a solution to the problem (although I wish it did) but it at least lets people know that everyone’s in the same boat.

Similarly, on your new album (which is amazing) you composed the lyrically-driven song “4 Years” which encourages kids to just be themselves. Why did you write this song?

“4 Years” is a song I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Ever since I graduated from high school. I just wanted to write a song that would remind high school kids that high school is not the rest of your life…and that every decision in high school is NOT life or death. When you’re 15 it’s hard to see past graduation day and part of you feels like the world you’re in while you’re in high school will be for the rest of your life - but it’s not true….it’s just 4 years.

OK Now’s first song “Beating My Heart” was actually written “on the spot.” Can you regale me with the story?

Well, it had been over a year since I finished Indiana and I was experiencing a little writer’s block but it was beyond time for me to start writing songs for the new record. So I was wracking my brain but nothing was coming. So one day, the band and I were at a sound check and Chad, my drummer, asked me to play some of the new material I had been working on. I didn’t have anything written but I didn’t want to admit to the band that I was having writer’s block so I said I had this new song, it’s not quite finished, but here it is…and that’s what came out.

I’m gonna make this a “Take 5″ +2 because I have to ask a Billy Joel question because you’re such a big admirer of his work. If you were asked to perform a song on a Billy Joel tribute album, what song would you pick and why?

I would do ANY Billy Joel song because they’re all awesome…but if I had to pick one I would probably pick “New York State of Mind” - I just love that song. Everything about it.

Since you’re “the movie song guy,” which song from OK Now is predicted to be the next “movie song”? I’m thinking “We All Need Saving,” but what’s your take?

I think you’re right. There’s just something about “We All Need Saving” that feels like film. It just feels like it should be synced up to that one scene in that one movie.

Source: http://backseatwriter.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/take-5-2-with-jon-mclaughlin/

 

Hoopla Feature Artist

Jon McLaughlin Ready to Release Sophomore Effort, Ok Now
Words By Joe Koch

After releasing his debut, Indiana, on Island Def Jam records, Jon McLaughlin is now ready to put forth his sophomore effort, OK Now, which hits store shelves Oct. 7. I recently caught up with Jon at his hotel in Niagara Falls, N.Y. before his show with Eddie Money. He filled us in on his new record and what it's like to perform at the Oscars.

After Indiana, Jon felt it was time for a musical and stylistic transformation. His first major label release Indiana was the first time he had to co-write with anyone; he also felt the need to prove how capable he was at the piano.

Prior to this he had released an EP, which was solo piano, that he recorded eight songs in two hours. It was "a throw and go style," said Jon. "I've always been a huge Ben Folds Five fan. I love the mentality of whatever happens that ends up being the record." Originally, Jon wanted Indiana to sound like Ben Fold's album, Whatever and Ever Amen. Ben opted to not record with guitars and let the piano be the driving force behind the music. Jon quickly realized that it really didn't fit his music style. But don't get me wrong, Jon's piano playing shines with impressiveness on Indiana.

Ironically, the opportunity for him to perform the hit song "So Close" from the 2007 Disney movie "Enchanted" did not come from his ability to play the keys. Jon was able to play an old-school crooner. It gave him an opportunity to try something different, ultimately influencing his new record.

The highlight came when he found out at the end of 2007 that the movie was up for an Oscar and he was asked to perform "So Close" at the 80th Annual Academy Awards ceremony.
"I had recorded it about a year and a half before it premiered. Then when I watched it for the first time and then the second ... I was like, 'This is a classic Disney movie,'" explained Jon. He had no idea that it had the potential to get nominated for an Oscar. "The excitement builds about a month before and then you show up a week in advance to do the rehearsals, then you're walking down the red carpet with George Clooney in front of you and you perform and you go to the after party," said Jon. "Then it's over and you go back to your hotel room and you think, 'How do I go back to living my life after I've just been to the Oscars?' It's crazy." He refers to it as a career defining moment.

The Oscar performance was the perfect event to refuel people's interest in Jon Mclaughlin's music. Indiana saw a 1,514 percent overnight sales increase at Amazon.com, which hopefully will peak people's interest in Jon's new release.

Now ready to take his music into a new direction, OK Now you will see that the piano is not the main focus and the core element is the work that went into writing songs that would be more accessible, allowing a broader target audience.

"The Piano is featured, but we pick and choose where we're gonna have it. As opposed to every song starting out with the guy at the piano," says Jon. "As a record I felt like I knew what should happen, pretty early on. It wasn't just writing songs, and then we'll just piece something together and give it a name. All the songs had a theme."

Some key ingredients to making this album a possible success is the hiring of producer John Fields (Rooney, Jonas Brothers, Lifehouse and Switchfoot.) Jon also teamed up with some pretty reputable song-writers like Jason Reeves (Colbie Callait's "Bubbly") as well as writer/producers Tricky and The-Dream (Rihanna's "Umbrella"), Troy Verges (Kenny Chesney's "You Save Me") and Brett James (Carrie Underwood's "Jesus, Take the Wheel.")

"I was really excited to work with acclaimed L.A. singer/songwriter Bleau," said Jon. They co-wrote "You Can Never Go Back.

Jon feels fortunate to have the support of his label. With the industry struggling, there’s not many labels allowing artist to grow and develop their music.
"The album feels right for the next move in my career," said Jon. The slow pace is exactly what he wants. He's very content with supporting acts like Kelly Clarkson.
"It's stress-free. I mean you have to work a little harder to get people's attention, but it always goes over well," he said. With the release of OK Now, he will take a short break and then do the media circuit of TV, radio, football games and interviews. You can currently catch the first single "Beating My Heart" on the VH-1 countdown.

Source: http://www.hooplamusicmagazine.com/feature_artist/jon_mclaughlin/jon_mclaughlin.htm

A Chat With Jon McLaughlin

By: Mike Farley (mfarley@bullz-eye.com)

01/02/2009

He grew up listening to Elton John and Billy Joel and Harry Connick, Jr., and later, Ben Folds. Today he is his own piano-playing singer and songwriter, and an awesome one at that. Armed with his debut on Island Records, OK Now, Jon McLaughlin (no relation to the older jazz guitarist) is not out to try and match the success of the icons he has looked up to, but to channel those influences into a great set of music, which he’s clearly done. And McLaughlin has learned recently not to take fantasy football advice from a former NFL player.

Jon McLaughlin: Hey Mike. It’s Jon McLaughlin. How are you?

Bullz-Eye: Good. How are you doing, Jon?

JM: Good.

BE: Cool. So are you on tour yet or are you in Indiana?

JM
: We go on tour…we sort of start on Sunday night. We’re in Indianapolis on Sunday night and then we head up to Milwaukee and start our circle around the country. Last circle of the year.

BE: Are you based in Indiana still or do you live somewhere else?

JM
: I just moved out to California a few months ago. It’s kind of weird. All of our stuff is still stored in Indiana and we’re still pretty much…we spend more time in Indiana than out here for sure.

BE: So, I love the new album. I submitted a review last week.

JM: Oh thanks.

BE: This is your second?

JM: Second one with Island.

BE: Did you do anything before that on your own?

JM: Yes. I did a little solo piano EP before I signed with Island. And then I did a record while I was in college. The university I went to had a student-run label that they started up while I was there. So I did a record there, like a self-titled thing.

BE
: What school was it?

JM: Anderson University in Anderson, Ind.

BE: OK. That’s a really cool thing that they did. So, ironically where I first heard you, I know Adisena because we work on Ludo together. But I first heard you because I grew up in New York and I’m a huge Mets fan and I heard you on WFAN doing that Mets song. I was listening online and I was like, man, who is that guy? He’s got a great voice. And I asked the producer and he told me. And I’m like, yeah, I remember Island telling me about him.

JM: That’s funny. That was the funniest radio thing I’ve ever done. Obviously it’s kind of a different show than I’m used to. I think we got there at like 8, and we were there, we were on the air from 8 until 10:30 or something, just hanging out.

BE: Those guys must be crazy too, to be on the air with.

JM: Yeah, well you know I got some fantasy tips from Boomer. Hadn’t really helped me out much.

BE: That’s funny. So did they just present you with those lyrics and tell you to sing this to “Hey Jude?”

JM: Yeah, well their whole show that day was talking about the Mets and how frustrated they were with the Mets. And they were like, do you want to sing a song about the Mets? And I was like sure. I don’t follow baseball at all. So I was like sure, you know, I have no loyalty to any team. I can build up or break down any team. Yeah, they just wrote out some lyrics.

JM: It used to be more in the beginning when I was starting out. What most often would happen would be I would go play at a club. And they always spell my name wrong. And they would spell it like the jazz guitarist -- they would put the “h” in the Jon, which I don’t have an “h” in my name. Especially in towns like Memphis or Nashville or Dallas or Cincinnati even, they’d put it up on the marquee and people would come out for the show thinking that it was the jazz guitarist. We would always have, every now and then one or two guys that would come out for the show. Some of them were great, some of them would end up staying for the show and buying a record. But some of them, even before the show, they would see that it wasn’t the jazz guitarist, they’d get pissed. A couple of guys in Cincinnati got really pissed one time. We were playing at Century Theater. And they thought it was like false advertising. (Laughs) I’m like, dude, I can’t help it. They spelled my name wrong on the marquee. What am I supposed to do?

BE: I could imagine seeing a lot of old, crusty people that are fans of his that were pissed.

JM: Yeah. It’s funny. The craziest thing that’s ever happened, and it’s been a while, but that was probably two years ago or so. And that kind of died down a little bit. People started getting it right on the marquee and information got a little more available. But I played a show in Chicago last year, and I’ve never met him before -- but I was playing a show in Chicago and he was playing a show in Chicago the same night. And there was some, like we went out to dinner before the show, my band and I and we were headed back to the venue. And they came and got us, one of the venue guys, and they were like, your tour manager needs to come work this out at the door because we’ve got a group of college kids at the door who are trying to -- at that time the show had sold out. And they were trying to get into the show because they’d bought tickets for his concert and went over to the House of Blues where he was playing. And they were walking around the House of Blues thinking, this is just not right. And then there were some people who wanted to go to his show who bought tickets to my show. It was the craziest thing. So our show had sold out and his tickets were like $50 a piece, so they had spent a couple hundred bucks going to his show. So we put them on the list and got them in.

BE: Wow. That’s a nightmare. And that will probably never happen again.

JM: Who knows. I kind of hope that it does. It was kind of fun.

BE
: Well cool. So the state of radio is really different now than it was even 10 years ago. Do you feel like your role in the Disney movie kind of helped you in that regard?

JM: I think that it did, yeah. I think that, not that I was really involved in the business 10 years ago but, everybody knows that it was different. I guess the further that you go back in time it was just a “way” you did things. You recorded a record and you got on the radio and you played shows, and that was it. Now it’s just different with MySpace and YouTube. It’s more of a tool now to get a song like in “Grey’s Anatomy” as opposed to getting an add on a radio station. It’s weird because the thing with “Enchanted” was never, you know, I didn’t know the movie going into it. I didn’t know that it was going to become such a big thing. It was kind of this thing that I did on the side. But it definitely turned into something and taken on a life of it’s own.

BE: Sure. Everything like that helps for sure. Do you see any acting rolls in your future because of that?

JM: I’ve always said that I’d be open to doing something like that. I used to do a bunch of plays and musicals when I was growing up. I would definitely be open to it. I’m not going to not sleep at night reading scripts and stuff. At least not at this point in my music career, but it’s not exactly the focus. But I would definitely be open to it. I think that would be great. And being on the set of Enchanted for a while…it’s definitely a lot of work. Just that one scene that I was involved in. And I came and visited the set on some other scenes that they were doing. It’s interesting. It’s interesting seeing a totally different side of entertainment. It makes you want to be involved in it.

BE
: Yeah. They probably treat you like royalty too.

JM: It was really interesting to see it. When I was there for a week, it took a week to shoot that scene. They had tons and tons of dancers and extras and all that. As far as the cast, we all had our own little dressing rooms up in this one little hallway. It was really weird. It was kind of low-key. You never really know what it’s like if you’ve never been to a movie set. So I’m picturing like Patrick Dempsey in between takes with someone to come up and carry him to his trailer or something like that. But it was pretty like, everybody just hanging out. I mean we’re there till like 3 in the morning. Even if it starts out like that, with that kind of treatment, I’m sure everybody just gets on the same playing field and we’re all just here to do a job. The hours get long.

BE: So this is a two-part question. What is the songwriting process typically like for you and who are your biggest songwriting influences?

JM: Well when it comes to songwriting it’s definitely Billy Joel, like all the way for me. I have a lot of…a couple of guys that are big influences on me. Billy Joel is one, Elton John, Ben Folds and Harry Connick. And I think that they all have different roles in the life and inspiration of Jon McLaughlin. Like Billy Joel was my first image of a rock star. Ever since I was five years old I’ve wanted to be Billy Joel. With Billy Joel, just the songwriting, as a lyrist the guy’s just amazing. There is just no one better than him. And Harry Connick as a player is just unbelievable. He’s just one of the greatest piano players ever.

BE: I think a lot of people forget that too.

JM: Yeah. The guy is unbelievable. He does all his own arrangements, string arrangements, orchestrations. He’s a genius. And Elton…probably more so than Billy, I mean Billy’s more just the guy at the piano that plays that amazing song. Elton is kind of that larger than life kind of rock star side of it. And when it comes to Ben Folds, like I grew up listening to those other three guys. But Ben Folds I can remember the first time I heard that kind of music for the first time. It’s only been in the last 10 or 12 years that I’ve been familiar with Ben Folds and the Ben Fold Five and all that stuff. And I think that Ben Folds is the reason I felt like I could actually do this. Like you have all those other influences from all those other guys that I grew up listening to and I thought it was great. But then when I heard Ben Folds, it was like, okay now I’m going to actually try to do this myself.

BE: Absolutely. And now that you mention that, I can hear all those influences in your music, now that I’m thinking about it.

JM: Yeah. Those guys are just amazing. Before I die, I’d love to have a slumber party with all of them.

BE: (Laughs) So that would probably be one of those artists, or all of them would be your ideal tour too, right?

JM: Any of them. I would love to -- the weird thing is -- not that I’m on the same level as at all as any of them but, we’re all piano players. We’re all doing a similar sort of thing. It would be odd to team up with such a like thing but I would gladly go out and play. Or be a piano tech for any of them.

BE: Well cool. So what is your favorite thing about the road and your least favorite thing about the road?

JM: I really, really love the road. I’m still young and I’ve been on the road pretty full-on for the past three years, maybe four years. It’s kind of gone in waves. Right now it seems pretty easy. You kind of just get used to living out of a suitcase and anything different would just be kind of weird. It’s tough to say what I love the most because I really, really just love it. I love all the guys in my band…I’ve known them for quite a while. They’re like long, long close friends. It’s not just like we’re a band. If we’re home, those are the guys I’m probably going to hang out with anyway. So I just love those moments on stage. For example, we played a show about a week ago. There was just something about the night. The band was just playing great. Everything was just flowing great. The crowd was great. You play those songs that people are singing along to. Just those moments where I just kind of like, on stage, look around and look over at Dylan playing guitar and think, this is just the greatest thing ever.

BE: That’s really cool.

JM: Least favorite thing about the road is probably -- the band. I can’t stand any of those guys.

BE: (Laughs)

JM: (Laughs) Probably the thing that’s toughest about the road is just…it’s kind of an all or nothing thing. Whenever I go through a town where we know some friends or something like that and we go to dinner and they talk about their Wednesday night poker club or something….that’s the worst part because I’m not going to have a Wednesday night poker club. There’s no home life.

BE: And you’re married, right?

JM: I am. And she goes out on the road with me as well.

BE: Oh, I was going to say it’s gotta suck being away from your family, but…

JM: Yeah, no, it does suck…like my brother, he and his wife just had a baby last year. So things like that. You see them like once every month or two months or something. And she’s like twice the size than she was the last time I saw her. I’m like, she’s not going to even know her Uncle Jon. Things like that.

BE: There’s time for that. She’ll know you when she sees you on TV, I guess.

JM: Yeah. I’ll be that guy that comes in and buys ice cream once a month. (Laughs)

BE: (Laughs) So having your wife with you rules out having groupies chase after you?

JM: We have some people here and there. But it’s really great and it’s, I don’t know, I don’t want to seem unrealistic and naive but it’s not really tough living a married life on the road. At this point there’s not much that’s difficult about it. It’s all been great. She loves being on the road unbelievably. We’ve been married for two and a half years now and we’ve been really solid on the road for at least two years and five months of that. Somehow she’s still up for it.

BE: Well you’ve got a good woman then.

JM: Mm humm.

BE: Well that’s about all I’ve got. Do you have anything else you want to add or plug?

JM: Just the new record. That’s about it.

BE: You want to give anyone fantasy football advice?

JM: I would have to say, if there’s anyone to ignore when they’re talking about fantasy football, it would be me. I’m dead last in my league and last week half of my guys were on a bye week and I didn’t even notice. I’m not so good with managing my team at all.
BE: Oh that’s not good. I have a good team, but even I had a bad week last week.

Original source:
http://www.bullz-eye.com/music/interviews/2009/jon_mclaughlin.htm

Jon McLaughlin Rockets from the Farm to the Oscar Stage

SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - Jon McLaughlin rockets from the farm to the Oscar stage by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

At the age of 25, Jon McLaughlin has already done what some people dream about their entire lives: appear on the Academy Awards. After performing the nominated song "So Close" from Disney's urban fairytale Enchanted on the telecast, the native Midwesterner became an overnight sensation. Sales of his debut album Indiana surged more than 1,500 percent at Amazon.com, and he was soon asked to tour alongside Grammy-winner Kelly Clarkson, as well as breakthrough acts Colbie Caillat and Sara Bareilles. With a substantial lift of confidence, McLaughlin began working on his second album with a new team of writers and producers that had previously worked magic for such artists as Rihanna and Carrie Underwood. The result is Beating My Heart, a sophomore album set for an October release of this year. The leadoff, self-titled single has just been added to national radio stations and the music video now appears on YouTube. Should you go online to watch the video be warned: it's guaranteed to increase your heartrate significantly. Let's just say from head to toe, McLaughlin's got the whole package. The top-potential newcomer will perform Sunday night, July 27, at The Triple Door (www.thetripledoor.net) here in Seattle. Visit www.myspace.com/jonmclaughlin to ear-sample his music.

A recent transplant to Los Angeles from a rural farmtown, this All-American beefcake appears to be on the fastrack to bigness. From a tollbooth in Ohio, here's what Jon McLaughlin shared with me inside "The Music Lounge."

Albert Rodriguez: Are you in a tour bus or van?

Jon McLaughlin: I'm sitting in my van. I'm looking at it right now, it looks terrible. My trailer is falling apart. I literally have duct tape on the front of it holding the panel together. I can't give up on it, I've had it for too long.

Rodriguez: Where do you call home?

McLaughlin: Home has never been more ambiguous than right now in my life. I grew up in Indiana. Back in May, my wife and I got a place out in California, but ever since then we haven't been there. We've been in Indiana and now we're on the road.

Rodriguez: You're originally a Midwestern boy, corn-fed and the whole thing?

McLaughlin: Total Midwestern boy, every meal.

Rodriguez: What's the biggest change, aside from the weather, with living in California than the Midwest?

McLaughlin: The biggest change, I would say, is space, or lack of space.

Rodriguez: LA is so spread out, you're kind of forced to drive when you're there.

McLaughlin: I love driving in LA, to be honest. I would love it if they had a subway system or a bus system that was a little better, but you just can't do it because it's so big. I love driving in LA because everyone's a little crazy.

Rodriguez: Take me back to Oscar night, what was that like?

McLaughlin: It was the most extreme of every emotion I've ever had. I was the most nervous I've ever been in my life. I probably had one of the most fun nights of my whole life, definitely the most memorable. That's like a once in a lifetime thing to even be able to just go to the Oscars. So being able to sing and perform and be part of the ceremony, it's crazy. I had to pretend not to throw up.

Rodriguez: Who did you meet that blew you away that night?

McLaughlin: My biggest crazy moment, for me personally, was when Tom Hanks walked out to present. I hadn't seen him before then, he wasn't on the red carpet, I don't think, he wasn't sitting in the theater that I saw. We were sitting right in front of the podium that he walked up towards, so he was four feet away from us. For me, Tom Hanks has been my favorite actor my whole life. That was my big crazy moment.

Rodriguez: I would imagine the small town you're from in Indiana doesn't have any gay bars, correct?

McLaughlin: I don't think so, none that I know of.

Rodriguez: You work in an industry that obviously has a lot of gay professionals, from makeup artists to stylists. So gay culture isn't new to you, right?

McLaughlin: It isn't, and honestly I feel like growing up I sort of had a unique experience because when I was younger, even in elementary school and junior high, I did a lot of musicals and plays. The Midwest is a different culture, like the city I grew up in is a small town in Indiana. But it's not to say there weren't these little communities within this small community. So when I did all these musicals and plays, I feel like I was exposed to a world early on that I'm exposed to now like you're saying. It's not like anything I've had to get used to or adjust to.

Rodriguez: Maybe your wife will meet some new gay friends in California to hang around with while you're on tour, then you'll have nothing to worry about on the road.

McLaughlin: [Laughs.] True.

Rodriguez: After the Oscars, your first album, Indiana, enjoyed a sales splurge.

McLaughlin: It was really great, and it just goes to show how ridiculous the exposure is to be a part of the Oscars. I can't even fathom how many people around the world sit down to watch the Academy Awards.

Rodriguez: People in some parts of the world have to wake up to watch it at 2:00 in the morning.

McLaughlin: My brother-in-law actually was over in Iraq, he's in the Marines. He had a bunch of his Marines in a convoy, literally they were in a convoy, and pulled off in some tiny little town in the middle of nowhere and found a satellite - and they all crammed around it to watch the Oscars.

Rodriguez: Comments on YouTube for your video for "Beating My Heart" state the obvious. Does it ever bother you that fans prioritize your good looks over your music?

McLaughlin: I think regardless of how you look, if you're going to be in a profession where you're in front of people and be a quote-unquote performer, at some point you have to figure out how to deal with how you look and what your image is going to be. A part of me wishes we just had radio nowadays, for music to speak for itself. I never want to get any sort of advantages, or disadvantages, because of the way I look. As upset and anxious and tense as I get about the whole physical appearance thing, in the end it comes down to the music.

Rodriguez: But music is an art form, and part of that is being visually stimulating to the eye. Fans want to see who's behind the music. It's part of the package.

McLaughlin: You're right, it is an art form - all-encompassing. Ironically, as you say that, I'm getting more and more into video. But I still think bringing it down to how someone looks cheapens it somewhat, at times. I don't want people to focus too much on what I physically look like. I want them to see the video and get the whole experience, not focus on one aspect of it.

Rodriguez: If you didn't want people to focus on what you look like in your video, you should've worn baggy basketball shorts instead of form-fitting jeans and a leather coat.

McLaughlin: [Laughs.] That's definitely true.

Rodriguez: You're very young and I wonder if at some point you'll embrace your physical appearance - your sex symbolism, for lack of a better term. Justin Timberlake is a great artist, and he's hot, and he embraces that by injecting it into his music and performances.

McLaughlin: Justin Timberlake is obviously a very good-looking guy, and if I'm a Justin Timberlake fan - which I am - and if I go to his show, I want to see him do his thing. I want him to own it. I do realize that when I get up onstage, people come and want to be entertained. They want you to be confident, they want you to do your thing. So I'm working on it, I'm trying to embrace it.

Rodriguez: What's the last item of music you downloaded?

McLaughlin: It was either the new Raconteurs album, Consolers of the Lonely, which is like my favorite album at the moment, or the new Coldplay record.

Rodriguez: Who is an artist that you always support or always buy their music?

McLaughlin: It would definitely be my all-in-all guy, who is Billy Joel. But he hasn't done any pop stuff since '93. I would say now it'd probably be Ben Folds, regardless of what he's doing. I'll get anything he does.

Rodriguez: On your last visit to Seattle, did you have a chance to scope it out?

McLaughlin: The last time I was in Seattle was amazing! My band and I rented scooters. We got there early and across the street was this scooter rental place, and we rented these scooters. It was like the most gorgeous day in Seattle, and we just rode these scooters around all day long. Ever since I did that, I was thinking non-stop about scooters so I went out and bought one.

Rodriguez: Here's to gorgeous days and scooters! Safe travels to Seattle this weekend.

McLaughlin: Thanks, and I will see you soon.

posted Friday, July 25, 2008 - Volume 36 Issue 30

Source: Seattle Gay News
Original link:
http://www.sgn.org/sgnnews36_30/page38.cfm

Jon McLaughlin: I Love The 80s

By Andrew Greer

Not too long ago Jon McLaughlin was roaming the halls of Anderson University as a music student when he began to make waves with his American heartland brand of pop, sharing his stellar singer/songwriter set in clubs, colleges and churches throughout the Midwest.

Fast forward to 2008, and the classically trained piano-popster is busy readying the release of OK Now (Island/Def Jam), his energetic, ’80s-influened follow-up to Indiana, last year’s breakout debut and ode to his Hoosier heritage.

Now with a little experience under his belt and credit to his name, Jon discusses his new record, faith in the spotlight and gigging at the Oscars.

CCM: Your bio describes you as an American heartland singer/songwriter. But OK Now makes a bolder, more progressive musical statement than Indiana. What inspired the creative difference?

Jon McLaughlin: OK Now is definitely different. I’m a huge ’80s fan, and I totally went back to my ’80s pop roots. There’s a lot of Billy Joel and Huey Lewis & the News kind of influence on this record. I loved it.

CCM: What is the story behind the first single, “Beating My Heart”?

Jon: This whole record is about me enjoying my life as it happens. I have a hard time just relaxing. I tend to get really stressed out. I always look back in time and wonder why I was so stressed out. “Beating My Heart” is a song about breaking it down to what really matters, not getting so stressed out about the little things in life.

Not to be cliché, but it gets down to this: God put me on earth for whatever reason, and I don’t really have to know that [reason] right now, right here.

CCM: Do you feel the call to relax has been a necessary move with the pickup of your career in the past couple of years?

Jon: It is definitely necessary. I just had a birthday. I’m gone all the time. My brother just had a little baby. I think I’m dealing with time moving by way too fast. Right now there’s not a whole lot I can do about that other than I might as well not stress my life away.

CCM: Being a recording artist in the mainstream music world, what do you feel your role is as a Christian when it comes to performing and making records?

Jon: Once I started writing songs in college, I would go play at a state school, and people would say, “You go to Anderson University. Are you a Christian artist?” I’d go play at a chapel and sing a song that didn’t have the name Jesus in it, and they would say, “I thought you were a Christian artist?”

So for a long time, I was annoyed and frustrated with having to choose a side. On paper, now that I’m signed to a mainstream label (Island Records), I’m a mainstream artist. But I’ve always felt the desire and responsibility to play in a church or play in a club or college.

Source: CCM Magazine
Original link: http://www.ccmmagazine.com/news/stories/11582930/

Piano Man Feeling 'OK Now'



Jon
By Laura Edwards

Warmer spring weather means it's time to roll down the windows and pull out your sunglasses. Jon McLaughlin's new album, "OK Now" is perfect for blasting from your speakers as you drive down the road. TC talked to Jon about his music, what he was like in high school, and life in a small town.

He's been playing the piano since he was a boy, but now with his unique sound and probing lyrics, Jon McLaughlin is showing the world a new kind of piano man.

Dressed in a well-worn hoodie and faded jeans, Jon McLaughlin is the picture of mellow. He doesn’t fit the stereotypical mold of a guy with two successful albums and an Oscar-nominated song under his belt. There’s no false persona, no egotistical fronts — just a guy who genuinely loves playing music and sharing it with others. Talking to Jon, you realize he knows who he is and where he’s going. And he’s going big places.

Jon started taking piano lessons at age 4 and continued his classical training for years. However, as high school approached, Jon became less and less excited about playing piano.

"At that point I had only really played classical piano, which I was really bored with," Jon said. "When you are in high school, it’s not cool to play classical piano."

So instead of music, Jon focused more on swimming, soccer and enjoying his high school years.

"In high school, I was kind of dorky, but I thought I was cool," Jon said. "I went to high school during the everyone-bleach-your-hair phase. I had bleached hair from like 8th grade to my senior year. I am surprised I even have any hair left now." The bleach may have fried his hair, but it couldn’t burn music completely out of his mind. Toward the end of high school, Jon’s family started going to a church with a bigger youth group. Some of the students in the group were in a band, and were in need of a keyboard player. Jon began playing with the group and his love for music was rekindled. In college, he began writing songs, and the rest is history ...

Jon's latest album is "OK Now," and the 80s pop sound, though drastically different from his first album "Indiana," is still rooted in piano.

"I just went with what I wanted to do at the time," said Jon. "I love 80s pop music but it's definitely not what I had started out with all the time. I definitely started at the piano."

The upbeat 80s vibe goes well with the theme of the album -- taking one moment at a time.

"A lot of the record is looking at life in the moment and basically not getting bogged down worrying about the future or the past really," Jon said. "Just kind of living at the moment."

Jon even carries the message specifically to high schoolers with he song "Four Years." Jon said the song was one he's been wanting to write for a long time to help teens remember that high school is not a matter of life and death.

"I wanted to write to all the high school kids so there's something out there saying [high school] is not everything," Jon said. "In four years, it's going to be over, whatever you built. It's kind of like a mini version of life. Whatever you do is going to be over in four years, good or bad."

As Jon's singles get more airplay, he's bound to catch the ears of thousands of new fans around the world, but no matter where he is on the charts, or what stage he's playing on, Jon seems to be the kind of guy who will always have two feet firmly planted on the ground.

Amy, Jon's wife, plays a big role in that. Because she goes on tour with him, she is by his side through all the ups and downs of making it as a professional musician.

"I've been really blessed to have a lot of great relationships in my life," Jon said. "But I would have to say the one now that's the most important in my life, the day-to-day the one I totally couldn't do without, would be my wife. She's the one. We're together all the time. Out of the year, we're together 364 days. She's the one the who's out on the road with me. When the shows are terrible she's there, when the shows are great she's there."

Jon has also attributed part of his calm, one-step-at-a-time philosophy to his small hometown of Anderson, Ind., an (almost) suburb of Indianapolis.

"[Being from a small town] influences me," Jon said. "I think no matter where you're from it does. If I grew up in Antarctica, I would write songs from that perspective. I think even if I were to never go back to Indiana, I'm still a guy who grew up in Indiana and never looked back. I can't change 25 years of being in the same town."

With a firm grasp on his past and a bright future in front of him, this traveling piano man is taking it one day at a time, and that's more than OK now.

----------------

About Jon

What song gets stuck in your head?
"All the Christmas songs."

What is your least favorite chore?
"Washing the windows. I'm terrible at it."

What was your high school mascot?
"We were the Highland Scots."

If you weren't in the music industry, what would you want to do?
"I'd want some field where there's no gray areas, like accounting... but I'm not good at accounting, so not that."

Do you have a bad habit?
"I correct people's grammar, like double negatives."

What's the last thing you do before you go on stage?
"Stretch a little bit and then jump up and down to get the blood flowing."

What is your favorite article of clothing?
"This really nice tux-jacket kind of thing. I don't even know who makes it, but it's one of those names I should know. I wear it like once a year."

TC Magazine Spring 2009 Issue
http://www.tcmagazine.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=64438

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