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Tuesday, December 7th
Interviews: Jon McLaughlin
Jon McLaughlin
Jon McLaughlin

An exclusive interview with Musiqtone
Jon McLaughlin
Since the release of his album “Indiana,” Jon McLaughlin has rapidly made his way up the chart and his song “Beautiful Disaster” is a radio favorite. A couple of hours before his headlining show in Philadephia, I got a chance to catch up with Jon and ask him some questions

Cris: To people who have never heard of Jon McLaughlin, introduce yourself and your music.
Jon: Well, my name is Jon McLaughlin. I play piano so my music is very piano based. I would say it is piano based pop rock. 

So you’ve obviously been playing piano for a while, when was that transition phase where you decided that you wanted to start songwriting and take your classical training to a different level
I didn’t start songwriting until my college years.  I mean I’ve been playing piano since I was four, almost 21 years. I took a break from it in high school and when I got back to it during college; I really started the whole songwriting phase. And that’s when I decided to start performing and writing my own songs.

What made you go back to it and decide that you could do your own thing?
Well, later in high school, I started my family and I moved to a bigger church. They had this youth group and this youth band. This was totally new to me and they needed a keyboard player. I still played I little bit so I signed on. Up until that point, my playing was all classically based and reading the music. The band was very different though. We were allowed to just go up there and do our own thing. From there I discovered the other side of music. It was freer and that was definitely a style I could connect to.

And do you feel that the classical training from your earlier years is still pretty evident in your music now or did you completely try to break away from it…
Oh yeah. It’s just one of those things I can necessarily see it. It’s not like I constantly try to purposely try to incorporate classical subtleties. But I guess that I subconsciously cannot help my self.

So you come from a small town in Indiana and your album title clearly reflects that influence. But how does growing up in such setting affect the goals you have today and the person you have become.
I know this is cliché to say but, where you are from totally affects who you are. I grew up in the same town all my life up until last year where I just moved down the street. So that definitely affects you. I mean, the Midwest definitely gave me a slow, laid back lifestyle that is clearly represented in my music. I guess it comes out mostly in my writing

I guess the song that most reflects that, in my opinion, is “Industry.” What I got from it, at least, is that you were terrified coming out of your comfort zone and really phasing the music business and trying to make a living for yourself doing what you love. So was there a point where you were about to give up on it
Oh yeah there’s tons of that. What you’re talking about right now, is clearly on that and “Indiana.” I wrote “Indiana” when I was working on the record. I was feeling really beat up. I started going away from Indiana a lot. That song is exactly what you’re describing. I grew up in this small little town wanting to do this forever. And now that I was doing it, it never felt exactly how I thought it would. I think everyone reaches a point where they think to themselves, “no, I just want to go back home.”

So back in April, no one knew who you were. Now your album was released and it’s doing amazing. Now, you’re going on tour with Kelly Clarkson. Where do you see yourself going, and what are some goals you have for yourself.
Well last time I saw you in New York, we were just trying to get the record out. And I’ve been trying to build on it ever since. This tour has been my first headlining tour  where I’ve been able to see the effects of what we’ve been doing. The fact that I’ve been playing these shows in cities I’ve never been in before and people come up to me and tell me the effect on my music on them is pretty unveliavable. I guess all I want is some sort of connection with my audience. At that point, the only goal I have is to build on that and make sure that people can relate with my songs. Whether we are playing in this room with 400 people in it or we’re playing in the smaller upstairs room with 100 people in it, I just want that connection. It’s really what I’m all about. As long as I can come back here in a year or so and not lose that, then I’m fine.

Is that why you wrote “Beautiful Disaster”? I guess people need that sort of comfort and connection with music and you’re probably one of the only people in the industry today who have self image issues in a honest way everyone can understand…
 I completely agree. That was a song I wrote with my producer. I felt that he and I both had a lot to say. I mean, the song is about a seventeen year old girl. But I feel that when someone goes through that, she has a brother, a father, a boyfriend who is involved and that definitely affects all of us. I guess the message we were trying to send is a message of comfort and again that connection that I want with my audience. So yeah, definitely.

Amanda AguedaCristina Carrazza is s staff writer with Musiqtone. You can reach her at cristinacarrazza@musiqtone.com.

(C) 2007 Musiqtone. All Rights Reserved. Any part of this interview cannot be used without written express consent from both the representatives of Jon McLaughlin and Musiqtone.
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