INTRO BY MADDEN LEVIN
INTERVIEW BY CAMI LIBERTY
We spoke with the amazingly talented Jon McLaughlin recently about some new and exciting things! Before you go on and learn how great McLaughlin is, you should probably prepare yourself for the current tour he is on, The Indiana Tour! You can catch him in a city near you - tickets are still available for his show at World Café Live in Philadelphia tomorrow (April 28th) here!
What do you love most about performing live?
JON: “Oh, man. Everything. There are different aspects of being a musician – there’s the time in the studio, writing the songs, just traveling, all that kind of stuff. Playing live shows is by far my favorite. There’s nothing else like it – the rush of being onstage and creating something in real time that everyone is experiencing – when it’s working well and it’s a good night… I can’t even describe how awesome it is.”
What city has been your favorite to perform in on this tour?
JON: “All of the shows have been really great. It might have to be a tie between Seattle and Atlanta. Seattle was the first show, and the first show is always a little bit nerve-racking. Every time I go back out on the road I’d always sort of feel like it’s the first time I’ve ever done touring and playing shows. I don’t know why that is. You would think after 13, 14 years of doing this that the first show wouldn’t feel like the first show anymore, but it always does. It always feels like… I don’t even remember how this goes, but I sort of love that rush of – I like getting a little bit nervous. I like not having the show down pat yet and knowing the transitions and all that kind of stuff – I love that that used to be the kind of stuff that made me nervous in a bad way, and now it’s nervous in a good way.
And Atlanta was actually the last show I played, that was on Saturday. It was just a great night, the best show I’ve ever had in Atlanta. It just felt really good. But they’ve all been going really well. It’s been a really fun tour so far.”
What is your favorite song to perform live and why?
JON: “Well, it changes tour to tour. This tour I think it would be a song called Perfect. I added this five minute piano solo intro to that song, because at the end of this tour, a week after the Philly date, I’ll be playing a hometown show with a full orchestra. So I’ve been practicing this little intro in this song. I love it because it’s hard, really challenging for me as a player, but I like that on stage. Its gone well the past couple times, it’s a crowd-pleaser. That’s become my favorite one because it’s really challenging for me to pull it off.”
What would you say has been your biggest milestone so far in your career?
JON: “I think this next weekend in my hometown – that will feel like a milestone to me. It’s going to be a really special night. We’re playing in this big theater downtown that I’ve been to a million times, but I’ve never played a show there and I haven’t played in my hometown in ten years. The last time I played there was right when my first record came out, and this is the ten year anniversary of my first record. So I think to go back to my hometown and play in a packed out theater with a full orchestra, that’s going to feel like a milestone to me. Definitely going to be a night that I’m never going to forget.”
Out of all of your albums, which is your favorite and why?
JON: “I have two kids, it’s like picking your favorite of your kids. It’s tough. I think each album that I have put out, to me, they’re so different, but me being the artist who’s putting these records out, I feel like I’m evolving as an artist. I feel like I’m getting better at what I do, as anyone should be who’s doing the same thing for 10, 12, 15 years – you’d hope that you’re getting better and not making the same mistakes. So I would say I’d have to pick my last record called Like Us. I think that would be my favorite. I went back to LA and recorded… I’m just really proud of that record, I’m proud of the songs on it, and it’s a really kind of personal record. In terms of style, you know, I play everything from piano, to organ, to guitar, to ukulele, to banjo, to drums – so I was really proud of that record.”
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
JON: “There are a lot of places. I’ve been on a lot of tours supporting bigger artists, so I’ve gotten to play at some amazing theaters, arenas, stuff like that. I think that I would maybe say playing a show at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. I played there a long time ago with Kelly Clarkson, she did three nights in a row at the Beacon Theatre, and it’s a beautiful theater in Manhattan. It was amazing. I’ll never forget that place, so that would be on the list for sure.”
Is there anything we can expect from you in the near future?
JON: “I’m currently working on some Christmas stuff. I’m working on a new record and some Christmas stuff, but the Christmas stuff is kind of the main focus right now. I put out a Christmas EP a couple years ago and I loved it. It was kind of a jazz trio kind of vibe, which I love, and we did a tour on that, came through Philly. So I’m looking forward to doing that same thing this Christmas.”