Q&A: Jon McLaughlin

I caught up with singer/songwriter Jon McLaughlin recently. We chatted about touring and his new Christmas EP.

Talk about your childhood, where you grew up, etc

I grew up in Indiana. My family was a music family. My dad, my grandfather were musicians. There was music all around and I sort of jumped in. It was a painfully normal Midwestern upbringing. The first time I remember playing music in front of anyone was in the church.


You have a family, you’re on the road a lot and you’re in the recording studio a lot. How do you balance everything?

That IS the question, my man. ::laughs:: It’s a tough grind. I try to tour on the weekends. When I am home, I try to be as present as I can.


I’m going to go back a few years here. What was it like filming the music video for “Summer Is Over” with Sara Barellias?

It was a blast. She’s an amazing artist and so fun to work with. She’s a great hang. Making music videos can either be fun or really not fun. ::laughs:: It was fun to work with someone else and not being the only person being stared at.


What is your song “Beating My Heart” about?

My band was doing a soundcheck once and they wanted to hear some new material that I had written for the label. Except I hadn’t written anything. ::laughs:: So I just made something up on the spot. Ironically, the lyrics are about my relationship with God.

You recorded a song called “Smack Into You”, which eventually was re-recorded by Beyonce as “Smash Into You.” There are a few mash-ups of the songs on YouTube. How does it feel knowing you have an unofficial duet with Beyonce?

::laughs:: I’ve heard one of those and it’s VERY well done. It’s so weird hearing my voice intertwined with hers. It’s cool, but in the back of my mind a small part of me knows she hasn’t even heard it. It’s not like she’s texting me “Oh hey, we sound so good together!” That hasn’t happened yet.

I’ll give her your publicist’s number, don’t worry.

Yes! Please! ::both laugh::


Why did you decide to record a Christmas EP?

I absolutely LOVE Christmas music.  I watch the clock every year to see when it’s socially acceptable to start blasting Christmas music. I would do a Christmas album every year if I could. It’s nostalgia of course, but those songs man! I got to record “White Christmas” for this EP..it’s an incredibly well written song.


What is your favorite part of the holiday season?

I have two little girls now, so pretty much my entire holiday is classically focused on my kids. There’s a cool tree farm right down the street from my house. Every year we walk down, get some coffee, and drag a tree home. We come home, have the fire going, play Christmas music, and decorate the tree. It’s a great time of the year.


Are you excited about your Christmas show in Annapolis on December 16th?

I am excited. I love coming to Annapolis. I have NEVER in my entire career played a 1pm show. This will be the first time ever. I wasn’t how it would go over, but it looks to be a great time!

Jon headlines Rams Head Annapolis Saturday, December 16th!

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Buy Jon’s Christmas EP “Red & Green”