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Second Cup Café: Jon McLaughlin

Jon McLaughlin is a young singer-songwriter and pianist who's out with his major label debut album, "Indiana." He visits Second Cup Café to share his songs from the album, which he says are about "relationships, girls, faith friends, family and even the music industry."

McLaughlin was inspired to name the album in honor of his home state after he was far away from home in California for an extended period of time. Being in the big city gave him greater appreciation for his small town Midwestern roots.

Simplicity and honesty is McLaughlin's songwriting credo, too. "I just want to keep writing songs about my life and my beliefs and just be honest," McLaughlin says in press materials for the album. "Hopefully people will relate to how I'm feeling, and learn things about themselves."

The son of a bass player, McLaughlin was raised in Anderson, about 40 miles outside of Indianapolis. Like his siblings, McLaughlin studied piano, beginning with classical lessons at the age of 4.

There were moments during high school when he tired of the discipline of music lessons and practice. Although he tried on a weekly basis to talk his mother into letting him quit, his father somehow always managed to convince him to keep going.

He always admired piano men like Billy Joel and Elton John, but he didn't actually start playing pop music until he was 18.

McLaughlin attended college in his hometown at the Anderson University School of Music. He threw himself into his music, constantly practicing writing and singing.

In his sophomore year, he won a contest to be the first artist released on the college's new record label, Orangehaus. Rerecorded versions of two of the songs from that self-titled debut appear on "Indiana."

After graduating from Anderson in 2005, McLaughlin recorded the aptly-titled piano vocal EP "Songs I Wrote And Later Recorded."

He says his motivation was simple: "I had a bunch of songs that I was sick of people not being able to listen to."

After a talent scout from Island Records "discovered" McLaughlin on the Internet, the singer-songwriter traveled to New York to showcase his music to three major labels. He ended up signing with Island a few days after performing for their A&R staff and label chief L.A. Reid.

McLaughlin has logged many hours on the road over the last two years, opening for O.A.R., Live, Sister Hazel, Cowboy Mouth, Susan Tedeschi, and Marc Broussard.

He will also be seen on the big screen this summer in the upcoming Disney animated/live action comedy "Enchanted" starring Patrick Dempsey and Amy Adams.
By Judy Faber

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