Musician Jon McLaughlin Shares How Fatherhood Changed His Sound

Singer/songwriter Jon McLaughlin opens up about how being a father influenced his new album, "Like Us," and his approach to his upcoming tour.
Jon McLaughlin

Jon McLaughlin used to look forward to going on tour. It was a chance for the singer/songwriter to play his music to fans across the country. But now McLaughlin, who you may recognize from his appearance performing "So Close" in the Disney movie Enchanted, has two new fans at home he doesn't want to leave behind: daughters Luca, 2, and Liv, born in July.

In October, McLaughlin will leave his home in Indiana to tour for his new album "Like Us" through December. He'll be traveling for two weeks at a time and is already looking up tickets to fly home on his days off, even if it's to spend just six hours with his family.

McLaughlin spoke to Parents about how fatherhood is influencing his music:

Parents: When Luca was a baby, you brought her and your wife Amy on tour with you. Did you consider doing that again this time?

Jon McLaughlin: Luca's gone out for two tours—10 days on one tour and another four-show run. It was honestly the happiest I could ever be. It combined all the things that I love that make me feel amazing. I got to be with my family, but also out on the road, which I love. I was playing shows at night and spending all day with them. I would put Luca down to sleep and then walk over to the venue and play a show. It was just the best. The only problem is it wasn't very sustainable. I was up at 6 a.m. with Luca and then didn't go to bed till 2:30am. After a while, it took a toll on my voice. So the shows were terrible, but I was really happy.

P: Have you had any performances since Liv was born?

Jon McLaughlin

JM: I only left them for one show so far. I don't think it was a good test of how it's going to be when I'm on tour. It was in the first month, so Amy and I were not sleeping at all. As guilty as I felt, I just got on the bus and completely fell asleep immediately. I had an amazing night's sleep. The next day I sat and got coffee. I got to do all the things you cannot do as a new parent. I got back home and Amy was like, 'Just tell me every detail so I can live vicariously.'

P: How have your kids influenced your writing for "Like Us?"

JM: Now that I'm a dad and have two more girls in my life, my heart has doubled in size. In terms of writing, being a dad makes all the emotions more on the surface. I feel like I have more to work with. On "Like Us" there is a song called "Don't Mess With My Girl" that could be listened to as a daddy-daughtersong, but all the protective emotions go both ways, so I wrote it as a husband and a dad.

Jon McLaughlin

P: You got to perform "So Close" in Disney's Enchanted back in 2009. Is Luca obsessed with Disney movies yet?

JM: I grew up watching Disney movies so I loved being able to be in one. If you watch the movie, there's a close up of me for maybe one second, but we were there for a full week shooting the scene. One of these days we are going to sit down and watch Enchanted with Luca. Hopefully she thinks it's cool. For now, I have the Frozensoundtrack in my head all the time, whether I want to or not.

P: Would you want your daughters to go into music like you did from listening to your own dad play?

JM: It's so cheesy, but I totally get those parents who want to have a family band. It would be my dream. I would love it. I think we're going to let them play some piano, guitar, and violin. But I'm not going into crazy dad-manager mode till later.

Check out Jon McLaughlin's latest video "I Want You Anyway" and pre-order his album before it comes out on October 9.

Melissa Bykofsky is the associate articles editor at Parents who covers millennial trends and pop-culture. Follow her on Twitter: @mbykofsky.

Adding music to playtime is always a great experience for Baby. Sway her side to side or sing while she's playing with a toy.

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