Along with his older sister and brother, Jon McLaughlin began piano lessons at a very young age presenting an ability his parents hoped to foster. He loved playing the piano, and creating his own sounds, but lessons was another thing. “I took lessons every Thursday and I’d come home complaining to my mom and dad, to their credit they never forced the lessons; they allowed me to talk it through and somehow, at the end of every conversation, I’d say, “I think I am going to keep going. They had infinite patience with me.”
Jon continued with piano until a rollerblading accident resulted in breaking both his wrists at the age of 15. While slightly self-conscious walking around high school with casts on his arms, Jon still felt a sense of relief that the lessons stopped Taking time off helped Jon realize his enthusiasm for creating his own music wasn’t going to dim. He continued on to Indiana’s Anderson University where he studied music. He also started posting songs he wrote on a then-little known website called MySpace. He noticed that the “plays” for his music grew daily – he was cultivating a fan base. “I began playing live shows on weekends with my band, which I loved doing. One day I was in the computer lab and got a MySpace message from someone at an independent label telling me they liked my stuff. I literally couldn’t believe it. By the end of my senior year in college I was corresponding with several major label A&R people, making plans to play some shows in New York City.”
Jon released his 2007 debut album, Indiana on Island, followed by his sophomore effort, OK Now in 2008. Both were successful, with Jon sharing the stage with the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Adele, Colbie Caillat, Sara Bareilles, Duffy, One Republic, Johnny Lang, Paolo Nutini, and Matt Wertz among many others. The albums yielded placements on Scrubs and movies like Georgia Rule and Bridge to Terabithia. In the meantime, Jon’s manager got a call about an Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz song for an upcoming Disney film called Enchanted starring Patrick Dempsey and Amy Adams. Immediately interested, Jon flew to Long Island to record the track. A week later, the film’s producers asked Jon, by then newly married, if he’d like to perform the song in the film. He and his wife flew back to New York, where he spent a week filming the pivotal ballroom scene in Brooklyn. A year and a half later, the film was released to outstanding reviews and Jon was later asked to perform “So Close” at the Academy Awards in 2008.
As Jon began work on his third album, he realized things were changing at his label. “There were a lot of people there I loved, but it started to not feel like my home anymore. I’d been encouraged to co-write on my first two albums, with half the songs being written with other people. I also had to use musicians the producers had wanted, not my band mates, who I’ve literally known, and been playing with, since high school and college.” The recording of this album was different: “I took a long time to write Promising Promises. I knew how I wanted to record these songs, so I got more involved with producing and engineering.” McLaughlin not only wrote all the songs on the album but he also produced it. He understood this was not the album his major label wanted him to make. While Jon accepted their decision, he was not going to change the musical course that finally felt so right to him. The result is his most authentic album yet. Promising Promises reflects Jon’s confidence and maturity as a songwriter. Releasing the record on independent label Razor & Tie is also an inspired choice for Jon, who says, “It's so refreshing to find a group of people who have so much experience in the music business and are still so passionate about music. I feel like I've found the right fit with Razor & Tie and I could not be more excited about working with them."