Singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin has been playing piano since he was 4-years-old, ever since being inspired by Billy Joel. Watch the pop-rock pianist talk about the small moment that changed the big picture in his life, as he covers Joel's "Piano Man" in the video below.
"I've always loved playing the piano and I've always sat at the piano and pictured Billy Joel," McLaughlin recalls. "We had this old VHS tape back in the day that had Billy Joel, and he was singing piano man and ever since that moment, I've just wanted to be Billy Joel."
Musing about how cool Joel looked, wearing his sunglasses inside as he performed on the VHS tape, McLaughlin adds, "I had some kind of connection with him. The song is talking about things that I didn't understand as a 4-year-old, but I think I just got the vibe. As a songwriter, the way he paints the picture with the lyrics and the way the piano sounds like a guy in the bar playing a piano -- I can appreciate it more and more as I get older and as I do this longer -- but there was just something about it as a 5-year-old kid that just stuck with me."
In the Q&A below, the singer also talks about touring, writing, and recording his new album -- "I had no business making a record on my own. I didn't know anything about recording a record… But on this one, I just really knew what I wanted."
McLaughlin also performed his latest single, "Summer Is Over," in the Billboard.com studio, and chatted about working with Sara Bareilles on the track in our Q&A.
"I've known Sara for a long time," McLaughlin said. "We did a tour together back in 2007 when both of our debut records were coming out. She's amazing, she's amazingly talented, super funny, just a great person. So we've stayed in touch… When I wrote the song 'Summer Is Over' and realized that it should be a duet, Sara was the first person to come to mind."