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  • Writer's pictureBehind the Song

John McDonough

John McDonough’s 2019 release, ‘Can You See Me Now’ landed on several American charts as well as gathered airplay and great reviews worldwide.

Unable to tour in 2020 as planned due to the pandemic, McDonough used his downtime to focus on his guitar skills and the rearrangement of these older songs. “I felt the songs would really shine with the focus being on my words and melodies.” For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?! If three words just aren't enough then tell us more!!

Acoustic, passionate, deep. I am primarily a solos acoustic artist, and I really try to move people with just my voice and acoustic guitar. I am also a huge history buff, I am constantly reading and watching documentaries, and I find a lot of motivation for my songwriting in the stories of incredible people who have been through a lot and come out the other side.

What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why.

While I love songwriting and recording, I have to say my favorite part of being an artist is performing. I love connecting with a live audience using my voice, songs, and personality. While my songs are very deep and serious, my shows are a lot of fun and I love being engaged with the crowd.

Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you?

I have a love/hate relationship with the studio! Being in the studio is hard for me because I am very critical of myself, and the studio really amplifies everything about a performance, the good and the bad. I hear things in my guitar playing and my voice that I wish were different or better. However, I love working with the other musicians and producer in the studio. I love their creative input, and I love hearing my songs really come alive when their parts are added.

Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing?

I have a ten year old niece who I cannot get enough of, so when I am not working on music, I love spending time with her. After 25 years in Texas, I recently relocated to the Chicago area, and being close to her was a huge part of my motivation to move. We always have a lot of fun together, and I especially love being with her in the summers when we can be outside biking, swimming, going to the lake, etc.

Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why?

I really admire James Bay because I think he really has it all. He is a great guitar player and has a great voice, On top of that he is a great songwriter. I love his chord progressions and melodies all topped off with great lyrics. The icing on the cake is he seems like such a nice guy as well!

Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it?

Back to my niece! I wrote a song called 'You Don't Know This' for my niece when she was about 6 months old. I was going through a tough time and she came along at the exact right moment. Being able to put my focus on her the first year of her life, as well as all the joy she brought me, got me through that depression and back on track. I always feel I need to give her a cut of my CD sales, because I sell the most CD's after I tell her story and play her song!

Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?

I am working on new material and am very excited to record my latest songs. I am going to continue to write through 2021, and look to record again in 2022. I am really hoping to be able to tour in 2021. I had a big tour of the East coast planned for 2020, but I had to cancel because of the pandemic. I really hope to do that tour this year. I also would love to get to Europe to play some shows. I am very excited with this acoustic CD, and really want to get out there and share it with people!

For more information, visit John McDonough's Website

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