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Featured Artist of the Week: Teagan McLaren

Name: Teagan McLaren

Age: 26

Instrument: singing, acoustic guitar

Teagan McLaren is a pop-country singer/songwriter born and raised in Kingston. She just recently graduated from St. Lawrence College with an advanced diploma in human resources and also has a bachelor of music from Queen’s University. Now that she’s done with school and has a full-time job, McLaren hopes she’ll have more time to book music gigs, and that she’ll be able to save up enough money to return to Nashville and finish recording an album she started a couple years ago.

How and when did you discover your love of music?

I don’t even remember because I think I was that young. I would always sing and actually I was having this conversation with somebody in my family the other day… I was probably like three or something and I figured out how to use the phones. So I would call my next door neighbour and leave voicemails of me singing – like, just random three-year-old songs.

Is your family musical?

Oh, Yes. Every member of it. So, we all play guitar. And we actually do a family band every St. Patrick’s Day. We play usually at the ports (The Portsmouth Tavern).

Are you an individual performer or are you part of a musical group?

I do all of the above. I do solo shows, I do duo shows with my sister and then I also do have a band. It’s all under my name still. So we do my originals and cover songs as well.

What do you like about performing music?

The best thing that I like about performing the music is the emotion that it brings out in me and that it takes me to a different place. Like, it’s hard to explain, but, you have reality, obviously, that's right in front of you, but when you start singing music it’s like you’re in a different world – not to be cheesy or anything, but it’s almost like out-of-body. Like, when I’m performing I’m not thinking about what’s around me necessarily – I’m engaging in the audience and feeding off of them definitely, but I like to feel the music, so the words that I’m singing, the chords that I’m playing and I like to just really feel it and put myself into that story.

What’s the biggest audience you’ve ever performed in front of?

I almost got to perform in front of (Rogers) K-Rock Centre audience, but I was in (the) top four (of a) competition, and then I didn’t win it so I didn’t get to do it. But I think that the biggest would’ve been probably 300 people. I’d like to grow that.

Do you write your own music?

I do.

What musicians have influenced your music?

A lot. I go through stages. So Serena Ryder was one who influenced me for a little bit. I was going through a little rock-y phase. I was influenced a lot by modern country, like pop-country like Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town. But I also draw influences other places like from folk – folk musicians, like I grew up listening to Gordon Lightfoot as well, which I mean I wouldn't say my music is anything like Gordon Lightfoot’s, but I definitely think that’s where my inspiration started from.

What are you listening to right now?

I listen to everything. Actually, I listen more to pop music right now than country. I go through phases, but I’ve always been like an indie/alternative kind of girl.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you on stage?

When you forget the lyrics really badly to a song. So, that happened this past weekend, where I’ve sang the song – Tornado by Little Big Town – like, probably 200 times. It’s just automatic, right? And all of a sudden I went to play and I literally sang the same verse for each verse because I was like, I don’t remember the words. And everybody's singing along so everybody knows that you’re not doing the words right. So I find that is really embarrassing when you have those brain freezes.

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