Hometown heroine

Kingston-born singer finds a larger audience

McLaren began performing last year.
McLaren began performing last year.
Photo: 

Teagan McLaren is taking the music world by storm through her sweet country vocals and soulful lyrics.

Born and raised in Kingston, McLaren has always felt that songwriting was her true calling, but didn’t embark into the world of singing until recently.

“I actually have been singing my whole life, but only around family and close friends. I just started singing in public last March, and it was an exhilarating experience,” McLaren, BMus ’14, said.

She said she also feels that songwriting is an especially deep process for her, and allows her to bare her soul .

“My songs are about things that happened to me and I always thought it would be very hard for me to share my experiences with the rest of the world. But I actually like sharing my life with the public this way,” she said.

People have always been trying to get McLaren to sing during open mic nights and at coffeehouses, she said.

“I quickly realized that it’s actually very addictive being on stage. I feel very comfortable surprisingly and I feel the passion to share my music with an audience.” She added that playing guitar on stage while singing really helps her get into the groove of her songs, and she always wants to take her guitar with her for that added confidence.

“I remember I once auditioned without a guitar, and I just felt so awkward. It really helps me to get into my music, and really feel it,” she said.

“I’ve always written songs, and I have been writing them since I was eight but I never really played them until now,” she said

In 2012, McLaren attended a Country Music Association of Ontario seminar where her song “Will You Dance With Me” received positive feedback from the judges, who included country artists Charlie Major and Wendell Ferguson.

It also happens to be McLaren’s personal favourite.

“There is a personal story behind ‘Will You Dance With Me’ which affected me a lot. I don’t think I can explain it because it’s complicated but most people who listen to it really like it because they can relate to it,” she said.

McLaren said she feels that her songwriting has been inspired by many influential songwriters such as Kacey Musgraves, Serena Ryder and Josh Kear.

“I’m particularly drawn to the powerful lyrics of Josh Kear, who has also written for big names such as Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum,” she said.

However, her inspiration is also drawn from her family, who have been a constant source of motivation, encouragement and creativity.

“My whole family is into music. If I didn’t come from a musical family, I wouldn’t be into music as much. My entire family writes songs, and that’s where my passion for songwriting comes from,” she said.

McLaren’s goal right now is to pursue singing and songwriting as a career, and she’s still trying to get her name out there.

“I really want to focus all my energies into becoming a songwriter. My advice to all aspiring musicians is to do whatever they are most passionate about. If they sing, they should do open mics and gauge people’s responses. If you’re good, people will come up to you and tell you how talented you are,” she said.

Teagan McLaren plays the Mansion on Feb. 16.

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