Audra McLaughlin still amazes everyone with her fantastic voice after capturing the nation’s attention on “The Voice” in 2014. McLaughlin caught the attention of Undiscovered Nashville after a performance in Nashville this past May. I kept thinking I knew her, but I couldn’t remember how. So, when I saw she was releasing new music, I knew that Undiscovered Nashville needed to feature the Delaware County, PA native. Please keep reading to learn more about the talented singer/songwriter.
The Beginning of a Dream
It was in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where Audra McLaughlin’s dream of a music career began. McLaughlin is the second artist we have interviewed from Delaware County this year, following Sara Spicer. The singer/songwriter said, “It’s been a long road, but I began singing as a young child around the house, usually to MTV. Then, at nine years old, I started taking vocal lessons. My vocal coach began putting me into local shows and recitals. As I got older, I participated in many competitions, like Delco Idol. But, I realized I wanted to do music full time. However, at the time, I was still young and living with my parents.”
Audra’s experience with competitions would eventually lead her to “The Voice” in 2014. McLaughlin said, “I had been doing odd jobs and even tried college, but I was never a school person. However, when I was in college, I spent my weekends playing shows with a cover band. Then, my friend Sara Spicer told me about the “Let Their Be Rock School” in Delaware County. So, I joined the school and began taking vocal lessons. They asked me if I wanted to try out for a TV show, but I had already auditioned for America Idol and season 1 of The Voice. However, I decided to give it another shot because I didn’t know who I was as an artist during those early auditions.”
“The Voice” Experience
Everyone who is a contestant on “The Voice” has to adjust to the national attention, which can be a daunting task. Audra McLaughlin talked about her experience and the lessons she learned. First, the singer/songwriter said, “I was invited to New York to perform before the talent producers. Then, because it was an industry referral, I was able to skip the cattle call auditions. I kept moving forward to the next round. I was twenty-one at the time, and I was petrified. So when I got the call that I made it to the blind auditions, it seemed unreal. Here I was playing in local bands, and now I would be singing on national television in front of millions of people.”
Audra McLaughlin finished in the top six in her season, but she learned valuable lessons throughout the process. McLaughlin said, “The Voice” prepared me for what the music business is. Being away from home for the first time was a little scary, but the contestants were amazing and supportive. Living in a hotel room, you had to learn how to take care of yourself and your voice. Taking care of your body and your voice was so important. With the opportunity I had, I was focused and thankful to be there. But, in the end, these TV shows won’t make or break your career.”
Audra McLaughlin Faced Every Singer’s Nightmare
After “The Voice,” McLaughlin set her sights on Music City. However, before she moved, she would face every singer’s nightmare, losing her voice. But Audra said, “Nashville was calling my name, and I had to figure out how I was going to do it. Before I moved, I was playing a lot of cover gigs. I don’t know if I developed a habit of singing incorrectly, but I developed a cyst on my vocal chord. I remember I was losing my voice and becoming raspy. The ENT I saw put me on vocal rest, and if it persisted, they would send me to a specialist. Ultimately, I needed surgery to remove the cyst and would need nine months to a year of vocal therapy.”
When you hear Audra McLaughlin sing, you would never know she ever lost her voice. We are thankful she still has her precious gift. The singer/songwriter said, “During my therapy, I decided to move to Nashville and complete my treatment at Vanderbilt. Now, I work with a vocal coach who helps with strength and conditioning. As a result, my voice is probably stronger than it has ever been, and I am singing correctly to protect my voice.”
Audra’s Songwriting and Career
Audra McLaughlin is becoming a well-rounded artist. She has always been a performer, but she is continuing to improve as a songwriter. McLaughlin said, “I think I wrote my first song at around thirteen. When I was younger, I would write poems in my diary. While I always had melodies in my head, but songwriting didn’t come naturally at first. During the pandemic, I spent more time honing my writing.
It’s essential for artists to know themselves and be a part of driving their careers. Audra said, “When I play songwriter rounds, I listen to other writers for my sound. It helps you know with whom you might work well. When I first moved to Nashville, I didn’t take the driver’s seat of my career. Instead, I was listening to what others thought I should do. Now, I am still looking for people to fill my team. If I don’t get to the level I want someday, I will still play music and have a blast doing it. But, chasing this dream is a full-time job.
Audra McLaughlin Releases her Latest Single, “Can’t Buy Fun Like This”
Audra McLaughlin released her second single of 2021 called “Can’t Buy Fun Like This.” It is the follow-up to “Drinking with Lonely.” McLaughlin co-wrote the song with Jimmy Mattingly and Johnny Garcia. Garcia and Mattingly also produced the single. McLaughlin said, “The three of us have been writing together for a while before the pandemic. I have been singing demos for Jimmy for about two years. Then, around February 2020, Jimmy and Johnny said they wanted to work with me and produce my music. But, of course, the pandemic derailed my plans for 2020.”
McLaughlin has spent 2021 reintroducing her music to the world with those world-class vocals that turned chairs on The Voice. The singer/songwriter said, “Jimmy, Johnny, and I got used to writing through Zoom, and we wrote a lot of songs. “Fun Like This” was the third song we wrote. We wanted to write something fun and upbeat for when we got out of the pandemic. Jimmy had the idea while on the road with Garth Brooks. He said, you can’t buy fun like this. We released “Drinking with Lonely” to reintroduce me to the industry, but we saved “Fun Like This” for the summer. It is somewhat of a nostalgic song looking back on those good times.”
Who is Audra McLaughlin Outside of Music?
We know Audra is an incredible singer, but what is she interested in outside of music? McLaughlin said, “When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a nurse, and I was interested in psychology. It’s funny that I was in college to be a medical assistant, but I hate the sight of blood. But, I enjoy helping others. So, singing is my way of helping. I also love History. So, I considered being a history teacher, but school was difficult. However, I am interested in aliens, the holocaust, the assassination of JFK, etc. Another interesting fact about me is my friends always wanted me to impersonate different singers. I could do Shakira, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, and Brittney Spears.” Sadly, I wasn’t able to get Audra to do an impersonation during the interview. However, I am confident the other people in Just Love would have enjoyed it.
Audra McLaughlin is a vocal powerhouse who has all the makings of a superstar. As a fan, I appreciate her authenticity, especially on social media. For all the curated modeling shots out there, McLaughlin is a breath of fresh air. However, it is her voice that continues to blow me away. The soulfulness she sings with impresses. Audra calls it “country soul.” You can listen to her latest releases on Apple Music and Spotify, where you can hear her soul for yourself. But, if you have the opportunity to see Audra McLaughlin live, you will know why those coaches on “The Voice” turned their chairs.