Jon McLaughlin is opening up about new music and fatherhood.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the 33-year-old singer-songwriter reveals that his two young daughters -- Lucca, 2, and Liv, 3 months -- inspired his fun new single, "Don't Mess With My Girl."
"It's kind of a ridiculous, fun song, but you know, I don't have to wrap my mind around, or put myself into that protective macho role. It's just there," he tells ET. "My wife and I, Amy, we've been together for 12 years, so all these songs that I'm writing -- whether they're break up songs or they're love songs, or whatever -- they're about her. ... Even though what I'm describing in the song isn't true to my life, thank God, I'm putting myself in that position. I'm imagining her walking away or whatever the situation in the song is."
"You got to stir your emotions up," he continues. "Having two girls, it's just the emotions are there. They're right on the surface."
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Only ET has a sneak peek at the music video for "Don't Mess With My Girl" (see it in the player above!), which is featured on his new album, Like Us.
"It's called Like Us because it's a relationship album," he says. "I know I'm not breaking any new ground by writing songs about relationships, but the angle on the record is ... I want every couple out there, no matter if they've been going on for 50 years or they just got married or whatever, there's some point in the record where I want them to kind of look at each other and go, 'That's kind of like us.' It's a relationship all encompassing, beginning, ending, ups and downs. All of that. It's all in there."
McLaughlin's 2007 debut album, Indiana, scored him an opening slot on tour with Kelly Clarkson. Since then, he's released a handful of studio albums and teamed up with Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz and, just last year, Billy Joel.
"He let me play his piano on stage," McLaughlin gushes. "He was great, he watched our set from side stage. We chatted after every show. It was one of those situations where you try to just form words and act like a normal human being after it's happening."
With nearly a decade of experience under his own belt, McLaughlin says he's learned "a lot" about how to stay happy in the music industry over the years.
"I think the biggest lesson that I've learned is, I'm more grateful," he says. "I don't think that I wasn't grateful eight years ago on that first Indiana tour when we were doing shows, everything was just so new. Now, when I play a show, I fly out to across the country and play a show, everybody buys tickets and feel the room. I am so grateful for that. I think as I get older, I can feel that kind of exchange and that sort of love between fans and myself. It just becomes a little sweet as time goes on."
"I think if I could go back and say something to my 24-year-old self back then, I would say really take this in. This is not work," he adds. "Don't get caught up in the numbers and how many albums you're selling. How much money you're making. Just be in those moments."