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Fingerstyle Guitar China 2015

Billy and TJ have been in China with Fingerstyle Guitar China for 2 days thus far.  They will be there touring with Fingerstyle until August 1st.  Here you will find updates from their travels!  For real-time photo updates, view Billy’s FB page here.
 
 

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While in Beijing for his first stop of the tour, Billy had an interview at Fingerstyle Guitar China headquarters, a workshop and a concert.  He then traveled to Wuxi for another interview, concert and workshop.  To finish up his time in China, Billy went to Shanghai for his final concert.

We would like to extend a big thank-you to Fingerstyle Guitar China, Cassandra, Weifang and everyone who made this tour such a success!  Billy and TJ always enjoy their time in Asia and this was no exception.  Enjoying the culture, music and meeting new friends!

 
 

Interview with Fingerstyle Guitar China


 

Beijing Workshop

 
 

Beijing Concert


 

Wuxi Concert


 

Wuxi Workshop


 
 

Shanghai Concert

General Electric's Txchnologist blog

Txchnologist sponsored by GE


 

General Electric’s Txchnologist blog – Slaying the Silence: One Musician’s Journey to Play Again by Michael Keller

Last week, Billy was featured in Txchnologist, “an online magazine created in partnership with General Electric.”
“After suffering a debilitating condition called focal dystonia that took away control of one of his hands, accomplished professional guitarist Billy McLaughlin was told he’d never play music again. That diagnosis wasn’t the end of his career, though; it was the starting point that led McLaughlin to eventually reprogram his brain and body to play with the opposite hand. Stepping on the stage after a long hiatus, his success is a testament to determination and to the flexibility of the brain to find novel ways to work around major problems, a phenomenon called neuroplasticity…”  …continue reading
 
Full featured article on Txchnologist.com
 
 

Minneapolis, MN –

Serenity Prayer Project - Interview With KTIS

Interview with KTIS


 
Yesterday, Lori Morris Werch (Executive Producer) had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Pam Lundell on 98.5 KTIS for the KTIS Morning Show with Pam & Andy.  You can listen to the interview right here, or visit the KTIS website.
If you would like to hear The Serenity Prayer Song played on KTIS radio, please leave a comment on their website or email them directly making the request.  The more requests they receive the higher the likelihood of having the song aired.  Thank you for all your help and support in spreading this beautiful prayer!
 

Serenity Prayer Project – Interview With KTIS


 

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Interview with ABILITY Magazine

ABILITY Magazine


“At a recent live streaming concert sponsored by the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) at San Diego State University, McLaughlin’s unorthodox technique of placing both hands on the fretboard produced a unique and surprisingly big sound, as if there were multiple guitarists on stage. His music was deeply rhythmic and fluid, his new age compositions intricate and uplifting. Recently, ABILITY’s Paula Fitzgerald spoke with him about his long journey back to center stage.
Paula Fitzgerald: Tell me about the accident that changed your life.
Billy McLaughlin: In 1998, I was on my way to a photo shoot for the cover of my second album for Narada Records when I fell on an icy sidewalk. I dislocated the middle finger and ring finger on the hand I used to play my fretboard. When we finished the shoot, I needed immediate physical therapy because I was leaving in just a couple of months to start a back-to-back, 50-city tour to support the release of my new CD. This tour included a lot of television and radio performances, as well as interviews. I managed to rehab in time so that I didn’t have to reschedule any of the dates, but I still noticed stiffness in my fingers that I associated with the injury.
After the second leg of the tour, the swelling had gone down and my fingers felt normal, but I started to feel something was out of balance. I was still struggling with a couple of my more virtuosic pieces. When you’re playing solo guitar concerts, it’s very embarrassing to have a slip-up here and there. After talking with colleagues and mentors, everyone said, “Gee, Billy, you’re the hardest-working guitar player out there. Take a break. Take a couple months off and let your hands rest.
Read this article in its entirety at ABILITY Magazine.

Interview with Luna Guitars

Interview with Luna Guitars

Luna Guitars


In January, Dennis Stafford from Luna Guitars interviewed Billy as part of an introduction for Luna’s Henna guitar. In addition to asking Billy to try out the new guitar (see the video below), Dennis also wanted Billy to share a few of his thoughts on music and speaking. Here are just a few snippets from Billy’s interview with Luna Guitars:
“…The power of music or any other art form for that matter lies in the ability of the creative work to communicate more than we have words to express.”
“It’s very important that everyone knows that they are capable of making real in this world things that exist outside of it, from the world of the abstract.”
“I was taught that failure is a doorway to success so never be afraid to try your best.”
“…companies and foundations, churches and schools have kept calling because they want me to help inspire people to embrace change, re-think what is possible and put passion behind their efforts to succeed.”
To read this interview in its entirety, visit Luna Guitars.
 


Billy plays Luna’s Henna Guitar

Billy’s Luna guitar is a Henna Oasis in Spruce – the lefty.

Luna interview

Henna Oasis in Spruce – the lefty.

interview with donatelle
Interview with Donatelle

Donatelle

Billy’s Message Inspires Innovation in Medical Device Manufacturer

Treasa Springett, president of Donatelle, an award-winning manufacturer of devices for the medical industry, asked Billy McLaughlin to present his story to the company’s leadership team as part of the team’s future vision project, “Changing the Game”.  “I first met Billy during his presentation at an Executive Group Forum, led by Bill Mills,” she said. “I was amazed at the similarities between Billy’s story and what we’ve been experiencing at Donatelle, which is: ‘How do we as leaders face challenges and not fall back on what had always worked before?’” As a sole proprietor and artist stricken with dystonia, Billy simply couldn’t go back to what he had done before. He had to reinvent himself. The timing of Billy’s story happened to fit perfectly with Donatelle’s planning retreat, which was scheduled for the upcoming December.

Treasa surprised her leadership team by asking Billy to make a special appearance at their retreat and to share his story about overcoming “impossible” challenges. “I found Billy’s story empowering; it aligned so well with our leadership culture,” said Treasa. “In the global medical device marketplace our customers are challenged with rapid change every day. Billy’s message encouraged us to embrace change; recognize the need for it, be willing to address the challenge and adapt. Treasa intended Billy’s presentation to be a gift to her leadership team. “I was so excited to be able to book him for our December retreat, it was hard for me to keep it a secret. Billy’s story combined with his humor and music was fantastic,” she said.

Billy was not the first presenter to appear at a Donatelle leadership retreat. This time, however, the team had the added enjoyment of listening to Billy’s music along with his speech. More than enjoyment, Treasa said that Billy’s message resonated with the challenges that Donatelle and all companies face daily: How do you rethink change in the global market, which creates pressures you cannot anticipate? “Billy’s example of overcoming challenge inspired us to become the change we try to create; this had great personal and business relevance to us. Our mission at Donatelle is to create possibilities to improve the quality of life for humankind, one person at a time,” she explained.

After his performance, Billy was invited to join the group for an evening of fun and conversation. It was exciting for him to learn that some of the devices Donatelle is designing will treat the symptoms he suffers from focal dystonia. Treasa and the Donatelle leadership team look forward to having Billy return again to a future retreat. Treasa mentioned, “I’d like for Billy to delve deeper into his story so that we can learn more about his journey. Also, I think it will be great fun to add another hour of musical entertainment following his presentation so that we can continue to enjoy listening to Billy play.”

interview with donatelle

Billy with Treasa Springett

Minnesota SHRM 2013 Conference
Minnesota SHRM 2013 Conference

Minnesota SHRM

Minnesota Society for Human Resource Management (MNSHRM) State Conference

On October 13, Billy McLaughlin kicked off the annual conference for the Minnesota Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The conference brought together human resource professionals and consultants for new ideas, shared thoughts and best practices in employee engagement, education and new ways at looking at HR problems. Following his kickoff speech, Billy, accompanied by his string quartet, added an unprecedented element to the evening’s festivities as well.  For an event that is typically filled with continuing education and legal content, Billy and his ensemble were a deviation from the norm. Attendees responded positively to Billy’s addition.
Mary Gummerson, office manager for McGladrey LLP and chair of this year’s SHRM event, said that Billy exceeded expectations. “He wonderfully related the HR profession into his experiences and challenges while entertaining us. He also reminded us through his challenges that the thinking we need to do to solve a problem is not always in front of us.” Mary commented that the SHRM conference does not usually have a musical component. “It was a good fit. Members raved about it; I heard people mention that Billy was fantastic.” She added that Billy’s combination of entertainment and speaking contributed to the overall success of the conference. “He has overcome difficult challenges to become an incredible inspirational speaker who reaches people on an emotional level,” she added.
Jennifer Taschner, human resources director for Fiduciary Counselling, Inc., was among the attendees at the SHRM event. She said, “The foundational core of our work is to know, understand and have empathy for the employees we serve. Yet, there is so much separation due to legal paperwork and compliance updates. Billy’s story brought me back. He made an emotional connection through which I was able to share in his trials, experience his success and see the happiness he now has for the work he is doing.”
In response to hearing Billy’s music at a SHRM conference, Jennifer said, “Music is important in everyone’s life; it touches us in many ways. When I was growing up, we had an improvisational music instructor in grade school. She taught us the value of free-form learning. That understanding has translated into my professional life. Through Billy’s music I am reminded to think creatively, especially in a world that is constantly changing. In my HR role, it’s important to see individuals for what their talents are.  Billy’s combination of music and an emotional message made sense, especially speaking to this group. He is an inspirational singer, songwriter and presenter with a unique style that you wouldn’t expect.”
 
All photos taken by TJ Jensen

Interview with Secura Consultants

Interview with Secura Consultants

Secura Consultants


 
Once a year, Secura Consultants hosts the Twin Cities DI Day. The annual event is designed to enlighten financial professionals on the many ways disability impacts the lives of individuals and their loved ones. It is also intended to encourage these professionals, through their roles as insurance providers, to help people avoid the devastating and unnecessary financial side effects that accompany a disability.
 
Last month marked Secura Consultant’s 12th annual Twin Cities DI Day, which was held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. President George Davidson invited Billy as keynote presenter. “Billy wove a tapestry of story, talent and passion for music, which was an incredible experience for attendees,” he described.
 
According to George, much of Billy’s ordeal was the result of his loss of income due to the sudden onset of his disability. “When something like this happens it changes the complexion of everything,” he explained. It is an example of why George is committed to communicating the message that disability protection is an important part of planning for financial well being. He wants to make certain that people in the financial services industry include disability as part of the conversations they have with their clients. “It’s not all about fun and lake cabins, it’s also about risk planning,” he said.
In the 12 years that Secura Consultants has sponsored DI Day, George cannot remember anyone who has delivered more impact than Billy.
“He is an incredible star who will make it hard for us to provide comparable talent next year. His ability to be open, disarming, funny and engaging is rare. Often in a presentation, you get what feels like canned commentary.  While I am sure that Billy knew what he was going to say, it felt more like we were having a conversation with him. The same is true when he plays guitar, it comes through him and is very soulful. I had never seen him play before; I was mesmerized. It is clear that he is a unique talent. You can’t appreciate what he has lost until you hear what he has gotten back.”
 
In his efforts to curb the financial distress caused by disability George said, “All we can do is deliver the message. I don’t think that I could have found anyone better to do that than Billy. I have sent a correspondence about him to others who do what I do in this industry. He is a tremendous spokesperson.” George believes it is important that people fully understand financial impact of a sudden disability. “When I think of what it would’ve been like if Billy hadn’t made his turnaround; what the world would have lost!”
 

Pictures by TJ Jensen 2013

Interview with Upsher-Smith

Interview with Upsher-Smith

Upsher-Smith


 
Dave Stefanoni, head of early-stage commercialization and advocacy, and Mark Evenstad, president and CEO of Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., comment on Billy McLaughlin’s performance at a recent company event.
 
Billy was asked to give a presentation to the Upsher-Smith Community, an assembly of employees and invited guests, with the intent of raising their awareness and understanding of the types of challenges Billy encounters with dystonia as well as the challenges he faces with his son’s epilepsy. “Originally, I had wanted to ask Billy to do a more intimate version of his music and leadership story that he presented during the gala for the Epilepsy Foundation. When Mark heard of the plan, he decided to invite the entire company together on the lawn outside our building,” said Dave.
 
“People at Upsher-Smith are kind, caring and open-minded. When they observe and hear someone like Billy, they work harder, better and faster to develop solutions that people need to live healthier lives,” said Mark. “That’s why I hold these events. They give us a picture of who we are working for while attaching a face and a story to our efforts. As far as I’m concerned, the faster we can solve problems involving the central nervous system, the better it will be for all,” he explained.
 
The company has hosted similar outdoor events to employee groups, including a panel of parents whose children have epilepsy and an adult woman with epilepsy who shared her life experiences. One of the reasons for this exploration is that Upsher-Smith is developing drugs that treat seizure disorders. They are currently working on three products that include standard therapy, rescue therapy and treatment for refractory symptoms.
 
Billy’s presentation was scheduled so that it bridged normal and after-work hours. It took place on the lawn outside the building. Mark noted, “When I sent a company-wide email announcing Billy’s presentation, the excitement was high, but expectations were unknown.  People did not expect to be as captivated as they were by Billy. I looked around the audience and all eyes were fixed on him as he told his story. This is unusual during an after-hours event where people like to visit and chat. Whatever expectations they may have had were blown away, mine included.”
 
Among the takeaways for Mark was the fact that after Billy resolved to learn his music left handed (having lost the use of his right hand to dystonia), he would not settle for anything short of playing his hardest song before returning to stage publicly. Also, the inspiration he shared from having been at the top of his craft before crashing and burning and then pulling himself up again while helping his son as best as he could modeled behaviors that, according to Mark, “any of us would be excited to witness.”
 
Billy’s presentation also served people at Upsher Smith beyond those who were working on the drugs specific to epilepsy. Dave had wanted to acquaint other groups with people afflicted by epilepsy as well as their caregivers so that they might feel less removed from all that had been going on with the new products and advocacy program.
 
“Billy has a unique ability to weave levity and music into the serious subject of epilepsy. He created the perfect platform to make an impact. Billy helped to rally our people behind our goal; he let them know that everything they do helps to fuel our success. The results were better than I had anticipated. Billy aligned our organization. The feedback we received was exceptional. Mark mentioned to me that it was one of the best events we had ever put together. I don’t tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, but the thing that touched me about Billy is what he’s been through. Through it all he remains positive, upbeat and willing to give of himself and his talent. I also happen to love his music. Billy provides the unique experience of a concert motivated by a story – there’s not too much of one or the other,” said Dave.
 
According to Dave, “I would absolutely ask Billy back to do another performance. However, I’d like to do it somewhat differently next time. As we continue our efforts in this area, I would love to see us become a bigger partner by helping to sponsor Billy’s tour in such a way that more people can hear his message, especially those who are directly impacted by epilepsy. As our efforts evolve, we can touch others with this message. Billy will help us increase awareness of what epilepsy is and how to handle it. Eventually we can make progress toward how epilepsy is being dealt with in the legislature, schools, jobs, transportation and housing. Creating this voice is a big part of our ultimate goal.”
 
*Thanks to Dave Stefanoni and TJ Jensen for capturing some great pictures from the event!

 
 

Interview with Jeff Glor

CBS News - The Early Show interviews Billy

CBS News – The Early Show with Jeff Glor


CBS producer Bob Kozberg from the Los Angeles office filmed and interviewed Billy and members of the audience at a recent concert in La Jolla, CA. Early Show anchorman Jeff Glor then flew to Minneapolis from New York to interview Billy one on one about a week later. The story will be airing nationally and focuses on overcoming adversity and Billy’s determination to regain his music and improve awareness of dystonia. As soon as CBS sets a date for airing the story we will post it on Billy’s homepage and send out an e-blast notification. Thank you CBS and especially Bob and Jeff for their part in getting Billy’s story out for the first time on network television!
Watch the full CBS story with Jeff Glor here.