From hero to zero and back to hero again
Billy McLaughlin was born in Minnesota, 48 years ago. At an early age, he knew he wanted to play the guitar for the rest of his life. He formed a band and by age 15 he’d started recording. Billy went to University of Southern California and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Between 1988 and 1999 he had done 1,763 live performances. He had won the National Association of Campus Activities National Campus Entertainer of the Year Awards (jazz) three times as well as a Hall of Fame Achievement Award.
By 2000, he had released 7 albums including the Billboard Top 10 Fingerdance in 1996. He was an accomplished acoustic guitarist with his own unique sound and style as well as being a gifted composer and producer. He had it all, a wide fan base, a recording deal with Virgin Records label Narada, tours in America, Asia and Europe as well as a loving wife and family. Unfortunately, all this was not to last.
Between 1996 and 2006, Billy McLaughlin performed live only 14 times. By 2001, Billy had lost everything. His recording, publishing, and distribution deals were all gone. Also gone were his agent, his wife and his family. He lost his business, his income, his marriage and home. Many people wrote him off. His career was considered over.
Unlike most celebrities, Billy McLaughlin was not snorting, injecting, drinking or swallowing his way to the bottom. Billy Mclaughlin had Focal hand Dystonia.
Focal hand Dystonia is a neuromuscular disorder that affects the hands. Research has shown that if occurs when the hand is trained for a long time to do a particular task or function. It results in the hand or fingers having uncontrollable and sometimes painful muscle spasms and contractions. The individual looses control of his hand or fingers. Focal hand Dystonia usually affects those who require their hands for precise and specific functions. Surgeons, writers and musicians are amongst those most affected.
Billy McLaughlin opted not to give up. He went back to his rock band where the demands on his hand were less. He also started training himself – against doctors’ orders to play with his left hand.
In January 2007, Billy McLaughlin released a compilation with a string orchestra called Into The Light. It was his first release as a left handed artist.
Billy McLaughlin is back. This April 15th you can watch him live in concert at the Billy McLaughlin concert, at Lighthouse Event Center in Albert Lea, Minnesota, USA from 7:30 to 9:00pm. He will also give a guitar workshop on 16th April from 10am where he will talk about tuning and finger tapping.
You don’t want to miss this!