The Artist Otherwise Known As: Singer-songwriter Aidan McMahon ’26

Shane Stackpole and Ella Bruff

Aidan McMahon will release a single called “OH BOY!” on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Aidan McMahon.)

Aidan McMahon ’26 started his musical career at age eight when his parents signed him up for piano lessons, but it wasn’t until middle school that McMahon considered writing his own music. “When I was 13, my piano teacher [said he had] a band that he wrote songs for,” McMahon said. “[He told me] if I ever wanted to work on that with him I could, so I wrote a few songs with him.”

From there, McMahon found the music creation software GarageBand on his computer, which he initially used to produce his own music before upgrading to the more advanced program Logic. “I spent all four years of high school learning how to produce, finding different ways to write songs, and making them my own through sound lyrics,” he said. “Especially in the past two years [music production has] become my main focus and my main form of creative output.” 

At the start of his songwriting career, McMahon took inspiration from artists such as Dodie, Lorde, and Vampire Weekend. Today, his musical style — which he describes as “indie-pop-rock” — is largely influenced by artists like Adrianne Lenker. While his style has changed over the years, McMahon has followed the same song-writing process throughout his career. “There are no particular steps,” McMahon said. “It’s really all over the place for me. I’ll write a verse one day and then come back to it five months later and finish the song in one sweep.”  

McMahon released a song for the first time in 2019, titled “Hope You’re Happy.” Since then, he has released two EPs. He is working on a variety of  songs for his upcoming debut album titled Social Animal, which he plans to release in late spring or early summer. 

The album will feature eight songs; one of them, titled “Walking Song,” was already released last fall. “[The album] is about meeting people and how cool it is to have people enter your life at random points,” McMahon said. “I think [the name Social Animal] is fitting for the whole idea of people coming in and out [of your life].” 

This Friday, McMahon will release another single from Social Animal titled “OH BOY!”. The song is about a crush that McMahon had during his senior year of high school. “It was the type of [crush] where I didn’t really want to talk to my friends about it, so I kind of just poured [how I felt] into the music,” McMahon said. 

While writing  “OH BOY!”, McMahon wanted to transition from the bittersweet tone he typically employs in his music to something more upbeat, and he said that a love song gave him the perfect platform to allow for this transition. “I just kind of wanted to challenge all the positivity of having a really big crush into a song,” McMahon said. 

Beyond pursuing music production, McMahon DJs through WCFM, participates in Cap & Bells productions, and sings in the concert and chamber choirs at the College. Despite his rigorous schedule, McMahon still finds motivation to write music. “It’s the type of thing where when I get inspiration and if I’m not doing anything, I whip out my computer wherever I am, put in my Airpods, and just figure it out,” he said. “I don’t like forcing myself to produce [music] because then I don’t enjoy it and it’s not the fun thing that I want it to be.” 

McMahon  plans to major in psychology and English despite his desire to pursue an eventual career in music. “I feel like jumping into music is a very risky thing and I don’t want to make any [conclusive] decisions,” he said. Nevertheless, Aidan described his excitement to see where his music will take him at the College and beyond. “I just found out that we have a recording studio here. So I think that once I’m done with this album, I’m gonna go right over there and start working on more music.”