Indie Rocker Andrew McMahon Feels 'Blessed' as He Celebrates 10 Years in Remission from Leukemia

The former Jack's Mannequin frontman opened up about new music and his cancer foundation at National Concert Day

Photo: Brad Barket/Getty

Andrew McMahon is feeling #blessed.

This year, the former Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin frontman – whose current act, Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness, is hitting the road with Panic! at the Disco and Weezer this summer – is celebrating a few special anniversaries. For 10 years, he’s been in remission from leukemia; in July, his cancer organization, the Dear Jack Foundation, will celebrate a decade of service; and in December, he and his wife Kelly Hensch will ring in their tin anniversary.

“Basically in a year span, I’d gotten and beat cancer and got married and started this amazing organization that, now, is really entering its era where we’ve got a staff that is just helping to execute these visions that are really powerful and have game-changing implications for the adolescent and young adult cancer community,” the indie rocker, 33, told PEOPLE Tuesday at Live Nation’s National Concert Day event at Irving Plaza in New York.

Looking back on his life-threatening diagnosis and how far he’s come since, McMahon lives with an appreciative perspective.

“For me, the fact that you get sick in the middle of your life and the middle of your career, that’s a shock to the system, but the fact that this many years later, I have this beautiful daughter [Cecilia, 2], a healthy marriage, a career and success and to have an organization that we can make a difference with – there’s just so much good there,” he says.

Adds McMahon: “I’m a little bit older, I’m a little more seasoned, and I’m learning to appreciate how blessed I am. Even with the misfortunes I’ve had, they’ve led to great things.”

And there are only great things to come, too, as he’s hard at work fine-tuning his latest In the Wilderness project, which he says is a bit of a pop departure.

“I finally got together with this production team in New York downtown that I’ve just been so psyched on working with that I said, ‘I’m gonna do my New York record,'” says McMahon, who recorded all his previous albums on the West Coast. “I don’t want to scare anybody, but it’s pop.”

“I’m trying to follow in Taylor Swift‘s footsteps,” he jokes (Swift’s Album of the Year-winning pop crossover 1989 was inspired by her move to New York). “There has been this rad settling into a combination of organic and electronic elements. But it’s big. And more than anything, they’re songs I’m really excited about – they’re really colorful and they’re vivid, so there’s this really vibrant thing going on that I hope people will feel.”

For a full list of his upcoming tour dates with Panic! and Weezer, click here.

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