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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Who is Sarah Ann McLachlan?

Who is Sarah Ann McLachlan OC, OBC? The music world knows her as a Canadian musician, singer and songwriter.

Known for her emotional ballads and mezzo-soprano vocal range, since of 2006, she has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. McLachlan's best-selling album to date is Surfacing, for which she won two Grammy Awards (out of four nominations) and four Juno Awards. In addition to her personal artistic efforts, she founded the Lilith Fair tour, which showcased female musicians. The Lilith Fair concert tours took place from 1997 to 1999, and will resume beginning in the summer of 2010.


Biography

Sarah McLachlan was born on January 28, 1968(1968-01-28), and adopted in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a child, she took voice lessons, along with studies in classical piano and guitar. When she was 17 years old and still a student at Queen Elizabeth High School, she fronted a short-lived rock band called The October Game. One of the band's songs, "Grind", credited as a group composition, can be found on the independent Flamingo Records release Out of the Fog and the CD Out of the Fog Too. It has yet to be released elsewhere. Her high school yearbook predicted that she was "destined to become a famous rock star."

Following The October Game's first concert at Dalhousie University opening for Moev, McLachlan was offered a recording contract with Vancouver-based independent record label Nettwerk by Moev's Mark Jowett. McLachlan's parents insisted she finish high school and complete one year of studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before moving to Vancouver and embarking on a new life as a recording artist, and McLachlan finally signed to Nettwerk two years later before having written a single song.

In 1994 McLachlan became the target of a lawsuit, when she was sued by Uwe Vandrei, an obsessed fan from Ottawa, who alleged that his letters to her had been the basis of the single "Possession". The lawsuit was also challenging for the Canadian legal system—Vandrei was a self-admitted stalker whose self-acknowledged goal in filing the lawsuit was to be near McLachlan physically. Consequently, special precautions were planned to ensure McLachlan's safety if at any time she had to be in the same location as Vandrei. The lawsuit never came to trial, however, as Vandrei was found dead in an apparent suicide before the trial began. This topic was explored at length in Canadian author Judith Fitzgerald's book, Building A Mystery: The Story of Sarah McLachlan & Lilith Fair.

In 1997, Sarah McLachlan married her drummer, Ashwin Sood, in Jamaica. McLachlan lost her mother to cancer in December 2001, while McLachlan herself was pregnant. McLachlan gave birth to a daughter, whom she named India Ann Sushil Sood, on April 6, 2002, in Vancouver. By this time, McLachlan had already completed three-quarters of the production on her next record, Afterglow. On June 22, 2007, she gave birth to her second daughter, Taja Summer Sood, in Vancouver. McLachlan announced her separation from Ashwin Sood in September 2008.

Musical career

Touch and Solace

The signing with Nettwerk prompted McLachlan to move to Vancouver, British Columbia. There she recorded the first of her albums, Touch, in 1988, which received both critical and commercial success and included the hit song "Vox". During this period she also contributed to an album by Moev, and embarked on her first national concert tour as an opening act for The Grapes of Wrath.

Her 1991 album, Solace, was her mainstream breakthrough in Canada, spawning the hit singles "The Path of Thorns (Terms)" and "Into the Fire". Solace also marked the beginning of her partnership with Pierre Marchand. Marchand and McLachlan have been collaborators ever since, with Marchand producing all of McLachlan's albums and occasionally co-writing songs.

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and Surfacing

McLachlan at a 1993 benefit for Clayoquot Sound

1993's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy was an immediate smash hit in Canada. From her Nettwerk connection, her piano version of the song "Possession" was included on the first Due South soundtrack in 1996. Over the next two years, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy quietly became McLachlan's international breakthrough as well, scaling the charts in a number of countries.

In 1993, Darryl Neudorf filed a lawsuit against McLachlan and her label, Nettwerk, alleging that he had made a significant and uncredited contribution to the songwriting on Touch, and alleging that he wasn't paid properly for work done on Solace. The judge in this suit eventually ruled in McLachlan's favour on the songs; though Neudorf may have contributed to the songwriting, neither regarded each other as joint authors. The judge ruled in Neudorf's favour on the payment issue.

Following the success from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, McLachlan returned in 1997 with Surfacing, her best selling album to date. Earning her two Grammy Awards and four Juno Awards, the album has since sold over 11 million copies worldwide and brought her much international success. Still in the spotlight from the album, McLachlan launched the highly popular Lilith Fair tour. Her song "Angel"—inspired by the fatal overdose of Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin—made sales skyrocket. In Spring 1998, the motion picture City of Angels featured "Angel". It became the No. 1 album on the Billboard chart. More than five months after the movie disappeared from the theaters, City of Angels: Music from the Motion Picture remained firmly entrenched among Billboard's top 40 albums. This soundtrack earned quadruple-platinum status.

Lilith Fair

In 1996 McLachlan became frustrated with concert promoters and radio stations that refused to feature two female musicians in a row. Bucking conventional industry wisdom, she booked a successful tour for herself and Paula Cole. At least one of their appearances together – in McLachlan's home town, on September 14, 1996 – went by the name "Lilith Fair" and included performances by McLachlan, Cole, Lisa Loeb and Michelle McAdorey, formerly of Crash Vegas.

The next year, McLachlan founded the Lilith Fair tour, taking Lilith from the medieval Jewish legend that Lilith was Adam's first wife.

In 1997, Lilith Fair, featuring McLachlan as one of the headlining acts, garnered a $16 million gross, making it the top-grossing of any touring festival. Among all concert tours for that year, it was the 16th highest grossing.[8] Lilith Fair tour brought together 2 million people over its three-year history and raised more than $7 million for charities. It was the most successful all-female music festival in history, one of the biggest music festivals of the 1990s, and helped launch the careers of several well-known female artists. Subsequent Lilith Fairs followed in 1998 and 1999 before the tour was discontinued.

Nettwerk CEO and Lilith Fair co-founder Terry McBride announced that the all-female festival would make its return in Summer 2010.

Hiatus

McLachlan performing for Good Morning America in 1998

In 1998, in addition to performing her own set, she performed a cover of "Sad Lisa" with rock band Phish at the annual Bridge School Benefit concert in California, hosted by Neil Young, after which McLachlan began an extended period away from recording or touring. Six years elapsed between the release of Surfacing and that of her next studio album, Afterglow.

However, she did release a live album in 1999, entitled Mirrorball. The album's singles included a new live version of her earlier doubles "I Will Remember You", a studio recording of which had previously been released on The Brothers McMullen soundtrack as well as Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff.

Also that year, McLachlan recorded the Randy Newman song "When She Loved Me" on the Toy Story 2 soundtrack. This song was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song in 2000, and McLachlan performed it at the awards ceremony, but the award went to "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan, written and recorded by Phil Collins.

In 1997, McLachlan co-wrote and provided guest vocals on the Delerium song "Silence" for their album Karma. This song achieved a massive amount of top 40 airplay when released as a single in late 2000 and also featured on the soundtrack for the movie Brokedown Palace. In 2001, McLachlan provided background vocals, guitar, and piano on the closing track "Love Is" from Stevie Nicks' eighth solo album, Trouble in Shangri-La, in addition to drawing the dragon used for the "S" in Stevie's name on the album cover. In May 2002, her duet with Bryan Adams was released on the Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron soundtrack. She sang harmonies and played the piano on the song "Don't Let Go" while Sood did the drum work.

McLachlan also participated in several concerts during her break, such as Sheryl Crow's Live from Central Park in 1999, the Arista Records twenty-fifth anniversary celebration in 2000, as well as the 2002 British Columbia Cancer Foundation Benefit Concert in memory of cancer victim Michele Bourbonnais. She participated along with four other Canadian artists: Bryan Adams, Jann Arden, Barenaked Ladies, and Chantal Kreviazuk.

Afterglow

McLachlan in Menlo Park, USA

McLachlan returned to public life and touring with her 2003 album release, Afterglow, which contained the singles "Fallen", "Stupid", and "World On Fire." Rather than shoot a conventional music video for "World On Fire", McLachlan donated all but $15 of the $150,000 budget to various charitable causes around the world and then used the video to explain how it benefited the communities that received the money.

Another live album, Afterglow Live, was released in late 2004. The CD consisted of several tracks from a full-length concert which was included in its entirety on a DVD, as well as the three music videos from Afterglow.

In 2004, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, who credits McLachlan and her music for lifting him from a period of depression, invited her to join him on a track from his solo album. Although the album was not released until early 2006, remixes of the song "Just Like Me" were included on a number of compilations in 2005.

In 2007, McLachlan's song "Answer" featured in The Brave One starring Jodie Foster.

Wintersong

In October 2006, McLachlan released a Christmas album called Wintersong. The album included 11 new recordings, featuring covers of Joni Mitchell's "River", Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night", and John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", which she recorded with her outreach children and youth choir, and seasonal favourites: "Christmas Time Is Here", "O Little Town of Bethlehem", "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", "Silent Night", "The First Noel", and "Greensleeves (What Child Is This?)", among others. The title track is an original work of McLachlan's.

Wintersong debuted at No. 42 on the Billboard 200 album chart the week ending 4 November 2006. It has peaked at #7 and has sold 759,162 copies in the U.S. to date. For the week of 5 December 2006, it was the #1 album on iTunes. Worldwide the album has sold 1.1 million copies to date. It has been certified Platinum in the U.S. and 2x Platinum in Canada.

Wintersong was nominated for both a Grammy Award, in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category, as well as for a Juno Award, for Pop Album of the Year.

Guest appearances

In November 2006, McLachlan performed the song "Ordinary Miracle" for that year's feature film, Charlotte's Web. The song was written by Glen Ballard and David A. Stewart of Eurythmics. McLachlan was the subject of rumours of an Oscar nomination for the song, but in the end was not nominated. She helped to promote the song and movie by performing it on The Oprah Winfrey Show as well as during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. She also performed the song during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in her hometown of Vancouver, in front of an estimated 3 billion television viewers worldwide.

In early 2007, she sang on Dave Stewart's Go Green, alongside Nadirah X, Imogen Heap, Natalie Imbruglia, and others.

McLachlan also appeared on Annie Lennox's album, Songs of Mass Destruction. Together with Madonna, Céline Dion, Pink, Sugababes, Angélique Kidjo, k.d. lang, Faith Hill, Fergie, Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt, Shakira, Anastacia, Joss Stone, Dido, and KT Tunstall, she performed on the song "Sing".

Rereleases, Rarities Vol 2, and Greatest Hits

On October 3, 2006, the live album Mirrorball was re-released as Mirrorball: The Complete Concert. This release contains 2 discs that span over 2 hours of a concert performed in Portland, Oregon, in April 1998.

April 29, 2008 saw the release of Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff Volume 2. The tracklist includes McLachlan's recent covers of Joni Mitchell's "River" and Dave Stewart's "Ordinary Miracle", as well as collaborations throughout her career with The Perishers, Cyndi Lauper and Bryan Adams, among others.

August 5, 2008 saw the release of the 15th anniversary 3-disc edition of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. The set includes the original remastered album, The Freedom Sessions and a DVD that includes live performances, music videos and more. The album was released by Legacy Recordings.

McLachlan released a greatest hits album, Closer: The Best of Sarah McLachlan, on October 7, 2008. On August 12, 2008, she released a new song from the album, "U want me 2," a mid-tempo contemplative love song, as a digital single on iTunes; also accompanied with a video performance. McLachlan also admitted the song was inspired by the dissolution of her marriage, which she announced in September 2008, during initial promotion. Being quietly released as a single on 3 February 2009 the other new song found on the album, "Don't Give Up on Us", signaled a wrap.

2010 Winter Olympics, Laws of Illusion and Lilith Fair 2010

A new single, "One Dream," was released on September 29, 2009 and was a rumored contender for the official theme song of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. McLachlan's first studio album of original material in seven years, Laws of Illusion, will be released on June 15, 2010. It features 10 new songs in addition to the previously released tracks "U Want Me 2" and "Don't Give Up on Us," as well as various bonus tracks. Previews of the tracks and bonus materials were made available on iTunes and Amazon.com for listening and viewing on May 26th, 2010. Lilith Fair will kick off in Calgary, AB on June 27, 2010.

Guitars and equipment

For years, Sarah McLachlan's main stage guitar has been a late-'70s Larrivée C-10 with rosewood back and sides, a spruce top, and a Florentine cutaway. The guitar is amplified with a Fishman Rare Earth Blend (which combines a magnetic pickup and an internal mic), running through a Radial JDV Mk3 active DI. She has also performed with Canadian-made Morgan guitars, and at the time of the interview, she was trying out Taylor models with Expression System electronics.

McLachlan strings her guitars with phosphor-bronze or vintage bronze Dean Markleys. She uses medium-lights (.012–.054) for her guitars in E A D G A D and D A D G A D tunings. Sometimes she uses lights (.011–.046) and raises E A D G A D a whole step so her capo positions can be two frets lower. For instance, in the past she played "Building a Mystery" in E A D G A D with a capo at the seventh fret, but now she tunes to F# B E A B E and capoes at the fifth fret. McLachlan's capo of choice is a Dunlop C-Four.

Awards and achievements

McLachlan has been nominated for twenty-one Juno Awards and awarded eight. In 1992, her video for "Into the Fire" was selected as best music video. In 1998, she won Female Vocalist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year (along with Pierre Marchand), Single of the Year for "Building a Mystery", and Album of the Year for Surfacing. In 2000, she won an International Achievement award and in 2004, won Pop Album of the Year for Afterglow and again shared the Songwriter of the Year award with Pierre Marchand for the singles "Fallen", "World on Fire", and "Stupid."

She has also won three Grammy Awards. She was awarded Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1997 for "Building a Mystery" and again in 1999 for the live version of "I Will Remember You." She also scored Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1997 for "Last Dance." Among these, she is credited for various nominations.

Her song "Building A Mystery" came in at 91 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s.

McLachlan has been extensively profiled by media including cover stories for Rolling Stone, Time magazine, Entertainment Weekly and Flare, a Canadian fashion magazine.

Through her career, she has also received many awards, primarily in recognition of her efforts in launching Lilith Fair. She was awarded the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Visionary Award in 1998 for advancing the careers of women in music. In 1999, she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada by then-Governor General Adrienne Clarkson in recognition of her successful recording career, her role in Lilith Fair, and the charitable donations she made to women's shelters across Canada. In 2001, she was inducted to the Order of British Columbia.

On February 12, 2010, McLachlan performed her song "Ordinary Miracle" at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Philanthropy

In early 2005, McLachlan took part in a star-studded tsunami disaster relief telethon on NBC. On 29 January McLachlan was a headliner for a benefit concert in Vancouver along with other Canadian superstars such as Avril Lavigne and Bryan Adams. The show also featured a performance by the Sarah McLachlan Musical Outreach Choir & Percussion Ensemble, a children's choir and percussion band from the aforementioned Vancouver outreach program. In addition to her own headliner show she also joined Delerium live on stage for their first-ever performance of 'Silence'. The concert was titled One World: The Concert for Tsunami Relief, and raised approximately $3.6 million for several Canadian aid agencies working in south and southeast Asia. The show was the brainchild of McLachlan's manager, Terry McBride, CEO of Nettwerk. It ran for four hours and aired live on CTV across Canada.

She is an avid supporter of the ASPCA and animal welfare. She filmed a two-minute advertisement for the organization which featured her song "Angel". The advertisement's imagery of shelter animals mixed with the soundtrack and McLachlan's simple appeal for donations has raised $30 million for the ASPCA since it began to air in 2006, which allowed the organization to air appeals in higher profile prime-time cable ad slots; subsequently the organization produced a new ad for the 2008 holiday season featuring McLachlan appealing for the ASPCA over her Wintersong performance of "Silent Night", and a new ad with her was released in January 2009 featuring the song "Answer".

On July 2, 2005, McLachlan participated in the Philadelphia installment of the Live 8 concerts, where she performed her hit "Angel" with Josh Groban. These concerts, which were held simultaneously in nine major cities around the world, were intended to coincide with the G8 summit to put pressure on the leaders of the world's richest nations to fight poverty in Africa by cancelling debt.

McLachlan also funds an outreach program in Vancouver that provides music education for inner city children. In 2007, the provincial government announced $500,000 in funding for the outreach program.

Discography


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