You can't not love Sarah. And this year, we get to enjoy her new album, Laws of Illusion, and the resurrection of Lilith Fair after an 11-year hiatus. Her life has changed with the loss of her mother, a divorce and two kids, India, 8, and Taja, 3. But some things are the same: her ability to connect with us, and the importance of everyday moments. We sat down with Sarah for a quick chat.
What's your favourite thing about Sarah McLachlan? Share your favourite song, album or live performance by the famed Canadian songstress in our comments section on the next page.
Q: Where did the music come from on your new album?
A: Life, as usual. For me, it's an emotional mining of storms in my head that need to come out and they end up being songs. Strangely enough, other people seem to like them as well, I'm pretty lucky that way. I'm really very pleased with this record. I think it's my best one yet.
Q: I've heard it called the breakup album, how do you feel about that?
A: That's kind of limiting, it goes way beyond that. The breakup is the beginning. I suppose one could say that was the catalyst for a lot of the growth and change and re-evaluation of everything.
Q: One track on your album, the song "Loving You Is Easy," strikes me as such a happy song.
A: Being able to write that song was liberating on many levels. It was really easy this time around and I think it has something to do with being a little older – I think I couldn't have written that song 10 years ago, and more than anything, it just has to do with being able to say, "I don't really give a shit about that any more." I don't mean that in a dismissive way, but I'm established, I'm a good songwriter and I know that. If people consider it frothy and light, fine. I like it, I let go of my inhibitions a little bit.
Q: Your music makes people want to be your friend. Where do you think that comes from?
A: Probably my need to connect with myself, with my own essence. It's all a process of self-discovery with me, it's cathartic. Maybe that's why so many other people connect with the music because it is from an emotional point of view. And I am writing about pretty pedestrian things, things that so many of us go through. You sort of define your world. I very much defined my world around my family and my marriage and as a working mother, a working musician, as well, but losing that part of the equation that I thought was going to be there for the rest of my life was a huge life-altering thing for me.
Page 1 of 3 – Discover how Sarah coped while going through a divorce and learn what she loves most about being a mom on page 2.Q: That must have been very painful. How did you get through your divorce?
A: I don't even remember. It went on for quite a while. Two of my best girlfriends are going through the same thing, so I had great friends and a great family and a ton of love and a ton of support. It completely saved my butt. With my kids, I kept it really simple. They're doing great, and they're really happy, and their father and I have a good relationship. There's not a lot of animosity, he's a really good guy, it just didn't work out. And he's a great father. To both of our credits, I've seen other people go through this and use their kids as pawns, and that was never an issue for us. Those kids are so loved and they know it and they're OK.
Q: What's the best part about being a mom?
A: It is probably the hardest job I think I will ever have. But every night I read each one stories individually, and we have cuddles, and Taja, my youngest, just got her big-girl bed and so now we do cuddles in bed. And she's communicating on such an amazing level now and she'll start telling me stories about something and she's so funny and just having those little moments with them. And on good nights when they haven't scrapped too much, we can all sit together and share the stories together, and now my 8-year-old is reading my 3-year old stories at bedtime while they sit on my lap. Those moments are so amazing.
Q: Making Lilith Fair happen again after 11 years must be pretty exciting.
A: It's very exciting. We have some amazing artists this time around.
Q: The last time you raised more than $10 million dollars for women's charities. That's huge. One of our readers wants to know how you feel about the lack of funding and support for women who have been abused.
A: I think there's a lack of funding and support for a whole lot of important causes. I don't know what the answer is. I know with this tour, we are going to donate a $1 from every ticket sale to a local women's shelter. We did that the last time. That felt like a great and tangible part of Lilith, being able to leave a footprint, a positive social footprint in every community we went into, and donated by a community, essentially. They gave the money for the music, we gave some back, so again, it's this pay-it-forward gift of sharing.
For me, I feel so lucky in my life. It's just sort of a natural extension of having more than I need. Everybody has a gift that they can offer to the world that's going to help. It's a choice, you can make a choice to use your gifts in a valuable way. I just feel like I've got a great platform. I sing, and that seems to make an impact, so when people say to me, "Oh, you're so actively involved in these charities," I'm not, really. I show up and I sing for a couple of hours. I feel guilty. I feel like I should be doing more.
Page 2 of 3 – Sarah spills her fitness routine and answers a few readers' questions on page 3.
Q: How do you manage it all? How do you look so fabulous? Do you eat right? Do you work out?
A: I decided I should be working out because I eat like a horse, and I don't want to be 300 pounds. I ran a half-marathon last June, which was something I never thought I'd do but I really enjoyed it. So I like running, and I do a lot of yoga. I just discovered being active and being sporty in my 30s. I surf, too, but I haven't been able to do that for a while. I hardly ever drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, I exercise regularly, I have not done enough yoga in the past couple of weeks, but I am usually pretty regimented with that. It's really helpful with this kind of frenetic crazy schedule.
Q: If a free day dropped from the sky into your lap right now, what would you do with it?
A: I'd take my kids to a surfing beach and I'd plunk them down in the shade, give them lots of toys and I'd go surfing. There would be beautiful four-foot swells. But I wouldn't leave the kids alone – I'd bring a few friends!
Q: One of our readers wants to know if you have a boyfriend?
A: Happily single, I couldn't imagine being entangled in a relationship right now, there's just too much going on, it's too messy!
Q: My friend Patricia FitzGerald wants to know if you ever feel angelic or benevolent forces around you that help you create your music?
A: Yes. There have certainly been times when I've written something and I feel like it's just come through me, and there's something conspiring, and I'm just the vessel for it. "Angel" was very much like that. It came out very quickly and easily and it was sort of like that. That's one of the only times I've felt like that, and "Hold On," too.
Q: What are the things you're grateful for in your life right now?
A: I'm grateful for my kids, my friends, for the amazing opportunities I've had, for the life I've got to lead so far. I have an amazing family, and my dad is still alive. It's a miracle. Every day is a gift with him. He's 80.
Q: You must miss your mom sometimes, especially to share some of this stuff with her?
A: Oh, yes, especially my kids. So many times, I hear her voice in my head saying, "Just you wait till you have kids, you'll understand." I wish she could be here to tell me I told you so.
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