With over 25 years in the recording industry, Sarah McLachlan is a multi-platinum singer and songwriter best known for her intimate vocals and relatable lyrics. The Canadian-born, Grammy and Juno Award winning artist has sold over 40 million albums.
McLachlan was instantly drawn to music as a child and honed her skill by studying voice, classical piano and guitar. At just 17 years old, McLachlan was discovered by Nettwerk Records while leading a New Wave band. With her reluctant parents asking her to focus on school, McLachlan waited two years before signing with Nettwerk. With a deal in place, McLachlan packed her bags, moved to Vancouver and began writing music for her first album Touch.
McLachlan followed up her first gold album with Solace, solidifying her as a rising star in Canada. With two successful albums under her belt, McLachlan began penning the lyrics for Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. An immediate hit in Canada, it became her breakthrough in the United States making it onto the contemporary charts and producing the haunting single “Possession”.
McLachlan’s next album would become her best-selling to date. Surfacing peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 album charts and went eight-time’s platinum in the U.S. The 1997 album was awarded with a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance for “Building a Mystery” and another for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for “Last Dance”. Surfacing also provided McLachlan with four Juno Awards in her native Canada.
1997 was a big year for McLachlan. Along with her critically-acclaimed Surfacing release, McLachlan helped organize Lilith Fair which brought over 2 million people together during its three-year run. The Lilith Fair tours raised more than $7 million for women’s charities and helped launch the careers of numerous women singer-songwriters. The festival was the most successful all-female music event and was the top-grossing touring festival of that year.
Her prominent role in Lilith Fair also led to several highly-regarded recognitions for McLachlan. In 1998, McLachlan was awarded the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Visionary Award from New York’s Governor George Pataki for furthering the careers of women in music. McLachlan was then awarded the highest honor a Canadian citizen can receive by being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999. Given by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, the appointment was in recognition of her successful career, her role in Lilith Fair and the charitable contributions she made to women’s shelters across Canada.
In the summer of 1999 McLachlan released Mirrorball featuring live performances of hit songs from her previous two albums. The four-time platinum selling album earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Album and won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “I Will Remember You”.
In 2001, McLachlan was bestowed another honor by being appointed to the Order of British Columbia. The province’s highest recognition, for excellence and lifetime achievement, was given to her for McLachlan’s dedication to bettering the lives of her fellow citizens.
While taking a break from recording, McLachlan continued her philanthropic efforts by laying the groundwork for the Sarah McLachlan School of Music which officially opened in 2003. The School of Music is an outreach program that provides free after-school musical education, something McLachlan cherished in her own youth, for school-aged children in Vancouver.
Returning to the studio, McLachlan burst back into the spotlight with Afterglow. Reaching double-platinum, Afterglow featured hit singles “Fallen”, “World on Fire” and “Stupid”. McLachlan promoted her album for eight months and followed its release with a year and a half of touring. That extensive tour provided her with the tracks for her 2004 release of Afterglow Live which also included a DVD of concert footage and three music videos from Afterglow.
Changing directions in 2006, McLachlan released her first Christmas album Wintersong. Filled with timeless tracks like her cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River” and the winter classic “Silent Night”, the album rose to the #7 album on the Billboard 200 album chart and claimed the #1 spot on iTunes.
In 2010, McLachlan released her first studio album of all original material for the first time in nearly seven years titled Laws of Illusion. Produced by her longtime collaborator Pierre Marchand, the album featured 12 new songs and debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200. This album featured the single “One Dream” which became the official theme song of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. McLachlan then went on to perform her hit “Ordinary Miracle” at the opening ceremony of the Olympics in her home city Vancouver in front of an estimated 3 billion television viewers worldwide.
Getting back in the studio in 2013, McLachlan began to put together her much anticipated album Shine On. Its release in May of 2014 can’t come soon enough for fans that have waited four years for new material.
Today Sarah continues to call Vancouver home where she resides with her two daughters, India and Taja.