The music scene

How pain inspired Sarah McLachlan to ‘Shine On'

 

Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano songstress Sarah McLachlan is juggling a lot: a new album ( Shine On), a 30-city U.S. tour [alas, no South Florida dates], then a tour through her home country of Canada. The single 46-year-old mother of two (rumored to be dating former pro hockey player Geoff Courtnall) recently talked to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

A lot of your lyrics could be read as poetry. Did you write the songs before you added music?

The music pretty much always comes first. Get the melody and then sometimes there’s no words, there’s just a phrase that pops into the melody because it rolls off the tongue nicely. I'll often look at that phrase and wonder, “Where did it come from? How do I make something else out of it?” Sometimes it works, and sometimes I chuck it and start again.

So, where does it come from?

In the song In Your Shoes, for instance, the first line came as “You turn the radio on play your favorite song and cry” and I had no idea where it came from. Then I was thinking about when I was a teenager, I was picked on and bullied a lot, and I ran to music. I remember so many afternoons coming home from school and putting on my headphones.

What was your inspiration for the album?

It’s about feeling the music and finding your way through and how do I create a story that’s unique to me. The past couple years, a bunch of huge changes in my life: I lost my dad, I separated from my management and record company of 24 years, and I’m separated from my husband as well. All those important male anchors that were profoundly influential in my life disappeared all at once. I look at this as a point where I can jump from and go in any direction. I think it’s reflected in the CD, but for me, I’m always looking for the silver lining.

What is that silver lining?

I lean towards happiness because I like the way it feels. My life is blessed, so it’s not hard for me to look for the positive and go towards that. I search out beauty everywhere I go – it feeds me. I think we don’t get to appreciate the light unless we’ve lived in the dark.

How do you do it with two kids?

They love it. I try to work my schedule around their school schedule, so they get summer off. They’ve been on tour with me. We go out finding pools, finding museums in the day.

What is one thing that you love most about this business?

Playing live. It’s a culmination of all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears. I love getting to be out there and perform it for people. There is an instant connection. It’s being part of something bigger than yourself.

Aren’t you tired?

Hell yeah! My voice is absolutely ragged. It’s tiring, but it’s a lot of fun. I warm up an hour and a half before I go on.

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