Artist and Musician Biographies


Here is a YouTube Mix of music by Sarah McLachlan.

In the mid-1990s, the fickle winds of American pop music shifted away from Seattle based grunge bands to introduce a new generation of alternative folk and pop rock that blew in from Canada like a crisp Alberta Clipper. Although women had been an integral part of rock history since its conception, the focus was now squarely placed on solo female artists, particularly the Canadian vocalist, Sarah McLachlan.

Born in Halifax in 1968, Sarah grew up playing a variety of instruments and taking voice lessons. In her teens she played in a new-wave band called October Game, and by the age of 17 was offered a record contract. Her strict parents insisted that she finish high school, but two years later she dropped out of the legendary Nova Scotia School of Design to pursue her career in music.

Her first album, Touch, was released in 1988 to critical and commercial success in Canada although it remained largely unrecognized in the United States. With its lilting vocals and ethereal musical qualities, Touch revealed the influence of the experimental German chanteuse, Kate Bush. With the release of her second album, Solace, Sarah's American cult star status was official.

But it was her 1994 breakthrough Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, featuring the melodiously moody ballads such as "Hold On" that helped her to earn her first Grammy nomination in 1995, and established her as one of the premier female artists of the time.

Multi-band festivals featuring the hardest rocking (male) groups of the time dominated the summer of 1996. In consideration of the high level of commercial success and critical attention so many women in music were now receiving, it occurred to Sarah that a tour featuring female artists was not only possible, but also necessary. Dubbed Lilith Fair, a name she appropriated from Hebrew Mythology (Lilith was Adam's feisty first wife who demanded equality but got dumped for Eve) the event coincided with her summer 1997 tour supporting the predominantly acoustic "Freedom Sessions."

Though many were quick to trivialize and poke fun at the all-female event, in spite of criticism (including the term "Vulvapalooza"), the festival was a monumental success. Over its three year span, Lilith Fair included many top pop folk performers like Jewel, Sheryl Crow, Tracy Chapman, Joan Osborne, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega, the Indigo Girls, and recently more musically diverse acts as Missy Elliott, Luscious Jackson, Lauryn Hill, and Queen Latifah.

Sarah McLachlan's romantically hopeful lyrics that address issues of relationships and personal demons coupled with her soothing celestial voice have matured over her twelve-year career, branding her one of the most accessible and meaningful voices in contemporary music.

Additionally impressive is the fact that she writes all of her own material. In 1997 Sarah married her long time drummer Ashwin Sood, and they started a family, but that didn't slow her down. In the same year she released her most successful album of her career Surfacing which contained the chart topping hits, "Building a Mystery," "Adia," and "Sweet Surrender." With the 1999 release of her fourth full-length album, Mirror Ball, she continues to dominate the genre of Pop and Alternative Folk Rock.

A current discography of music by Sarah McLachlan appears on AllMusic.

Page author: A.E.