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Sarah Ann McLachlan, OC, OBC (born January 28, 1968) is a Grammy-winning Canadian musician, singer and songwriter. She is known for the emotional sound of her ballads. Some of her most popular songs include "Angel", "Building a Mystery", "Adia", "Possession", "Fallen", "I Will Remember You", and "World on Fire". Her best-selling album to date is Surfacing, for which she won four Juno Awards and two Grammy Awards. In addition to her personal artistic efforts, she founded the Lilith Fair tour, which showcased female musicians in the late 1990s.
Sarah McLachlan was born on January 28, 1968, 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". Her high school
yearbook claimed 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 convinced her to finish her studies at the
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before embarking on a new life as
a recording artist, and McLachlan finally signed to Nettwerk two years
later before having written a single song.
The signing 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".
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. Rolling Stone Magazine has listed it as one of the top 100 best albums of all-time. In 1994, she was sued by Uwe Vandrei, an obsessed fan from Ottawa, Ontario, 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 in length in Canadian author Judith Fitzgerald's book, Building A Mystery: The Story of Sarah McLachlan & Lilith Fair. 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 Junos, 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. The McLachlan-founded 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.
On February 7, 1997, she married Ashwin Sood, her long-time drummer, in Negril, Jamaica. 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. However, she did release a live album in 1999, entitled Mirrorball, which produced the single "I Will Remember You." 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 modest amount of top 40 airplay when released as a single in 2000 and 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 25th 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. McLachlan lost her mother to cancer in December 2001, while McLachlan herself was pregnant. McLachlan gave birth to a daughter 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.
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. Although she has returned to touring, she has no current plans to resurrect Lilith Fair. 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 early 2005 McLachlan took part in a star-studded tsunami disaster relief telethon on NBC. On January 29 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. 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. 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 handwrote a letter, copies of which were sent to members of her fan club in late March 2006, stating that she was beginning work on a holiday album due to be released later that year. On July 29th, a press release announced McLachlan would be releasing a new album October 17 titled Wintersong on Arista Records. The first new studio recording since the 2003 release of Afterglow, the album includes 11 new recordings, featuring covers of Joni Mitchell’s “River” and John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", which she recorded with her outreach children and youth choir, and seasonal favorites interpreted by McLachlan with her signature style: “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. Included, also, is the title track, an original work of McLachlan's. Wintersong debuted at No. 42 on the Billboard 200 album chart the week ending November 4, 2006. It has peaked at #7 and has sold 759,162 copies in the US to date. For the week of December 5, 2006, it was the #1 album on iTunes. 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. It did not win either.
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.
In November of 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 receiving serious rumours of an Oscar nomination for the song, but in the end they did not follow through. 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.McLachlan has collaborated on two tracks since she retired from the spotlight after Wintersong. In early 2007, she added her voice to Dave Stewart's Go Green, alongside Nadirah X, Imogen Heap, Natalie Imbruglia, and others. McLachlan is also expected to appear on Annie Lennox's forthcoming 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 and KT Tunstall, Sarah will lend her voice to the track Sing. McLachlan stated in an interview with Billboard on October 18, 2006, that she has written one song, and starting in the new year, she'll focus more on writing a new album. On June 22, 2007, she gave birth to her second daughter, Taja Summer Sood, in Vancouver. SonyBMG are expected to release a comprehensive Sarah McLachlan greatest hits collection in September-October 2007, featuring hit singles lifted from all five of her official studio albums for the company. It is unknown, as yet, if the release will be released worldwide or only in certain territories, such as Europe.
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