Fishman Artist // Sarah McLachlanSince her signing with Arista Records nearly two decades ago, every one of Sarah McLachlan’s studio and live albums has been certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum by the RIAA. Touch (1988) and Solace (1991) were both gold sellers. Her 1994 breakthrough, the 3X-platinum Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, was followed by the digitally enhanced multimedia version of The Freedom Sessions (1995, gold).
“I remember being $400,000 in debt and thinking, halfway through that record (laughs), ‘Okay, the record company is going to send me home because I’m just costing them so much money.’
“But I toured for 22 months on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, going back over and over to all these cities. And every time it would be, y’know, 100 people, then 300 people, then 600 people. It was just a gentle growing thing—it didn’t happen overnight, and I’m so grateful that it wasn’t this big overnight success.”
Sarah’s landmark fifth album, the 10X-platinum Surfacing (1997), contained two Grammy Award-winning tracks: “Building a Mystery” won for Best Female Pop Vocal and “Last Dance” was voted Best Pop Instrumental. In 1998, the soundtrack of the Wim Wenders film City of Angels reached Number One on the Billboard chart. Featuring the Sarah McLachlan track “Angel,” the City of Angels soundtrack achieved 4X platinum sales status.
The 1999 Lilith Fair tour gave rise to Sarah’s 4X-platinum album Mirrorball and its platinum long-form video counterpart. “I Will Remember You,” a track from Mirrorball, earned Sarah her third career Grammy Award, for Best Female Pop Vocal (1999).
“Up until that point, I had managed to live my career rather quietly. I wasn’t in the tabloids—I still am not for the most part, thankfully. It was Lilith Fair that catapulted me into a different stratosphere as far as the media frenzy and public knowledge.
“And really, at the time, it seemed like ‘Okay, this feels right, I can manage this now’—whereas if that had happened six or seven years previous, I don’t think I would have been anywhere near ready. But because I was able to live my career quietly and have small successes and get used to things in that way, I think I was kind of ready for it.”
Afterglow, released in 2003, reached 2X-platinum status and received two Grammy Award nomina¬tions: Best Pop Vocal Album and (for the opening track “Fallen”) Best Female Pop Vocal.
In September 2004, Sarah McLachlan released the socially charged video "World On Fire," directed by Sophie Muller. The video made what Jon Pareles, writing in the New York Times, called “a modestly brilliant gesture: it stacks up budget items for a typical clip against what the same $150,000 budget would buy as relief efforts—cattle, bicycles, housing, education, medicine…The contrast between show-business splurges and practical aid is startling.”
“World On Fire,” a Grammy nominee for Best Short Form Music Video, cost only $15 to make—the price of a Sony mini DV tape. The remainder of the $150,000 video budget was distributed among eleven charitable organizations around the world including CARE, Engineers Without Borders, Help The Aged, Warchild, and Heifer International.
Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow tour opened March 12, 2005 in Wellington, New Zealand and continued with dates throughout Australia, Canada, and the US—including a May 24 concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden The tour concluded June 12, 2005 with a gala perform¬ance in Sarah’s hometown of Vancouver, BC.
In October 2006, Sarah released Wintersong, her first album of holiday-themed songs. Among the highlights of this twelve-song set: “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon & Yoko Ono, “Song For A Winter's Night” by Gordon Lightfoot, “River” by Joni Mitchell, and the all-time seasonal favorites “I'll Be Home For Christmas” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Produced, engineered, and mixed by Pierre Marchand, the platinum-selling Wintersong reached No. 7 on the Billboard chart. The disc was nominated for both a Grammy Award (for Best Tradi¬tional Pop Vocal Album) and a Juno Award (for Pop Album of the Year).
Sarah’s many cover songs and collaborations formed the repertoire for Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff Volume 2, released April 29, 2008. The album includes her soulful interpretations of the pop classic “Unchained Melody” and Lennon/McCartney’s “Blackbird” (from the I Am Sam soundtrack), as well as powerful live renditions of her own compositions “Angel” and “Pills.”
On October 7, 2008, the artist celebrated the 20th anniversary of her multi-platinum record¬ing career with the release of Closer: The Best Of Sarah McLachlan. For her first career anthology, Closer Sarah personally selected thirteen classic tracks from her award-winning catalog and also included two newly recorded and previ¬ously unreleased songs, “You Want Me” and “Don't Give Up.” Closer entered the Billboard chart at No. 11, Sarah’s fifth album to reach the Billboard Top 15.
“I never have set goals, in the sense that I expected to be successful or get to a certain place. My idea of success has always been, does it feel right? Does it feel good to me? Do I enjoy doing it? And somehow miraculously, I’ve been able to follow that path and have a great success at it.
“So this whole career, the life that I have, the opportunities that I’ve been given—it all comes as unexpected. Every day I pinch myself, you know? I can’t believe all this has happened to me.”