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Marissa Larouche-Smart

by Archives November 5, 2003

Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan thought her multi-platinum album Surfacing was crap, but her new album Afterglow, to be released Nov. 4, has her stamp of approval.

“I’m so excited about this album, I love every song […] when Surfacing came out, I thought they were all crap, except for ‘Angel.'” She laughed as she explained a friend enjoys reminding her of those comments. Surfacing, released in 1997, went multi-platinum and won two Grammys.

McLachlan chatted with host Sonia Benezra after a solo, goose bump-raising performance of ‘Fallen’ at the MusiMax studios on October 28. She also performed old favorites, ‘Angel’ and ‘Building a Mystery,’ for the silent audience.

McLachlan received a warm welcome when she arrived at the studio. Once the crowd piped down and the “I love you Sarah’s” ceased, Benezra told the crowd that “Sarah is the only artist, throughout my whole career, that has sent me Christmas cards EVERY year!”

She looked like she was at home, sitting half cross-legged and with one arm hugging the couch. She told Benezra about her hectic promotional schedule while the camera crew set up for the interview. “I’ve had two nights of five hours of sleep. I’m usually in bed by 9:30!”

McLachlan took a five-year break since the release of Surfacing. Her mother died of cancer almost two years ago and she gave birth to her daughter, India, six months later. “Becoming a mother, I now know what I put her through. I wish I could say I’m sorry.” She spent the last 18 months with her mom and went to every doctor’s appointment with her.

It’s the bitter taste of losing everything I’ve held so dear. Although these lyrics, from the first single ‘Fallen,’ seem to be inspired by her loss, most of the songs on Afterglow were written eight to ten years ago. The album was almost finished before India’s birth, but she walked away from music for a while.

“It was such a struggle to finish the album.” India was colic for five months, “She was crying, I was crying…”

The only song written after India’s birth is ‘Push:’ a love song for her husband and drummer, Ashwin Sood. “He was much deserving of a love song for putting up with me!”

The singer-songwriter admitted feeling insecure about her fans’ reaction to Afterglow. “It’s been a while, I wondered if people would remember me.”

McLachlan accepted a gift for her daughter and flowers from audience members. Although she worried if fans would remember her, she notices them. “I see the same faces coming to the shows. It’s great.”

McLachlan momentarily lost her easy-going demeanor and squirmed slightly when Benezra asked about the significance of her emotionally charged melodies. “These are tough questions!” Her existential lyrics are insightful and occasionally self-deprecating. She said that it does not represent her usual state of mind. Her songwriting process is inspired by personal and by friends’ experiences but she adds “There’s some fiction as well.”

McLachlan shared how she, Shood and India spend their days at home in Vancouver. “India takes a nap around 9:30 a.m., I walk around the garden in my bathrobe and we are addicted to 24 on DVD. Keifer Sutherland is so foxy!”

The Afterglow tour kicks off in the summer of 2004. Judging by the standing ovation the crowd gave her, Sarah McLachlan was greatly missed during her absence.

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