With over 30 years in the recording industry, Sarah McLachlan is a multi-platinum singer and songwriter best known for her intimate vocals and relatable lyrics. Canadian-born, this Grammy and Juno Award winning artist has sold over 40 million albums throughout her career and was recently inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
McLachlan was instantly drawn to music as a child and honed her skills by studying voice, classical piano and guitar. At just 17 years old, McLachlan was discovered by Nettwerk Records while heading a New Wave band. With her reluctant parents asking her to focus on school, she waited two years before signing with Nettwerk. With a deal in place, McLachlan packed her bags, moved to Vancouver and began writing music for her first album, Touch, which was released in 1989.
Her sophomore release, Solace, went gold and solidified her as a rising star in Canada. With two successful albums under her belt, McLachlan began penning the lyrics for Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, which contained the haunting single “Possession”. An immediate hit in Canada, the album became her breakthrough release in the United States making it onto the contemporary charts.
McLachlan’s next album Surfacing was released in 1997 and became her best-selling release to-date. Surfacing peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and went eight-times platinum in the U.S. The album won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance for “Building a Mystery” and another for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for “Last Dance”. Surfacing also provided McLachlan with four Juno Awards in her native Canada.
In 1997 McLachlan also founded the Lilith Fair tour, showcasing female artists and bringing over 2 million people together during its three-year run. Lilith Fair raised more than $7 million for women’s charities and helped launch the careers of numerous women performers. The festival was the most successful all-female music event and was the top-grossing touring festival at that time.
Her prominent role in Lilith Fair also led to several highly-regarded recognitions for McLachlan. In 1998, she was awarded the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Visionary Award from New York’s Governor George Pataki for furthering the careers of women in music. McLachlan was then awarded the highest honor a Canadian citizen can receive by being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999. Presented by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, the appointment was in recognition of her successful career, her role in Lilith Fair and the charitable contributions she made to women’s shelters across Canada.
In the summer of 1999 McLachlan released Mirrorball featuring live performances of hit songs from her previous two albums. The four-time platinum selling album earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Album and won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “I Will Remember You”.
In 2001, McLachlan was bestowed another honor by being appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the Province’s highest recognition, for excellence and lifetime achievement, was given to her for her dedication to bettering the lives of her fellow citizens.
While taking a break from recording, McLachlan continued her philanthropic efforts by laying the groundwork for a non-profit music education program in Vancouver. When she first envisioned a music school at no cost, she knew that in order for her vision to thrive, she would have to think outside the box. The Sarah McLachlan School of Music officially opened its doors in 2002 with a mission to provide top quality music instruction at no cost, in a safe and nurturing environment, for at-risk and underserved children and youth. The School reaches hundreds of young people every year, providing them with the space and the tools they need to express themselves and it offers a secure, inspiring place to learn, practice, and ultimately connect with others and with themselves.
Returning to the studio in 2003, McLachlan burst back into the spotlight with Afterglow. Reaching double-platinum, Afterglow featured hit singles “Fallen”, “World on Fire” and “Stupid”.
Changing directions in 2006, McLachlan released her first Christmas album Wintersong. Filled with timeless tracks, the album rose to the #7 position on the Billboard 200 album chart and claimed the #1 spot on iTunes.
In 2010, McLachlan released her first studio album of all original material for the first time in nearly seven years titled Laws of Illusion. Produced by her longtime collaborator Pierre Marchand, the album featured 12 new songs and debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200. The album featured the single “One Dream” which became the official theme song of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. McLachlan then went on to perform her hit “Ordinary Miracle” at the opening ceremony of the Olympics in her home city of Vancouver in front of an estimated 3 billion television viewers worldwide.
In 2014 McLachlan released her seventh studio album, Shine On, for which she received her tenth Juno Award for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year. Shine On explores her personal journey over the previous few years of navigating love, loss and change and itcelebrates the human ability to grow from our experiences, thrive and shine on.
In the spring of 2015 McLachlan was the recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Achievement, which salutes Canadians who have contributed their voice and vision to the country and whose excellence has earned national and international acclaim.
McLachlan’s latest release, for which she recently received a Juno Award for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year, is her 2016 Christmas album Wonderland. Wonderland contains fresh and inspired interpretations of 13 traditional and contemporary holiday classics.