[the sea of waking dreams]

McLachlan former roommate says the superstar needed songwriting help

By IAN BAILEY -- Canadian Press - November 10, 1998

VANCOUVER (CP) -- Sarah McLachlan's former roommate says the superstar needed help to overcome the "stumbling block" of her inexperience at songwriting.

Julianna Raeburn testified during a civil case Monday that musician Darryl Neudorf's role in the development of McLachlan's first album in 1988 was clear from the start.

"It was quickly understood that Darryl was writing songs with Sarah for the album," Raeburn testified Monday during the civil case being tried in B.C.  Supreme Court.

"I know that (McLachlan) didn't have any songs.  That seemed to be a stumbling block for her," said Raeburn, who was working in publicity for McLachlan's label, Nettwerk Productions, at the time.

Neudorf is suing McLachlan to win cash and credit for his help on the album Touch.

McLachlan's lawyer, Jennifer Conkie, objected that Raeburn's testimony seemed more hinged on hearsay than direct observation.

Raeburn testified that during 1987 and 1988 while the Toronto-based Neudorf was in Vancouver, he worked intently with the rookie performer at Nettwerk's office.

"They were not on the floor playing Scrabble," said Raeburn.

Neudorf claims he deserves more credit and money for the songs Vox, Steaming, Sad Clown and Strange World.

Touch sold more than 500,000 copies and launched a career that has made McLachlan one of North America's top female vocalists.

Court heard that to date, Neudorf has received about $3,385 for about four months of work on Touch.

On the album, McLachlan is credited for solo-writing all but two songs. Neudorf is thanked for "inspiration" and given credit for pre-production co-ordination and production assistance.

The ongoing trial, which entered its second week Monday, is to establish liability. If Neudorf wins, another trial would have to be held to determine how much money he was owed.

Halifax-born McLachlan, who has attended each day of the trial, had resettled in Vancouver to launch her career with Nettwerk.

She spent some time "couch surfing" while looking for her own place, and at one point, she shared a bachelor apartment with Raeburn.

"I remember everyone having high hopes for (McLachlan)," said Raeburn, now an associate manager with BMG Music Canada Inc.

Earlier Monday, Neudorf's lawyer urged the court to allow the testimony of Gerald Eskelin, a Grammy-nominated jazz conductor who has testified in cases involving Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.

McLachlan's lawyer wants Eskelin prevented from testifying, arguing his report on the case lacks objectivity and makes sweeping generalizations about the singer.

But Simpkin said Monday that Eskelin will be a crucial addition to evidence likely to include tapes showing the evolution of the songs.

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