Toronto Star June 25, 1997 Section D (Entertainment), page D1

McLachlan resurfaces

Vancouver singer heads into summer with female-friendly music festival, new album release and high expectations on her shoulders

Pop Music Critic

If summer time is supposed to be when the living is easy, someone forgot to tell Sarah McLachlan.

Next week the Vancouver singer launches the much discussed Lilith Fair tour with its rotating lineup of female artists. On July 15, Surfacing, her long-awaited followup to 1994’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, hits the stores with mega-high expectations attached.

If McLachlan wasn’t a household name before now she soon will be, an ironic outcome since, by her own admission, she’s had trouble dealing with her growing popularity. In fact, finding an outlet to share those difficulties was one of the reasons she conceived Lilith Fair, in addition to wanting to offer an alternative to male-dominated summer tours. Jewel, Shawn Colvin, Indigo Girls are included in the Toronto lineup Aug. 15 and 16 at the Molson Amphitheatre.

"I want to try and create a sense of community that I don’t think exists within the sisterhood of new music," says McLachlan on the line last week from Vancouver. She’s in Toronto tonight for an appearance on MuchMusic’s Intimate and Interactive at 9 p.m.

The emphasis people put on celebrities is perverse"

"I want to meet these women. I want to meet my peers. I’ve met a lot of men in the music industry, you can only get so far in dealing with the fame thing. They’ve got their thing and they’re not women. And innately, as women, walking down the street at night, you don’t do it. It’s different for us. Maybe I’m going to get in [expletive] for saying this but I think it is."

McLachlan mentions "Possession," a hit song from Fumbling inspired by a rabid fan who wrote her menacing letters but eventually killed himself.

"Every woman, whether journalist, or radio announcer, whatever, I’d ask well has this ever happened to you. 'Oh yes, I get threatening letters all the time.' This should be talked about. Fame is a really [expletive] up thing. The emphasis people put on celebrities is really perverse."

It may explain why the Halifax-born 29-year-old goes into seclusion to write songs. For Surfacing, she headed to Quebec to a tiny cabin in the mountains free of distractions – something McLachlan says she’s highly susceptible to.

"Give me a distraction, and, boy, I’ll take it."

She spent eight months there – with a nine-day timeout to elope with her drummer, Ashwin Sood, in Jamaica last February – but after weeks of attempts she grew frustrated with the songwriting process.

"I was writing this horrible victim [expletive] whine, whine, whine. I needed to do that to realize, ‘Wow I got to get out of this.’" She was able to exorcize her demons with the help of a polarity therapist, "who does massage and talks to you about your problems. The whole world should have one," she says, excitedly. "She’d feel your stomach and she knows exactly what’s going on in your mind."

McLachlan’s personal chronicles are sometimes a challenge to follow, partly for fear of revealing too much. She alludes to a broken heart (pre-marriage) with a musician no longer in her band, and of other things more mysterious and without elaboration.

While on the road touring Fumbling she found she could stuff down her feelings. McLachlan says her lyrics on Surfacing are more personal as a result of her "walls coming down."

Thanks to Dave Drew from the mailing list for typing this in.

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