Taken from USA TODAY, June 6, 1997:

A chat with the artist

Taking a break from studio time in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sarah McLachlan spoke with USA TODAY Online in a phone interview. Here's what she had to say about music, lyrics and being in the mainstream:

Q: Your music isn't "mainstream," but Fumbling Towards Ecstasy has been on Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Chart for almost 140 weeks. How do you account for the success?

A: "It's amazing isn't it? I don't know. . . . it just happened."

Q: Considering the wide success of Fumbling, are there any commercial pressures or expectations for the new album?

A: "No commercial expectations . . . they didn't even ask for a demo. The only expectations were self-imposed expectations... (for Surfacing) to be as good as or better than Fumbling. I'm happy if this record is the best it can be. If I think it's good."

Q: When writing a song, what comes first the music or the lyrics?

A: "They both come at the same time . . . (but) I have so many little parts of songs here and there. I have a hard time putting them together."

Q: It's been said that writing music is like using one's self as a receiver and tuning into some great transmitter sending songs out to the universe. Would you agree?

A: "I would agree. Writing music is very powerful. There are times when you feel part of a higher power, but not always. I wish it were like that all the time. It would make my job a lot easier."

Q: What inspired the song Dear God?

A: "The word god describes many things . . . we are a part of God, plants are a part of God. . . we are equal."

Q: What inspired the song Fear?

A: "I don't like to discuss what the inspirations are. . . it's more important what they mean to you."

Q: What instruments do you play?

A: "Just guitar and piano... and my voice."

Q: Who are your favorite artists today?

A: "Ricki Lee Jones, Willie Nelson, Tori Amos and Peter Gabriel."

Q: What do you say to the people who say you're a mixture of Kate Bush and Tori Amos?

A: "They're crazy! If that's a good comparison, that's OK."

Q: What artists influenced you growing up?

A: "Simon and Garfunkel, and Joan Baez in the early years, after 16 it was Peter Gabriel."

Q: Do you ever go on the Internet and look for Web sites about you?

A: "I've been on once, at a friend's (home)."

Q: Did you know that there are more than 30 sites dedicated to you on the Web?

A: "Really! No!"

Q: What do you think about the Internet, will it be useful to music in the future?

"The Internet is a fantastic tool, it brings so many people together. But it also brings pedophiles to chat with six-year-old children. It has its bad points."

By David M. Deal, USA TODAY Online

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