June 9, 2010 at 9:00 am , by Lisa M. Gerry
Sarah McLachlan is back in a big way. On June 15, the three-time Grammy winner is releasing her first album in seven years, The Laws of Illusion. And on June 27—after more than 10 years—she’s re-launching the legendary, lady-power concert series, Lilith Fair. We talked about how she juggles being a single mom, a singer/songwriter, a trailblazer and a humanitarian.
This is your first studio album in seven years. What inspired you to make it now?
I’ve been working on it for a long time, but I have two small kids [India Ann Sushil, 8 and Taja Summer, 3], so that majorly slows down the process. (Laughs) I have about 15 minutes in the morning to write, which is not ideal. So, for the last couple of years, I took time to just be at home, spend time with my kids, work when I feel like it—and sort of have a normal life. It’s been luxurious.
Why the title The Laws of Illusion?
I was thinking about the fairytale that we buy into as children—the white-picket fence and the happily ever after. You buy into it, and most times, it turns out to be false. Obviously, it has a lot to do with the demise of my marriage [McLachlan separated from her husband, and drummer in her band, Ashwin Sood, in 2008] and all of the emotions that comes with that—anger, loss, and then, the fresh possibility of something new. There’s always hope.
When you started Lilith Fair, what was your motivation?
It was simple. I’d done a couple of tours with other women and really enjoyed the experience. So, I thought, why don’t we all do something together and it can be a communal thing. We did four shows in 1996, and we thought, this is so much fun, let’s do a full summer of it. We got a lot of promoters who said, “You can’t put two women in the same bill, people won’t come!” Well, that of course was fuel for the fire. But mostly it was the desire to make music, to have fun and to be part of a community of women that hadn’t really existed in the past.
There’s such a wide range of performers this year, from The Indigo Girls to Selena Gomez, how important was it for you to have diversity in the acts?
It was absolutely a conscious effort to get some youngsters, like Selena Gomez. A lot of young adults don’t even remember what Lillith was. So there’s a whole new world of music now and a whole new audience.
In years past, Lilith Fair has raised more than $10 million for women’s charities. How important is the charitable component to you?
We not only give money, but we create awareness for a lot of different organizations. If you have that platform, how can you not use it to its fullest potential?
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