Photo Credit: Courtesy of MSO

By Paul Freeman

Between 1997 and 1999, Lilith Fair drew over 2 million fans in attendance and raised more than $10 million dollars for national and local womenís charities. The celebration of women in music was Sarah McLachlanís baby. And the time has come for a rebirth.

ďWe actually decided late 2008 to bring back the Lilith Fair in 2010,Ē McLachlan said. ďThatís how long it takes to get the ball rolling. Also I was putting out a new record, so it seemed like a good time to bring it back.Ē

ďLaws of Illusion,Ē her first studio album of new material in seven years, is well worth the wait.

ďI have been quiet, relatively quiet for quite a long while. I did put out a Greatest Hits and a Christmas record, but I havenít toured with a band for a long time. And, to me thatís really where I shine. I love playing live.Ē

The album again teamed McLachlan with her longtime producer, Pierre Marchand. ďI have worked with him for almost 20 years, and we have a great friendship, and it was really easy to open up to him. He split up with his partner a couple of years before me and they have two kids. And so he had a lot of sage advice, and, you know, he is 10 years older than me. heís a wonderful human being. And heís got a great relationship with his ex and, you know, he was a really good role model for me in that.Ē

ďHeís just a wonderful guy so, yeah, there was a real comfort zone there. And we recorded in a very different way than we usually do. We went live off the floor with a lot of the tracks. We got a bunch of great musicians in the room.

ďI gave him the chord chart and said, ĎOkay, go record.í And it was really, really exciting. We got six songs done in five days, and, again, you know, very different from the usual process of slowly, and methodically recording bit by bit, and building a song that way.

ďSo the energy that was created from those sessions was very different. It really encouraged, and inspired us to move forward quickly and, you know, we had the constraints of trying to get the record done for the time the tour was starting, which I really wanted to do.

ďI really wanted to have a new record out for this tour, so it was kind of nice to have that deadline, because it pushed us a little bit. And, you know, he lives in Montreal, I live in Vancouver. And we both have two kids and, you know, busy lives so trying to figure out whoís going to come out was tricky.

ďSo it was really, it was a fun record to make. It was quick, and I think everybody assumes because there is some heavy subject matter on there that it was really a difficult record to make. It was a joy to make this record. It was fun and quite easy, and really exciting to work with great musicians, and to, you know, to move through it quickly.

Again, with this album, McLachlan delves honestly into a wealth of emotions. ďThatís kind of what I do as an artist. I want to connect with people on a really human, visceral, emotional level.

ďAnd, you know, what I choose to reveal on my records is I'm very comfortable with that Getting to sing those songs in front of people, whether itís a large audience or a small audience, its exciting. Because just judging from the feedback, the few people I get to talk to, they connect to my songs on a really personal level. I am just basically writing about emotions. Simple things that we all go through in some form or another.

ďSo I guess thatís why other people connect with it and thatís a big point of making music. You know, it is a selfish act at first for me to write these songs, but itís such a joy to able to put them out there to the world, and have other people I donít even know connect with them. And have something I have created move people I donít even know. Itís great validation as an artist, and as a human being as well.Ē

At Lilith, sheíll perform selections from ďLaws of Illusion,Ē as well as classic McLachlan material.

ďThe only time I planned to tour is summer so wouldnít it be great if it was Lilith, because it just kind of seemed like perfect timing. And I didnít really think about the fact that I had no idea what kind of record I was going to write. I never do. I donít start out with any preconceived notions. I just write what comes out.

And it certainly didnít bother me that it was a very personal record, and quite frankly, I understand that I'm headlining a festival, which means I am playing at the very end of a very long day of music. People donít want to hear new material. They want to hear the songs that they know, and love, and I am very aware of that. I'm going to play probably four songs tops from the new record. I am probably going to rotate them.Ē

Of the vintage McLachlan songs, ďAngelĒ is one of her favorites. ďI just get high every time I sing it. Maybe itís because so many other people connect with it. One of the greatest joys of singing live is that feeling that you are entering into other peopleís universes, and being with them in this real ethereal place.

ďAnd I feel like that song really connects with a lot of people, and I really connect with it too. So singing it and being part of that energy is really powerful.Ē

A favorite among the new tunes? ďI havenít played a lot of the new songs in front of an audience yet. So I think for me right now, ďForgiveness.Ē Iíve played that a few times just doing some TV stuff, and I love singing that song. Itís really powerful for me. Good heartbreak song. Itís my Yíall Done Me Wrong country song. Iím making light of it, but thatís sort of where it came from. It was a country song, and I wrote that chorus about six or seven years ago. And I had nowhere to put it. I didnít know what to do with it, because it seemed like a country song and I just I finished it for this record. All of a sudden it kind of made sense to me.Ē

Having recently split from husband/drummer Ashwin Sood, McLachlan is now a single mom with two daughters, Taja and India.

If a young female musician asked McLachlan about dating a band member, how would she respond?

ďHonestly, I am loathe to give advice to anybody about anything. I always have been. I guess my only advice would be just to follow your heart, and make sure you are doing the right thing. But, you know, people are going to make mistakes. Some of the worst mistakes are the biggest learning tools in our lives.

ďYou know, not that Iím going to say: ďHey, jump in with both feet.Ē It depends on the situation, but, you know, honestly most people arenít going to ask me for that kind of advice. If thereís anything Iíve learned about love and relationships, people do exactly what they want, no matter what people tell them.Ē

The resilient McLachlan bounced back from the trauma of her marriage ending. ďI suppose there was a time when I sort of felt a little sorry for myself and thought that, you know, at the time it was like ĎIím 40. Iíd just turned 40 and I got two small kids.í You know, thatís a tricky place to be in, but, you know, I have a really full, fantastic life.

ďIíve great friends, great family, and Iím happily single right now. I kind of couldnít imagine being involved in a new relationship right now. I have just got too much going on. And you know what, itíll happen when it happens, and Iím not really - Iím not searching our for it, because I just got - my lifeís really full. So if it happens, great. If not, thatís okay too.Ē

Working on the ďLaws of IllusionĒ helped McLachlan sort through her own lost illusions and define a new reality.

The irresistible ďLoving You Is EasyĒ contains the lyric, ďIím alive and Iím on fire.Ē ďItís very much a mantra. Itís one of those things you say over and over and start to believe it. Itís kind of like I need to have more fun, F-U-N. I get that a lot too. And itís really liberating to sing a line like that, because thatís kind of how I felt, and it just felt so good to be able to declare that to the world. Itís very much like Iím back and I feel great. I don't feel small anymore. IItís just nice to be back in the world and feeling good about myself.

ďSongwriting is very cathartic for me and it is very much a process of sort of sorting through a lot of my emotions, and not that I ever discover any great answers. Itís sort of like, you know, two steps forward and one step back. But it is sort of a process of working through emotions for me definitely.

ďI went through a pretty crazy, tumultuous time the last couple of years and came out stronger for it. I mean, thatís the thing. A change is really painful, but itís also where the biggest growth usually occurs.

The Lilith Fairís first incarnation helped the market for female singer-songwriters to grow. ďI think that we did definitely helped to change some old school attitudes that you couldnít put women back to back on the radio; that you couldnít put women together on the stage, that people wouldnít come,Ē McLachlan said. ďThat was an old fallacy and we blew that apart, and helped to let the industry know that women were, in fact, a powerhouse.

ďIs there still inequality? Yes. Is it perhaps a little less of an issue? Maybe, depending on the kind of music that you choose to make. Again, I think it comes down to an individual, and what kind of music they create. I mean there are some artists, some female artists out there who are, in my mind, especially some younger artists, pretty powered by a big male marketing machine.

ďThat being said, I think a lot of women are taking power into their own hands and being able to create the kind of music they want to make and doing it on their own terms. So I think, you know, but everybody suffers. The music industry, you know, and itís not just for women across the board the music industry has changed a lot.

ďI think all artists are sort of struggling to find their own voice. Yet, you know, in some ways you could say things have opened up because with the internet thereís a lot of new ways, you know. One door closes, another one opens with the internet. Itís just a matter of finding new ways to get your music out there.Ē

McLachlan has again assembled a fantastic artist roster for the new edition of Lilith. ďWe basically had the same mandate as last time, which was to ask all the artists from different genres of music that we liked, that we thought were interesting, and that had an important voice. Those were well-established artists, as well as up-and-coming artists. And we were very lucky that we got a great cross-section of artists that said yes this time.

ďOur approach and mandate remain identical. We asked every artist from all different genres of music. You know, the first year round, we were dubbed the white chick festival, which was extremely frustrating. it was a title that we had to continually fight against, and it was never planned that way. Itís just simply we got who said yes. So I'm very, very excited about the lineup this year. I think we really had an amazing opportunity to draw from all the artists who were there last time who remembered it. And thereís a wealth of great new artists out there who, perhaps, remembered it. You know, Colbie [Caillat] says she was 12 when she went to see the last show, and now itís full circle. She gets to come and be part of it which is, you know, such an awesome success story.

ďWeíve got a lot of great artists from different genres of music out this time, and Iím very excited about it.Ē

Even with topnotch artists, itís not easy for festivals to fill large venues these days. Lilith has had to cancel several dates.

ďWeíre certainly weíre going into a very tough climate,Ē McLachlan said, ďand I donít think we necessarily knew that was going to happen going in. I donít know how we would have reacted differently. Weíre just trying to make the best of the situation.

ďWeíre working hard to keep our ticket prices really low so lots of people have an opportunity to come. People are holding onto their money. I think theyíre waiting to see what the weatherís going to be like. Weíre praying to the weather gods. I'm convinced that if you put together a really good musical show, and you put at a good ticket price, people will come. I mean, you know, look at the tours like The Eagles and, you know, I love The Eagles, but, man, they gouge people. The tickets are perversely expensive. And now theyíre doing three-for-one's. You know and, you know, its always until hell freezes over, they are never coming back. And oh look, theyíre back again.

ďWeíre putting on a really great musical show and I think people still do want to see live music. So Iím hopeful. For the people who are going to come, itís going to be a fantastic experience.Ē

ďI'm a real optimist, and, you know, we may not make a ton of money. We probably wonít. But, honestly, itís not so much about that anyway. You know, I just want to put on a really good musical show, and itís certainly not, oh, we are not selling a lot of tickets, weíre going to pull the plug. Weíre not going to do that.Ē

The performers enjoy the experience as much as the audience members. McLachlan said, ďWhat I loved best about Lilith was that sense of community that was created, that we were all sort of hurtling along in our parallel universes doing our crazy jobs that we have. and very seldom getting to connect as human beings, as women, as artists, for any real chunk of time.

ďWith Lilith, thereís a lot of talking, a lot of getting to play together, and just being part of the same energy. Very positive, very supportive. That has been one of the highlights for me, was getting to play with other people.

ďObviously, the more collaborations, the better. The idea that we get to hang out together and learn from each other, it was incredibly inspiring. It was beneficial for us as artists and beneficial for the audience, as well. We all got to be part of something that was bigger than ourselves. It was almost like a happening. It wasnít just a music show. There was a lot more to it. My inspiration as a human being and being part of something bigger than myself certainly blossomed. And feeling really full of good energy and love and sisterhood. I know that sounds corny, but you carry that with you.

ďAnd, you know, a lot of the artists that I spent time with all those years ago, weíd meet each other again, and thereís this instant connection. You know, being sort of - I hate to call it a sorority but, you know, part of the sisterhood where itís like, you know, we can instantly connect again.

ďI saw Emmylou Harris a couple of weeks ago, and she was one of the first ones, and it was just so wonderful to see her again after a number of years and reconnect. And so Iím really - Iím looking forward to, you know, new friendships, and also just reconnecting with a lot of people that were there last time.Ē

The Lilith Fair concept actually appeals to a very diverse audience, but much is made of its popularity in the lesbian community.

McLachlan said, ďI have a pretty large gay and lesbian following. You know I donít actively court gay and lesbian, and straight people; I just actively court people who like my music. I am so sick of the titles that we put on people, you know, gay, straight.

ďWeíre just human beings and I am aware in some respects itís still necessary. Itís a label, but its also a definition and I would I look so look forward to the time in our world when we are all just human beings and we donít need to be defined in those ways or marginalized.Ē

Thereís talk about Lilith expanding beyond North America, into Australia, the U.K. and Asia. Canadian-born McLachlan is pragmatic, but excited about the prospect.

ďYes, absolutely. That being said. itís a tricky scenario particularly right now with the market being what it is. And the fact that, one of the ways that we initially sold Lilith was with promoters that I had had a previous relationship with. And then with some of the other artists that had previous relationships with those. Itís a little bit trickier going into other markets in the rest of the world, and also very, very costly. So that has to be, you know, carefully thought out.Ē

Using the internet to learn about regional perspectives, Lilith is spotlighting a local talent search winner and a local charity in each city.

McLachlan said. ďIt is great to be able to use the web to our advantage. We simply donít have the people power to go out and do all the research ourselves. So the idea of letting the communities choose the artists that they want to have open for them really works.

ďItís a great platform for young, developing talent. Not only do we want to bring a show with lots of very established artists, we really want to give young artists the opportunity to shine, as well, and to give someone local a chance to shine in their own community.Ē

In addition to local worthy causes, Lilith Fair benefits many national organizations, including the ASPCA.

ďWell, you know, I partnered with them three or four years ago. They asked me to do a PSA for them. Itís the first time they ever had, I guess, a well known person do it. And their response was massive. I think they raised about $30 million, which is insane, and I donít think any of us expected anything like that. So weíre bringing them along for some of the shows on Lilith as well. Iím a real advocate for people and creatures who donít have a voice of their own.

ďThereís a lot of animals out there who need loving homes, and I think thereís a lot of people out there whoíd really benefit from loving an animal. I love animals.Ē

Planned Parenthood is another beneficiary. McLachlan said, ďWe had Planned Parenthood out last time as well. I am very much pro-choice. We had some people picketing, and getting frustrated, and saying why couldnít pro-lifers come in? I canít remember where it was, but they came and said: ďWell, why canít we table?Ē But they asked like three weeks before the tour went out, and people get tabling eight months before the tour goes out. That all gets settled, and so then people came in very late in the game.

ďAnd, yes we are an inclusive festival. Yes, then there is a very big social element to it as well beyond the music, and because 11, 12, 13 years ago we were making quite a bit of money. And I have a moral and social responsibility as a human being to give back what I can. And, when we are working on a big level, as we were with the tour, that same attitude translated into more money, and I wanted to be able to give back.

ďWe donated ticket sales to a local womenís shelter. We are doing the same thing this time around. We also got corporate sponsors involved, and we got them to match the dollars they gave us to various charities.

ďWeíre starting an ethical fund this time around. Depending on how long Lilith runs, this fund will continue to hopefully grow and be able to - any proceeds that we make from any capital gains we get from it we give back to charity as well. So whether Lilith continues or not, the idea of giving will continue.


[1994 interview, as the album ďFumbling Towards EcstasyĒ was released]

By Paul Freeman

The album took six months to put it together?



More like seven. Mixing. And I wrote most of the songs in the studio, as well.

Is that beneficial to go in and develop the album as you go along, in the studio?

Yeah, it is. It allows the songs a lot of time to breathe. The way we record, we try a lot of things with different things with every song, taking them in tons of different directions. Itís nice to have that time to allow certain elements to come out and to show themselves to be better than the other possibilities.

Also, just to be away from everything I was used to The studioís in a beautiful place, in the middle of nowhere, in the mountains, the Laurentians [Quebec]. I couldnít write at home. So I decided to go there early. I couldnít wait to get out there

You had been trying to write at home and it just wasnít working?

Yeah, thereís just too many distractions. The phone rings and itís your friends wanting to go to the beach. And I had roommates that were sort of nine-to-fivers who came home and turned the TV on until they went to bed. And thereís only one room.

Is that still the case?

No, now I have four roommates. Well, theyíre my band. So thatís a different situation. Iím on the road for the next year, so I figured, ĎWell, I donít want to have to pay $800 a month rent, so Iíve just been crashing at a friendís place, basically.

This idea of finding solitude so you could, was this the first time you tried it?

Itís the first time Iíve ever been by myself for any period of time. Iíve always lived with family or had roommates. So it was a pretty amazing time. It was really hard at first. My brain was kind of eating itself. There was nobody to talk to. My words were just coming out and bouncing off the walls and hitting me in the face [ Laughs].

It took me about three months. And it was really, really cold, too. It was winter. It was -35 everyday. There was 10 feet of snow on the ground. Everything was sort of shut down. So I sort of took it that it was okay that I couldnít write anything. I just went with whatever was happening. I started painting instead, because I couldnít write. And that really helped, as far as just another form of expression.

When spring came, the snow started melting and everything started blossoming and I started writing songs. And that was the fist time, too, that I finally became okay with being there and not saying, ĎOh, I wish I were someplace elseí or ĎI would be happy if I were here.í I was happy then, at that time, which was was a really nice thing.í

Having that sort of surroundings, did that enable you to write songs that were more personal, to delve deeper?

I think, yeah, way deeper than Iíve ever gotten before, just because there was such solitude and no distractions. I sort of feel like, well, I could sit there for seven hours and get to a certain level... or I could sit there for two weeks and get way farther. But usually seven hours is the limit, because thereís so many other things happening. But there, there was nothing happening.

Is it sometimes scary, as far as how deep you are going to go, how much you want to reveal?

Well, as far as revealing things, the easiest way for me to get around that is to put myself into a character and, in a sense, hide behind that. I could be a lot more honest and allow myself a lot more personal freedom that way.

Then does it still have a therapeutic effect?

Oh, very much. Itís me trying to figure out stuff. It was interesting though, going that deep, because I found out a lot of things that I forgot. Like, i started remembering things from when I was a kid. And that was kind of wild, because I have a very bad memory. I canít remember a lot of stuff that happened. So that was really interesting. I started having these really wild flashbacks. .

What sorts of things did you recall?

[Laughs] Personal stuff.

One of the songs was inspired by a documentary?

Yes, ĎHold On.í It was a film called ĎA Promise Kept.í It was about this woman whose fiancť discovered that he was HIV-positive and it was the story of where their relationship went, from when they first met up until when he died. They took care of each other. Itís just a really amazing, tragic romance kind of stories. She was really an amazing woman. He was an amazing man. She goes to high schools across the country and tells the story, trying to make young people, especially, aware that this is not something that will just possibly happen to those people over there, or a certain kind of person. These are two clean-living, white, heterosexual people that got AIDS.

The way she was so strong, it really affected me and brought me out of a bit of a haze myself. And that song just sort of came out, the next two days. I couldnít stop thinking about it. Itís one of those times I think that I donít really feel responsible for it. Itís just sort of like a continuation of her message.

When you say brought you out of a haze, what do you mean?

Oh, well, just, ĎWow, this could really happen to me.í I was like the high school students, not realizing. I had been on the road for a year- and-a-half, living a completely cocooned existence. You donít read anything. You donít know whatís going on in the outside world. I mean, you do, but itís so far away from you.

In writing the song, did you make a conscious decision about whether you wanted to be specific about this particular case or whether you wanted to make it more general.

For me, I just always tend to write from an emotional point of view. The subject matter for me, is always very concrete. I know what itís about. But more than anything, that song is about someone is dying and someone else is getting left behind... and how are they dealing with that? So, for me, when I talk about it, itís about AIDS. But, for a lot of people, because itís ambiguous, they can maybe relate it to one of their parents dying or something like that.

I imagine youíve gotten strong response from listeners. What does that mean when you have that kind of connection? Is it enough just to create the music or do you seek that kind of validation?

No, for me, itís really a selfish thing. Well, except for that song, because it is more of a universal thing, when I donít feel responsible for it, when I feel like somebody else wrote it and just used me to get it out, you know? But I write the songs as myself, as a way of figuring out stuff. Yeah, therapy. So itís a bonus when other people like it. And even more so when other people actually take the song and embrace it and then say it reminds them of something that happened to them or whatever and they receive some sort of empathy from it. And a lot of people have said that, said the songs have helped them through things. So that gives me a real rush. Itís a good feeling.

What about the title track, was that a case where you found the phrase and liked it? Or did you see it immediately as a connective theme?

Well, the title of the album came separately. That song did not have a title. And it seemed perfectly appropriate to call it that, because it was one of the most positive songs on the record. And it definitely captured the whole idea of my making mistakes and floundering around, but Iím trying to find a place where I can be happy and peaceful, where I wonít fear my problems. Fearing love, I guess, is one of the main ones. Thereís a lot about fearing different things on this record. Thatís sort of the resolution. I mean, Iím not necessarily there. Pierre [producer Pierre Marchand] and I wrote that song together. He actually wrote the chorus - ĎI wonít fear loveí - and I wrote the verse parts and stuff.

So it was something he was going through really strongly at that time. But as far as the whole mood of it, it really fit.

Did the whole process of making this album help you get closer to that goal?

Oh, yeah, because, for me, all the stuff Iím singing about and writing about it is working towards not being afraid of giving myself. ĎFearí - I wrote that song. And thatís definitely the same thing, being terrified of giving yourself over to somebody else, because thereís so much at stake. All these songs, I try to give them a positive edge and I try to give them some sort of a resolve. In a perfect world, there would be a nice, happy resolve. And there isnít always.

A lot of times, people have these misconceptions about me, that Iím this totally spiritual, happy, fulfilled person. Because these songs have this positive edge. Well, Iím not necessarily there. iím working towards that. Iím as f--cked up as anybody else [Laughs].

Youíre now in a relationship with one of the band members? Can it be difficult to find balance in your life these days?

Iím at the point now that Iím where Iím dealing with so many people every day that it just starts to feel like, if I gave everybody everything they wanted from me, Iíd have absolutely nothing left at the end of the day. And a lot of times, I feel like that anyway. Because all day, youíre dealing with people who want something from you. It sounds kind of harsh. But they do, they want something, whether itís just to talk to you or whatever. Dealing with tons and tons of people, for me, is draining, even if theyíre really nice. And my frustration is, at the end of the day, I have nothing left to give to the people I really care about. I feel totally drained. And thatís hard on them, too.

You talk about giving up everything of yourself, the song ĎPossession,í did that come from a particular incident?

Yeah, back onto my rant, here. I got a bunch of letters from people, mostly really nice ones. But a couple from certain guys that were really over the top in their ideas about who I was and and who they were and I wrote the songs out of their head and we had to be together and I was betrothed to these guys before my birth and stuff like this. Just really, really intense letters. And theyíd be novels. And Iíd get one every week from these people. Theyíd keep me up to date on what they were doing and how they were coming for me soon. It was really frightening. I guess that was sort of my way of trying to understand where theyíre coming from, putting myself in their shoes and, in a naive sense, saving myself from the last verse, by saying, ĎIíd never act on anything, except in my dreams.í I donít know if thatís giving myself a false sense of reality. It sort of is, but at the same time, I feel that itís not resolved, but at least itís not something that I have to worry about every day. There was one guy in particular and I think he finally got the message, now that I took legal action.

Even without going to those extremes, it seems like there are too many fans getting too immersed in their idolsí lives.

Oh, yeah. Iíd like to talk to other people about this, because, society, itís like they put so much value on celebrities, people who are doing something they think they want to be doing. Itís like, Iím living a lot of these peopleís dreams. Iím a musician and Iím making a living at that and itís a very glamorous lifestyle in their eyes. For me, itís sad. Itís like, wow, I feel really bad that people have so little in their own lives that they need to build someone like me up to proportions that have nothing to do with me.

Iíve said it before, Iíll say it again - Iím as f--cked up as anybody else. And Iím very uncomfortable with being put up on that pedestal.

The fact that this is going on, does it make you want to hide yourself away?

Oh, yeah. Thereís been a couple of times, where I just went, ĎMy God, I donít know if I can handle this.í Because, now that Iím getting pretty successful in America, the sheer volume of people that I talk to now is overwhelming at times.

Do you think itís partly because the materialís so personal that they feel that youíre opening up to them?

Yeah, I know they feel that thereís this connection between us. And, in a vague sense, there is. All our ideas are up there, floating around somewhere. Thereís going to be a connection with anybody, anywhere. I guess my biggest frustration is, everybody says to me, ĎIím the only oneí or ĎItís only me. Thereís not a lineup of 300 people behind me that want a piece of you, as well. Iím the only one. Iím your biggest fan.í [Laughs] Itís like, yeah, you and everybody else.í

Had you ever been on the other end of that?

No. Gee, I never understood the concept of getting somebodyís autograph. And Iíve actually tried to ask people why, but it seems like they have this blind directive. They canít even talk to you in a sensible way, some of them. Like this one kid came up to me in a mall the other day and asked me for my autograph and said, ĎMy friends will never believe me.í I said, ĎNow why wouldnít your friends believe you?í And then my friend Crystal, bless her heart, said, ĎAre you such a pathological liar that your friends never believe you?í [Laughs] Sheís sick of it, because sheís out with me all the time. Sheís like, ĎJesus, you people, get a grip!í But he didnít even blink when she said it. This was his directive. He had to get an autograph from me. It wasnít open to discussion. Itís bizarre.

But sometimes it must make you feel special, that you can have that kind of impact.

Oh, yeah. On a good day, it does. It makes me feel really amazing that I can help people. My frustration, again, is that Iím not up all the time and I canít always be in a good mood. And I donít like that responsibility, because Iíve been in a really foul mood and someoneís come up to me - I did this once - she was the 10th person in an hour who asked me if I was Sarah McLachlan. And I said ĎNo,í and sort of smiled. And her face just dropped, like I ruined her day. I disappointed her. And she was like,íWow, what a bitch!í And she stomped off. And I just felt horrible. I didnít mean to upset her. I felt so bad. And then I thought, ĎWell, f--k. Iím not in a good mood. What am I supposed to do here?í So thatís my only frustration, that kind of thing.

Itís a responsibility you havenít asked for, basically.

Yeah. And most days, itís fine. Most days, I donít mind it at all. Itís just that now, itís every single day. And itís so many people every single day. Itís becoming kind of bizarre.

The World Vision project was another inspiration while working on this album?

Yeah, well, before I went into the studio, I went to Thailand and Cambodia with them for a month-and-a-half. We were shooting a documentary film. The focus was AIDS and prostitution and poverty. I guess they wanted to show where the money was going that people were giving them, the different kind of facilities. And also, using me as a spokesperson, I guess as someone who was more of my generation. Usually they had an older person in a business suit or whatever. They were hoping that younger kids would stay on the channel, because usually you donít want to see that stuff. You just turn the channel. They were hoping that more people would tune in.

But it was really an amazing experience. It certainly opened up my eyes to a lot of different realities that were out there. And it went onto the record in a lot of ways, because it changed my life so much, the way I wake up every morning and go, ĎWow, Iím really blessed.í

Here I am, doing nothing but bitching at you about how ungrateful I am, because people are bugging me [ Laughs]. Itís a drag, because I donít mean to sound ungrateful. But that experience really did make me feel blessed, for everything that Iíve taken for granted my whole life. And I still carry a lot of that with me.

And there was a poetry book that made an impact on you?

Oh, ĎLetters to A Young Poetí [by Rainer Maria Rilke]. Yeah, thatís been a mainstay in my collection. He just writes all this stuff that is in my brain, that I donít know how to say or get out or havenít even been able to put into thought yet. The way he wrote was just so incredibly beautiful. And the stuff that he said made a lot of sense to me. And I havenít even finished reading it yet. I still read the first five chapters over and over. [Laughs]. And thatís enough. Iím still figuring out that part of it.

What about the stuff that you write, do you keep poring over that? Does it surprise you sometimes, what comes out?

During the writing process, yeah. There are some songs that have taken me six months to write. Other songs have taken a couple hours or a couple days. And Iíve found that, if they come out of a place where Iím feeling really, really content and happy and peaceful, then I donít tend to edit them much. And a lot of the songs on the album turned out that way, just because I started writing after spring happened and I felt like I was complete for the first time in my life. And songs came out really easily at that point and I didnít feel that I really needed to edit them, even though now, in retrospect, not coming from such a highly positive or spiritual place, I will go, ĎOh, I donít know about that lineí or ĎThis line is kind of weird.í But I wonít change it now.

So the creativity doesnít have to be borne of pain, in other words.

Not anymore, no. And that was a really nice thing to know, that I didnít have to work myself up into some sort of tormented fervor to write music [Laughs]. Because sometimes, it wasnít fun. Iím basically, a fairly happy person and ĎOkay, Iíve got to write a song. Oh, shit. Okay, I guess I have to think of something horrible and dwell on that.í But usually things just presented themselves to me, though, if I just let them, if I waited and was patient.

There are a lot of writers who believe that actually have to exist in a state of pain to make anything happen, creatively.

Well, it helps. Iíve gotten, I think, a lot of my best stuff out of pain. But, for me, the unfortunate thing about pain is, when Iím in it, I tend to be self-indulgent, as well, and play the victim. Whereas, when Iím outside of it, talking about pain or anything else, but from a good place, I find Iím a lot more objective and I donít tend to play the victim. Itís sort of outside of myself.

ĎThe Ice Cream Songí is one of the more upbeat numbers.

Thatís another one about my fear of this newfound love. [Laughs}

Yes, because thereís that aspect of being unsure whether itís going to last, that creeps in there.

Yeah, because, again, this is someone who Iím involved with in my band, whoís been one of my best friends for six years. And, holy shit, if you screw this up, itís not only the band, our friendship, all the people around us who are inextricably entwined. So it could be pretty ugly. But itís been pretty good, so far.

So can you just roll with the flow?

At first, we werenít sort of allowed to roll with the flow, because everybody was absolutely freaked. They were like, ĎWhat are you doing?! Donít!í I was like,í Hey, man, relax. Weíre going to follow our hearts. We tried not to think too much about it. You canít overanalyze something like that to death or it takes all the fun out of it [Laughs]. But we do talk about it. Weíre just really open with each other. Weíre able to communicate.

Trying to deal with the relationship and still maintain some semblance of a private life, do you worry about how much mainstream acceptance you want to attain, what level?

Oh, yeah. I somehow think that Iím going to be okay, though. I donít think that Iím ever going to get really huge. I just donít think thatís possible... unless I change the way I write.

Why do you say that?

Well, I donít know. But see, the Crash Test Dummies just defied that, so... [Laughs] So I donít know. It frightens me, yeah. But, in a sense, I do have control over it, you know, because, if I really wanted to say, ĎNo, Iím not going to tour anymore,í then I wouldnít have to. So something is driving me to continue to do so. Maybe itís when I get to a certain point, Iím going to disappear, because that will have been enough. Iím just waiting for a sign, I guess, to tell me that I canít take anymore. But I have 27 people that, in a sense, Iím responsible for, for getting them a job for the rest of the year, the entourage that Iím touring with. And if I just go, ĎUh, I donít want to tour anymore,í it affects all these people who are dedicating their time to me.

Beyond that aspect, just in terms of your own psyche, can you imagine stepping away from the spotlight at some point?

Oh, yeah. Oh, I will. [Laughs] The nice and the weird thing is that itís hot and cold. Youíre out there, youíre in the public eye, because youíve finished a record and youíre doing that bang, bang, bang, bang for a year. And then you disappear. And you make the next record. For me, that takes a while. And I do some other things in that time, as well. For a year, youíre sort of in relative obscurity again. So Iím just waiting for that time again.

But could you imagine actually walking away altogether at some point?

I havenít been driven to that point yet. I love music too much. If my joy for making music gets taken away for some reason, then thatís a possibility. But Iíd hate to see that happen.


Date                   City                     Venue
Mon, Jul 5             San Francisco, CA        Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View
Wed, Jul 7             San Diego, CA            Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
Fri, Jul 9             Las Vegas, NV            The Beach At Mandalay Bay
Sat, Jul 10            Los Angeles, CA          Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Tue, Jul 13            Denver, CO               Comfort Dental Amphitheatre 
Thur, Jul 15           Kansas City, MO          Capitol Federal Park @ Sandstone
Fri, Jul 16            St. Louis, MO            Verizon Wireless Amphitheater St Louis
Sat, Jul 17            Chicago, IL              First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
**Sun, Jul 18          Minneapolis, MN          Target Center
Tues, Jul 20           Indianapolis, IN         Verizon Wireless Music Center
Wed, Jul 21            Detroit, MI              DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sat, Jul 24            Toronto, ON              Molson Canadian Amphitheatre 
Tues, Jul 27           Cleveland, OH            Blossom Music Center
Wed, Jul 28            Philadelphia, PA         Susquehanna Bank Center
Fri, Jul 30            Boston, MA               Comcast Center
Sat, Jul 31            New York, NY             PNC Bank Arts Center
Sun, Aug 1             Hartford, CT             Comcast Theatre
**Tues, Aug 3          Washington, DC           Merriweather Post Pavilion
Sun, Aug 8             Atlanta, GA              Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood