Sarah McLachlan open in ‘Closer’
It’s been a rocky year for Sarah McLachlan.
In a recent Billboard interview supporting her new compilation Closer: The Best of Sarah McLachlan, which comes out today, the singer revealed that she and her husband of 11 years (and longtime drummer) Ashwin Sood split up.
Refusing to get into details, she termed the situation as “pretty gross.”
So when asked how she would describe 2008 so far, McLachlan briefly hesitates.
“Lumpy,” she says. “But you know with wonderful moments. It’s been a really great year too.”
And while putting a proverbial glass-half-full outlook on her current life, the two new songs included on Closer seem to somewhat delve into that pain and upheaval, especially the single U Want Me 2.
“When I’m feeling highly emotional I tend to think about things a lot,” she says. “When I’m happy I don’t tend to analyze it because you’ll find fault pretty quickly. At the same time, most of my songs I’ve written about after the fact as opposed to being in them (in the moment). I’ve always felt I needed a little bit of objectivity before I could see things clearly.
“With the two recent songs, I sort of bucked that trend and have gone into how I feel and I’m going to write about it right now. Sometimes I feel like I need some space from things. Other times I haven’t even known these things existed and something else triggers it. I absolutely write from personal experience but also with every song there’s other people’s experiences put in there.”
After releasing a special deluxe edition of her 1993 album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy earlier this year, McLachlan set about deciding what songs would end up on Closer. But it wasn’t as easy as one might suspect.
“There are the obvious choices and favourites, but unfortunately I got halfway through my list and I looked down and I had 35 songs,” she says.
‘MAKE IT A DOUBLE CD’
“So I had to whittle them down. I said to my manager, ‘Please let it be a double CD.’ They said no they weren’t going to do that so that’s why there’s a deluxe version.”
Although McLachlan, 40, wrote two new songs and finished a third for Closer, she’s yet to begin work on a new and proper studio album, the followup to 2003’s Afterglow. She hopes to “buckle down and get to it” sometime in January with a release date nowhere close to being nailed down.
“Not at the pace I work,” she says when asked if it will be out next year. “I have two small children and it’s a luxury that I’m thankful for every day.
“I can go, ‘You know I’m going to take two years to put this out.’ And in that time I’m going to work at a pace that makes sense for me — that I can still be the mother that I want to be. It’s wonderful to be able to make that choice, to feel okay and be financially stable.”
McLachlan is only doing a few promotional appearances in support of Closer the rest of the year. She’s also performing with sitar master Ravi Shankar at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall Oct. 18 as part of a special benefit concert for Youth Empowerment Canada.
Just don’t expect a world tour in support of the next studio album.
“Not the way I used to tour, not with two children,” she says. “My eldest is in Grade 1 now and she really enjoys her routine and structure. It’s really a challenge to take her out of that and make her happy. My number one priority is the kids. If they’re happy I’m happy.
“I’m out the door at 8 a.m. taking the kids to school and picking her up at 2:30 and I have a little bit of time with her before she has to get into her homework and her piano practise. Then I make dinner and put her to bed, go to bed and pass out at nine o’clock.”
While 2008 has had its turmoil, McLachlan is spending these days literally building from the ground up.
“I’m in the process of building a house so I’ve got lots of decisions in planning and doing all the interior design for that,” she says. “It’s daunting. I spent 12 hours looking at stone slabs in Seattle yesterday which my head is still spinning from.”
Sarah McLachlan open in ‘Closer’