You might know me as the Debbie Downer from the ASPCA commercials. :)

But I'm really much more than that. I'm really a pretty happy person.

But who wants to write when you're happy?

By the way, I have a new record out today. It's called Shine On.

So I'm here with Victoria from reddit, ask me anything. What do you want to know about me?

edit: This has been really fun. Glad to answer your questions. I hope I've allowed you to get to know me a little better. Have a great day!

Comments: 2560 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

ningrim3226 karma

no question, just wanted to curse you for making this grown man cry whenever I see your SPCA commercials

_SarahMcLachlan2742 karma

Sorry sweetie.

FrontPorchJunkie1755 karma

I'd like to say thank you for dedicating the song "hold on" to my mom at one of your concerts. It meant so so much to her. We lost her in October after a 3 year courageous battle of breast cancer and I truly believe your music got her through the most difficult of times. She was buried in on of your concert shirts by her request, she really did love you. So thank you Sarah.

_SarahMcLachlan1480 karma

Wow. Makes me feel good to know that I was there with you and her in some small way during such a difficult & Important time.

_SarahMcLachlan1548 karma

Someone said that it didn't look like I'd aged a day in 20 years, but deleted their comment, so here's my reply: Bless you! Bless you!

I don't know? I don't drink, I don't smoke, I eat really healthy, I work out pretty consistently, and I think perhaps most importantly, I'm grateful every day. And I don't know, the whole thing about beauty comes from within, and when you meet someone and their eyes are shining and they smile, they might have really crooked teeth but there's something that emanates from them, it's just beautiful. Hell, I don't know? I barely remember to put sunscreen on most days. Let's call it good genes. That probably plays a big part in it. I have really oily skin, I was told by a dermatologist that it's a good thing even though it drives me nuts.

I surf. I do a lot of things that bring me joy. And I'm so lucky, I love my job. I have so many things that bring me joy.

mtbaird56871513 karma

Sarah, 'Surfacing' was one of the first CDs I ever bought when I was younger and I used to listen to it all the time (probably around when I was in middle school). I told my friends this recently and they all made fun of me. Now when the ASPCA commercials come on they poke fun at me.

Can you reply and leave a message saying it's not a weird thing for a 12 year old boy to listen to Sarah McLachlan all the time? That way I can show them some proof that I wasn't a huge weirdo. Thanks!

_SarahMcLachlan3374 karma

Absolutely. I think it's wonderful you were listening to my music, and they're not really your friends if they can't support your musical tastes.

Tell 'em fuck off from me. :)

lkuecrar834 karma

Anyone that picks on someone for their taste in music probably is insecure about something they listen to. I've got "cool" music on my iPod but I've got plenty of cheesy stuff like Celine Dion and Kelly Clarkson too. Like what you like--you're listening to it for your enjoyment and no one else's.

_SarahMcLachlan939 karma

I love you, that's a perfect answer.

PRWelke777 karma

For me, it was "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" and I was in high school. I took my copy of that CD with me as one of my few "personal items" when I was in basic training, and again when I deployed as a peacekeeper to Bosnia.

There's no rule saying that Sarah's fans aren't allowed to be badasses.

_SarahMcLachlan1057 karma

Fuckin' A! Glad to be there with you.

aprentis709 karma

Sarah! My uncle built your home in Whistler.. Do you like it?

_SarahMcLachlan842 karma

Yes, it's glorious.

kimon8486 karma

Not sure how to ask this politely but I'll try. Early on in your career a few of your videos featured you naked (tastefully covered of course). Looking back, are you proud of those expressions, any embarrassment at all? And what does Sarah now think of Sarah then? Thanks for the music :)

_SarahMcLachlan1138 karma

Back then, I viewed nudity not as a sexual tool but as a statement of openness and vulnerability. That being said, I was very young and naive, but I wouldn't have done it any differently. I think for me it came from a place of innocence. Women have been sexualizing themselves since the beginning of time, and I hope the way I represented myself was different than that. And I don't believe in regret, it's a waste of time.

CaptainCookiepants445 karma

Hello Sarah!

I once heard that the song "Possession" was about a stalker, NOT a romantic relationship. Is that true?

_SarahMcLachlan644 karma


_SarahMcLachlan1246 karma

And you wouldn't believe how many people use that song for their wedding. And I just smile quietly to myself. Like "oh, that's nice."

Smunny405 karma

Hi Sarah. Those ASPCA commercials bum me out so I change the channel. Just thought you should know. Is there gonna be a Lilith Fair reunion?

_SarahMcLachlan848 karma

Well, I think we already answered that but nothing in the works. And I change the channel too. It's the kitten with the droopy eye, or the 3-legged dog, bless them, it kills me.

Lumene843 karma

You heard it here first. Sarah Mclachlan ruins even Sarah Mclachlan's day.

_SarahMcLachlan905 karma

Wow, you need a hug.

dayofthedead204384 karma

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for doing this AMA!

How did your collaboration with Delirium come about? And what interested you in making “Silence” with Delirium?

_SarahMcLachlan380 karma

I wanted to challenge myself. It was a genre I didn't know much about, and I knew the boys from also living in Vancouver, and they asked me to be a part of it, so I thought it would be fun.

Frajer345 karma

Did you enjoy working on Portlandia?

_SarahMcLachlan462 karma

I loved it. I loved the challenge. I was quite nervous because I had no aspirations to be an actor, but I wanted to do it. And Amy was wonderful, she was really very kind to me because I was quite nervous and had no idea what to do or how to ad lib, and she made me very comfortable, so that was a lot of fun.

EasyTigrr284 karma

Hi Sarah, and thanks very much for doing this AMA!

How do you feel about the fact that a lot of people seem to misinterpret the lyrics to "Angel"? I've seen it used as part of a child's memorial before, and I'm really not sure how I feel about that.

_SarahMcLachlan606 karma

I don't mind at all that the song gets used for many different uses. I think once an artist puts a song out there, it becomes open to interpretation, and I purposefully leave a certain amount of ambiguity in songs so that people can relate the songs to themselves and to their stories.

And it's for me, it's a great validation as an artist to know that something I've created has gone out there in the world and helped people to heal, or to feel something, in a profound way like that.

Theta-Ci284 karma

Hi Sarah,

I have listened to you since I was a 17 year old boy in the military. You helped me get through allot of growth. Your music is the soundtrack to my marriage and all its ups and downs. Songs like I Love You, Answer, and Hold On, are timeless. I love how you've stayed true to your style. I just wanted to let you know that you have touched my life with your art.

_SarahMcLachlan251 karma

Thank you. That's so sweet of you.

pearlbullets233 karma

Do you still feel that love is better than ice cream?

_SarahMcLachlan527 karma

Just watch Moulin Rouge. Love is a many-splendored thing. Love is everything. Love is what makes the world go round. So hell yeah.

murderousthoughts198 karma

Do you and DMC still keep in touch? I was moved by his story of connecting with you through your music.

_SarahMcLachlan319 karma

I haven't talked to him in a long while, but he's certainly in my heart. He's a lovely man. And thank you for reminding me I should reach out to him and say hi.

LongDongFuk186 karma

Sarah, when I lost my little boy your amazing song In the Arms of an Angel gave me great comfort. Thank you so much

_SarahMcLachlan208 karma

I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how hard that must be.

soggycupcakes172 karma

What was it like working with Pixar on Toy Story 2? Your scene made an 18 year old dude cry by the way.

_SarahMcLachlan257 karma

Randy Newman is an incredible songwriter. Genius. Funny story: when that song came through our office, my manager said "you're probably not going to like this." And so I listened to it, and I started crying right away, because Randy Newman singing that song reminded me of Kermit the Frog singing "It's not Easy Being Green." So I instantly fell in love with it, and I got to tell Randy that story, and he loved it too.

SugarPistils158 karma


_SarahMcLachlan565 karma

I used to do standup on my front porch. My audience was the neighborhood kids. I also used to eat mud pies. I was infamous for eating mud pies.

shivan21242 karma

Were they... made of... mud?

_SarahMcLachlan591 karma

Um... yeah? And probably other things as well. I was such a weird kid.

shivan21157 karma

Hi Sarah! Was it hard to make the new album?

_SarahMcLachlan272 karma

Yes. Yes, it was tough. I've never been prolific, and having 2 small kids and trying to run a free music school at the same time turned out to be quite a challenge, as well as trying to write a record. So yes, it took some time, but thank you for being patient.

dontsayohwell87 karma

Can you tell us more about the free music school you run?

Cratic139 karma

Info can be found here

_SarahMcLachlan295 karma

Awesome, yeah, it's a free after school music program that I started 13 years ago in Vancouver that I started for at-risk and underserved kids because music programs were being cut from the public schools. I truly believe that music plays a really important role in the development of all of us, it helps us to connect with ourselves and the world around us. And the school itself provides a safe, nurturing environment where kids can leave all their labels at the door and be free to express themselves and find their voices.

daswassup13126 karma


_SarahMcLachlan158 karma

You're welcome. Enjoy those sweet animals.

Kknowsbest124 karma

If they made a movie about your life, who would play you (other than yourself)?

_SarahMcLachlan256 karma

Oh that's a good question. Ok, Drew Barrymore, I just think she's adorable. And she's goofy. She could play anything.

Daphur112 karma

What's one thing we don't know? Either about you or a piece of trivia.

_SarahMcLachlan201 karma

I'm terribly competitive when it comes to sports. I didn't know that about myself. I tore myself trying to be Steffie Graff trying to go after a ball a few weeks ago.

_SarahMcLachlan183 karma

I'm like a bull with a red flag in front of me. This is why I didn't play sports as a kid, I wouldn't have had any friends.

IveGotIssuesYeah95 karma

My high school years were tolerable because of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. What album defines your high school experience?

_SarahMcLachlan152 karma

There were a few. Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Genesis Double record, I listened to that a lot in high school, sitting by myself with the headphones on the couch with the double album in front of me, loving the rebellious Rael.

musesillusion85 karma

So I sing Elsewhere in the car to myself - it tends to be therapeutic- What inspired that song?

_SarahMcLachlan154 karma

The idea behind that song was the desire to separate myself from my parents. And become my own person. And let go of the demands and expectations that they placed on me, and it's all about becoming your own person and not being held back.

Buyanzi84 karma

Hi Sarah. Thank you first for sharing your gift with the world, you're an inspiration. I love all your music and you are my favorite artist. I wanted to know what kind of 'religion' you're involved with or associate with or call yourself? Some of your songs are seasoned with a spiritual side, to me anyways. Carpe Diem!

_SarahMcLachlan317 karma

I don't adhere to any particular religion. I view the concept of God as an energy that we all are part of and share. If I had any spiritual leanings, it would be towards buddhism. But again, I follow my own path most of my life.

ken2723881 karma

How does it feel that everyone now associates your song "Angel" with your ASPCA commercials?

_SarahMcLachlan283 karma

It was also used in City of Angels, I think that was the first usage. The usage in the ASPCA commercials generated over $30 million dollars of donations, so I think it did a good job. I'm all about creating positive social change, so I think that worked.

Cratic75 karma

Just want to say thank you for your time Sarah. You've been such an inspiration over the years. Not only for your generous philanthropy work, but also your contribution to women in the music industry. I know the last attempt didn't go over so well, but do you see another Lilith Fair in the horizon?
Also, I am giving Shine On a first listen. Brokenheart is so beautiful. Cannot wait to see you in Moncton later this year. Do you know who the supporting acts will be yet?

_SarahMcLachlan88 karma

It's an evening with me, so the supporting act is me. Thank you for your kind words. There are no plans for a Lilith Fair anytime soon. That being said, never say never.

burquena_loca72 karma

Hi Sarah! I have been a huge fan for over 20 years now and I know that a lot of your music is written about personal experiences. What was the most difficult song, emotionally for you to record and are there any songs that are too emotional for you to play on tour?

_SarahMcLachlan114 karma

I get a lot of joy out of recording the songs, even if the material is of a dark subject matter. I think there's a certain amount of healthy separation between the actual subject of the song and the place I'm at when I'm singing it. A big part of the process of writing for me is working through difficult situations, things I have come up against that I am trying to sort through in my own head, and the process of writing about it puts it a little bit away from me. And allows me to see it all a bit more objectively, so even though some of the songs are heavy & dark, I often feel quite the opposite, I feel a sense of euphoria when I am singing them, thinking "Oh that was hard, but now i am here, in this much better place, and how awesome is that"

That being said, the other day, when I was talking about Song for My Father in an interview, I started bawling. I was explaining what it was about, and I absolutely just burst into tears. I think I was rather emotional that day. So you never know when it's going to hit you. That surprised me.

UnicornOfHate70 karma

What sort of music do you listen to that people wouldn't expect?

I imagine you driving down the street blasting death metal and screaming the lyrics.

_SarahMcLachlan175 karma

On occasion, Black Sabbath is the only thing that works. Or Metallica.

TheStabbingHobo66 karma

What is your favorite kind of cheese, and why?

_SarahMcLachlan140 karma

Hard to name just one, as it is almost a food group onto itself. Asiago, mascarpone are two of my favorites, aged cheddar, triple cream, brie, OH YEAH.

anfunny_ash66 karma

Do you volunteer any time at the ASPCA?

_SarahMcLachlan132 karma

I take my daughters down and we hang out with the cats.

_SarahMcLachlan140 karma

I like any animal, but they don't let us hang out with the dogs.

musesillusion63 karma

I am such a big fan! Sorry I have two questions

  1. Whats your favorite song you've written

  2. Have you ever thought of writing an angry album? This is weird, your vocals on Dear God and Backdoor Man are so strong. I love the yell singing and I think it matched the quality of your voice so well.

_SarahMcLachlan86 karma

I think if I tried to make a mad record, I would have no voice left, because doing those tracks nearly killed me. And I'm too happy!

Oh probably Angel.

raidonward62 karma

How do you feel about South Park's portrayal of you?

_SarahMcLachlan60 karma

I didn't see it?

shivan2149 karma

Any special reason to choose the name 'Shine On' for your new album?

_SarahMcLachlan82 karma

Yes. It speaks to not only enduring, but sucking the marrow out of every day. And shining. We all have a light within us, and it's the idea of using that to its fullest, and being the best person you can be. This is my mantra anyway.

seismicor47 karma

Is there anything you want to accomplish in your music career that you haven't already?

_SarahMcLachlan59 karma

I want to continue doing what I do. I feel incredibly blessed that i have this amazing job that I absolutely love. I can't imagine ever not doing it. And I hope to continue to make music that makes people feel.

OptionK44 karma

Do you like guacamole?

_SarahMcLachlan69 karma

Hell yeah. I had some last night with peas from the restaurant next to ABC Kitchen. Heaven!

_SarahMcLachlan80 karma

It was unusual because the consistency of the avocado is quite strong, so are the peas, which add a great sweetness to it.

firstade8644 karma

Before I start "I will remember you" is one of my favorite songs. Takes my memories back to middle school dances and other shenanigans.

Anyways, if you could do a duet with anyone living or deceased, who would it be and why?

_SarahMcLachlan96 karma

Well, I'm all about voices. I love Ray LaMontagne. He'd be my top choice. I saw him in Central Park 2 summers ago, and as soon as he started singing, I started crying.

Bakiesmurf39 karma

Favorite ice cream?

_SarahMcLachlan99 karma

Chocolate peanut butter.

rossellaf35 karma

Hi! I am an Italian fan I wanna ask.. Would you sing again with Josh Groban? How has been singing with him angel?

_SarahMcLachlan63 karma

Josh has a delicious voice and is such a sweet man. I'm sure the opportunity will present itself again. In the meantime, I hope to see you soon! A la prossima volta!

LetItGoMyAss35 karma

Hi Sarah!

I'm a fellow Canadian who has been fumbling toward ecstasy right along with you over the years. I'm so grateful for your music, and I'm glad you're back with a new album!

My first question is about the Disney movie Frozen. Did you see it? What did you think of it?

(EDIT: Removed cynical tacked-on questions.)

_SarahMcLachlan99 karma

I've seen it 12 times. On the airplane. I think it's one of the best animated films ever made. I think the songs are incredible, I think they're intelligent and well-crafted, and I absolutely love that true love's kiss was her sister's true love and not the traditional female-in-distress save me by the big burly man. I think it was a wonderful message for girls. So yeah, love it.

islandjustice34 karma

Your songs are awesome and instantly recognizable. It's pretty amazing and an amazing accomplishment.

Have you ever adopted any of the animals from those commercials?

_SarahMcLachlan71 karma

No, the animals from the commercials already have homes. But I have adopted cats from the SPCA.

Worfrat134 karma


_SarahMcLachlan54 karma

Thank you! I loved making that Christmas record. I might do another one.

JurassicBasset32 karma


What is the weirdest experience you've had with a fan?

_SarahMcLachlan58 karma

Most of my fans are really amazing and really nice & open and friendly, so I can't really think of any particularly weird experience. I've been asked to sign some unusual body parts, with the idea that they were going to go off and get my name tattooed on it.

anrky42031 karma

Good morning Sarah,

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Or neither? Do you have any pets?


_SarahMcLachlan53 karma

Love both cats and dogs. Right now, I just have my one chocolate lab, who is 14.

jonboy852030 karma

What is your favorite Boardgame?

_SarahMcLachlan40 karma

Don't really have one. But my kids and I play a lot of cards.

Sisiwakanamaru29 karma

I have two questions:

  • What is your favorite song and album at the moment?

  • What is your favorite dessert?

Thank you.

_SarahMcLachlan68 karma

My Desert Island CD, if that is what you're asking, would be Talk Talk Spirit of Eden.

Probably chocolate eclairs. It's got a bit of all the good things - pastries, fat cream, chocolate.

s_w_27 karma

Would you consider letting a 25 year old take you to lunch. Not in a romantic way, just so he can say he took Sarah McLachlan to lunch?

_SarahMcLachlan52 karma

No. But thank you for asking.

ROBINLAND105522 karma

Hi Sarah. Thank you for sharing your gift of singing with us. Would not have survived college with out it. I have two questions.

1.) Favorite Meal to cook? 2.) favorite place to paddle board?

_SarahMcLachlan43 karma

Favorite meal to cook, i'm all about comfort food, so it would probably be something really fattening but with lots of veggies. Homemade mac & cheese, maybe Chicken Cacciatore, with a huge caesar salad on it that has so much cheese you can hardly see the salad. With lots of veggies.

Desolation Sound in BC.

agravain19 karma

But who wants to write when you're happy?

so do you look for things to make you sad and then write songs about them? or do they just naturally come about?

_SarahMcLachlan47 karma

No, life is happy to present all sorts of trials and tribulations. I just tend not to look too hard for them. But they appear nonetheless.

Pinwurm16 karma

Sarah, I've decided to start a folk-rock project. What should I name it?

_SarahMcLachlan43 karma

I'd need more information.

seismicor10 karma

Hi. What's the theme of your new album Shine On?

_SarahMcLachlan20 karma

Well, it's hard to wrap it up into a nice little package in an environment like this, but love, loss, lust, passion, forgiveness, rebirth, all that good juicy stuff.

Pokevenger7 karma

Which of your songs is the most personal to you?

_SarahMcLachlan9 karma

Off the new record, Surrender and Certainty is very close to the bone. As is Song for My Father.

Sunbear796 karma

Where is your favourite place to play a concert -- put another way, where is the best place to see you perform :)

_SarahMcLachlan3 karma

I love playing outside. I love beautiful environments. But I also love gorgeous old theaters that are full of history. So too many places to name.

JamesRenner5 karma

Did you ever find yourself walking through Lilith Fair and think, 'Dear Jesus, what have I done?'

_SarahMcLachlan7 karma

Not really? Except what am I a part of, and that was always pretty much a positive thing. I got to feel like I was part of something much bigger than myself which was amazing.

mekka-lekka-hi5 karma

This is funny--I just rediscovered Manufacture's "As the End Draws Near", which I listened to a great deal in college. Your vocals on it are just gorgeous. Nettwerk had such a great roster of talent (they still do). May I ask who are some of the bands/people you've enjoyed working with the most?

_SarahMcLachlan7 karma

I enjoyed working with Delirium. My favorite person to work with is Pierre Marchand, who has written with me and produced most of my records for the last 25 years.

mooglesama4 karma

Hi Sarah McLachlan,

Thank you so much for doing this AMA! I just wanted to express my gratitude for you and your music. I've been enamored with you since Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and your music has been a soundtrack to my life. I really enjoy the distinct sound that you developed with "Shine On." I have seen you during your Afterglow Tour, and I look forward to seeing you in Dallas later this year!

Question: You've talked about how your songs have different meanings for different people because of your emotional lyrics. What are some of other people's interpretations of your songs that have moved you?

_SarahMcLachlan6 karma

I mentioned this before, but one of the most amazing validations that an artist can have is to have a person you don't know come up to you and tell you a story about a song that you've written that has helped them through a difficult time in their lives. And "Angel" is one of those songs that has seemingly entered into many people's lives in many different ways. I've heard of it being played at a lot of funerals, and in particular daughters playing it for their parents as they pass, and to be involved in those heavy and beautiful and important moments in people's lives in some small way, is a really intense and powerful thing. It's a validation thing, that something I put out in the world has made a difference in people's lives.

ballplayer00254 karma

Sarah, thanks to you I have a permanent reflex to bolt for a TV remote every time I hear the song "Angel" because if even one of those little puppy faces makes it to the screen before I turn the channel, my girlfriend is reduced to a crying mess.

So my question is, if a person wanted to make a commercial that would make Sarah McLachlan cry every time she saw it, what would the subject matter be, and what music would you put it to?

Thank you for your work with ASPCA, and I appreciate the super bowl commercial that brought a little humor to a very serious subject.

_SarahMcLachlan9 karma

I never quite know what sets me off. But anything to do with older people. Like when they show those pictures of older people getting abused by their care workers or something like that, I'm instantly enraged and a bloody mess. Because we're all going to be there one day, in that vulnerable position, and you just have to hope there are people around you to protect you.

So it would be something for helping out elderly people.

_SarahMcLachlan8 karma

Or being kind. But kindness makes me cry too. When you see a random act of kindness, it makes me cry but in a totally different kind of way.

PenPenGuin3 karma

Hello Sarah, Amazon says my copy of Shine On is in the mail!

I was able to catch your "& Friends" tour in Austin and Chicago a few years ago, and thanks you to, I was introduced to Whitehorse. Is your "Shine On" tour going to be in the same style, or will it be a more traditional tour?

Also, what's the most visually impressive yoga position you can do? Which is the hardest to actually maintain?

_SarahMcLachlan4 karma

Shine On tour is going to be an evening with. I'm going to continue to try to engage and bring in the audience on a more intimate level. So I will be taking questions from the hat again, and also contemplating bringing some of the audience up on stage to participate.

Side Crow is fun to pull out at parties.

lookat_itsideways2 karma

What song of yours means the most to you and why?

_SarahMcLachlan3 karma

After already answering that Angel is my favorite song, I feel like i have to say it's like saying I like one kid better than the other. It's really difficult.

Johng5002 karma

Which song of yours is your favorite to sing live? You're songs are incredible. You are beautiful inside and out. Keep it up! God bless!

_SarahMcLachlan2 karma

Depends on the day. Depends on my mood. I love singing In Your Shoes. Because the message is so positive. And there's a moment in the song where it takes off and it just feels euphoric and that's a great feeling. But also Beautiful Girl, which is more contemplative, but reminds me of the beautiful and difficult path we have to walk as parents, and how worth it it is.