Sarah McLachlan, OC, OBC, has sold over 30 million albums, won 10 Junos and three Grammy awards and, in April, she can add another feather to her hat when she is formally inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Created in 1978 by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame acknowledges those artists who have made an outstanding contribution to the international recognition of Canadian music. CARAS is to honour the Canadian pop superstar with a tribute on Sunday, April 2 during the 46th Annual Juno Awards that is to be broadcast on the CTV network from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.
McLachlan will join fellow Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees including Burton Cummings, Alanis Morissette, Anne Murray, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Blue Rodeo, Bruce Cockburn, Daniel Lanois, Hank Snow, Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Oscar Peterson, Rush, and Shania Twain.
“I’m so honoured to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. This comes as a complete sweet surprise as I still feel like I’m just getting started,” said McLachlan. “I’m truly blessed to be in such incredible company with all of the amazing past honourees.”
“Sarah McLachlan is one of this country’s most beloved artists. From the moment we first heard her sing, nearly 30 years ago, we were captivated by the beauty of her voice and words,” said Allan Reid, President & CEO CARAS/The Juno Awards and MusiCounts.
“She is a unique artist who is respected the world over, and she continues to inspire a new generation of artists. Sarah is a trailblazer for women in this industry, not only because of her music but also because of her philanthropic endeavours and her belief in music education. We are honoured to welcome her into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.”
In 2016 the Canadian Music Hall of Fame found a permanent home with the opening of Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.
Born and raised in Halifax, McLachlan made her musical debut at the age 17 with pop band October Game before signing with Vancouver-based label Nettwerk Records.
She moved to Vancouver and began work on her first studio album Touch, which was released in 1989. McLachlan’s second album Solace established her position as a rising star in Canada when it went gold. It was her third record, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, which contained the single “Possession,” that became McLachlan’s breakthrough release in the US.
McLachlan’s album Surfacing, released in 1997, climbed to #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and selling close to a million copies. Additionally, two songs from that album — “Building a Mystery” and “Last Dance.” earned her Grammy awards, in the categories of Pop Vocal and Pop Instrumental respectively. Surfacing also won her four Juno Awards.
Another song from the album proved to be a healing agent for RunDMC rapper Darryl McDaniels who has said that hearing “Angel” on the radio, and subsequently listening to more of McLachlan’s music, helped him through a period of severe depression.
On a lighter note, the album was mentioned in the Starr Report, the late-1990s account of Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s investigation of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. After a visit to the White House in November 1997, Lewinsky wrote that she “noticed you (President Clinton) had the new Sarah McLachlan CD” and that “whenever I listen to song #5 (‘Do What You Have to Do’) I think of you.”.
In 2010 McLachlan performed her hit “Ordinary Miracle” at the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Vancouver, to an estimated three billion television viewers worldwide.
With a career spanning almost 30 years in the music industry, McLachlan has also made philanthropy part of her life mission. In 1997 she created Lilith Fair, a festival dedicated to showcasing and supporting female artists. Over the course of its three-year North American run, the tour brought more than two million people together and raised over $7 million for women’s charities.
McLachlan has also donated her time and efforts to a number of charitable organizations including animal welfare, disaster relief, HIV/AIDS and cancer research.
In 2003 she founded the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, which offers free music education, mentorship and support to underserved and at-risk children and youth.
In the spring of 2015 McLachlan was named as the recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Achievement, which salutes Canadians who have contributed their voice and vision to the country and whose excellence has earned national and international acclaim.
An Officer of the Order of Canada and honoured with the Order of British Columbia, her other distinctions include Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Visionary Award and, in 2006, she received the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award.
McLachlan holds honorary degrees from the U of Alberta, Simon Fraser U and Emily Carr U of Art + Design.