2015 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Popular Music)
Singer, songwriter and musician Sarah McLachlan is known for her profound lyrics and ethereal sound. Since the release of her gold-selling debut album Touch
in 1989, she has sold over 40 million albums, earned gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, and received three Grammys and nine Junos. Besides her musical achievements, she is a committed humanitarian and a passionate promoter of music education.
Ms. McLachlan was born in Halifax in 1968. After years of classical music studies, she made her stage debut at 17 with the pop band October Game; two years later she signed with the Vancouver-based independent label Nettwerk. Her discography includes Touch
, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
, Laws of Illusion
, and most recently Shine On
In 1997 she founded Lilith Fair, a touring festival organized to showcase and promote women in music. Over its three-year history, the event packed houses across North America, raised more than $7 million for women’s charities, and helped launch the careers of numerous female performers.
After decades on the road, Ms. McLachlan still enjoys touring and performing live. “When I have a good show, and I’m connecting with the audience, and I’m playing songs that I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into, I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing,” she reveals.
Alongside her music career, she has donated her time to numerous charitable causes worldwide, including animal welfare, disaster relief, and 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.
Sarah McLachlan is an Officer of the Order of Canada (1999) and was appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 2001. Other distinctions include the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals, Elizabeth Cady Stanton Visionary Award, Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award, and honorary degrees from the University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University and Emily Carr University of Art + Design.