Between stardom and motherhood

Between cooking, taking her kids to school and performing across North America, Sarah McLachlan still finds time to squeeze in an interview.

Sarah McLachlan is ending her North American tour in Abbotsford with a performance at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre this Sunday evening.

Between cooking, taking her kids to school and performing across North America, Sarah McLachlan still finds time to squeeze in an interview.

Such was the case last week, as she was trying to pack for a quick getaway to Costa Rica – a short holiday before her latest tour wraps up in Abbotsford this Sunday.

Speaking from her Vancouver home, she was the famous singer/songwriter – and a mother.

“…Oh sweetie, can you just listen?” she said, holding the phone away from her face. “… Just don’t hit your sister. Keep your hands to yourself.”

And then it was back to the interview.

“They’re quiet for 30 minutes and the second I get on the phone they start fighting – without fail,” she said with a long sigh and a laugh.

Revolving her schedule around her two daughters is a change in pace for the Canadian singer and songwriter, who has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide since she started in the music industry in 1988.

In that time, she has won three Grammy’s, eight Junos and received the Order of Canada.

She’s been recognized for advancing the careers of women by starting the Lilith Fair Concert Series, the first all-female touring festival.

And she’s always made time to work with charitable organizations, from benefit concerts to SPCA commercials.

Currently, McLachlan is busy promoting her latest record, Laws of Illusion.

It’s her first studio album of new material in seven years – in which time she has married, separated and learned how to be a single mom.

So how does McLachlan find time to balance such a hectic schedule?

“Like any other working mother, you figure out ways to manage,” she said, adding that she has a great support system.

She’s also adjusted the way she works, limiting her time on the road to two weeks on and two weeks off, with her daughters joining her for small portions.

“I don’t do it the way I used to, touring for one or two years at a time and burning myself out. My kids are my number one priority. I love that I get to do both. I get to take the kids to school and make dinners, but I also have this crazy other life where I get to play on stage in front of tons of people. I consider myself very lucky.”

When McLachlan does find some downtime at home, she likes to get reconnected with her kitchen, and catch up with friends and family.

Hitting the gym, practising yoga and hiking the trails around Vancouver – one of her favourite things about the West Coast – helps her return to a state of calm.

And while McLachlan still finds the time to play the piano daily, writing is more of a rarity.

“It’s a bit of a discipline – I’d love to say I take an hour or two a day but it doesn’t work like that. I steal moments, and if I have an idea then I’ll sit down and write.”

For McLachlan, ending her current tour close to home is a bonus.

The Sarah and Friends tour will showcase her friends and band members, Butterfly Boucher and Melissa McClelland.

The intimate performance will also see McLachlan answering questions from the audience.

McLachlan will put the questions into a hat, place them on her piano and randomly pluck them out between songs.

She likes how the process includes the audience and gives them a chance to know her better.

So far, it’s been entertaining, she said.

“When you don’t have to sign your name they can be pretty fun. The questions have run the gamut – from super serious like, ‘What is your idea of spirituality?’ to, ‘Do you sweat behind your knees?’”

Remembering that her friends and family are attending the upcoming show, she’s expecting an interesting and amusing night.

The Sarah and Friends tour will be stopping at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre on Sunday, May 1. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $69.50 and $45.50 and are available at abbotsfordcentre.ca, the AESC box office or by phone at 1-866-977-AESC (2372).