McLachlan Basks in "Afterglow"

New album marks new start for singer-songwriter-mom

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After a lengthy hiatus, singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan releases her long-awaited fifth album, Afterglow, today.

"I've had a luxurious two and a half years off," McLachlan says. "I've had seventeen months with my daughter. I got to make a record at a leisurely pace. So now I sort of feel like if I'm going to do this, I have to do this full on."

McLachlan, who is married to her drummer, Ash Sood, gave birth to their daughter, India, in April 2002. Only months earlier, the couple had had endured the passing of McLachlan's mother and Sood's father. "It was a helluva year," McLachlan says.

Partly as a result, McLachlan's once-single-minded career focus has now shifted. "It's challenging wrapping other people's minds around the fact that it's not about me anymore," she says. "It's about my daughter's happiness. That's where my priority lies."

Most of the songs on Afterglow are based on work McLachlan started back in December 2001, when she was recording in fits and starts with her long-time producer Pierre Marchand.

McLachlan admits she had a hard time maintaining perspective on songs she had been working with for so long. "At one point, in March, I just got completely depressed," she remembers. "'This is just, it's all crap. I'm just not supposed to be making music anymore.' Then I finally realized it was because I was putting so much pressure on myself to just finish the record. I walked away from it for a couple of months and didn't listen to the songs. I didn't play my piano. When I came back to it, I thought, 'Oh, this isn't bad.'"

The first song she completed for the album is "Fallen," which is also the album's first single. "We've all messed up in our lives," she says, explaining the song. "I suppose it was one of the things. You lose yourself and you don't really realize it, and all of a sudden you find that you've gone too far and you don't even know how you got there."

Surprisingly, there are no songs written for her mother or her daughter on Afterglow. "The material on the record explores things from seven or eight years ago that I'm still working through," she says. "Give me five or six years and I'll be writing about India and my mother."

But one track, "Push," is "an ode to my hubby," McLachlan admits. "I get mad so easy," she sings. "Even when I have to push to see how far you'll go/You're the one true thing I know I can believe in."

"Sometimes I'm not the greatest at communicating," McLachlan explains. "So here you go -- this is my apology."

The family will be with McLachlan as she tours behind the album starting next spring. "India's going to have a bevy of living aunties and uncles," she says. "All my band and crew just adore her. By the time we get home I'm going to have to be mean old mom, because it's only me and Ash and she'll be like, 'Hey, where's my big, huge family of circus friends to play with all day long?'"

McLachlan will perform her new single, "Fallen," on Fuse's interactive, live show IMX which airs tomorrow at 6 p.m.